Treehouse ("Dom na dereve")
What is that: a place in the center of Moscow that existed for five years based on the pay as you can model.
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Description: in 2010 I was doing my blog, being bored of it created a project «Pocket Poetry», held different events like movie nights, lectures, workshops etc. The lack of my own space where I could run all those kind of things really depressed me, I was really hard and negotiate every time I want to rent some space or come somewhere with a crowd of people. The idea of having my own space became obvious. Once I met an old classmate whom I didn’t see for 10 years. He told me that he has some money he doesn’t know what to do with. We began dreaming what shall he do and I suggested to open a club.
I was so caught by this idea that I found four more people who gave money and we collected a small amount of about 5000$. I found a small mansard in the center of Moscow, immediately fell in love with it and rented it. It really looked like a treehouse - there was spiral staircase to the attick held by a huge old tree. It only has 50 sq/m, two windows, but looked really nice. I believed in the idea of free donations or pay as you can. Many of my events worked that way and my friend Sasha Anevsky ran project «kinosreda» where he once a week showed movies and treated people with wine and food for donations. I saw how people liked such trust in their good will and thought that I can have a place that would be totally dependent on that.
Soon we quarreled with the classmate, other «investors» didn’t want to manage the space, I gave their money back soon. I was meeting guests, cleaning, talking to everyone, looking after the atmosphere, organized events, dealt with crazy neighbor etc. I met my ex-wife Indira there with whom we ran this place and Ziferblat for five years. Soon the treehouse became quite popular, it created a community of regular guests for whom this was the most important place in life. They helped us a lot. Never this project was in financial loss, though the rent was $2k and other stuff costed $1k and for the rest we lived, renting a room nearby. After a year there were so many people that it was obvious that we have to expand. That’s how Ziferblat was created and the concept of anticafe.
What have I done: created a concept, found money, invested money, found a space, found furniture, social networking, pr, events organisation (movies, lectures, meetings, readings, workshops etc), counted money, dealt with landlord, calmed down the neighbor, improved interior, four times lifted piano with crane, planted lianas, bought old tv with dendi, looked after every guest, dealt with cops, pulled apart kissing couples, worked with community. I also made a web-site which is lost but here is the copy.