Architecture: Exterior and Interior
Mythology, Sculpture, Ornament
The glass globe, which was lit up at night, over the glass cupola was held up by two figures of women associated with seafaring. It towered over the city's skyline, becoming the main landmark of the middle of Nevsky Prospect. In a nostalgic 1920 poem about pre-revolutionary St. Petersburg, the Parisian émigré poet Nikolay Otsup addresses the House of Singer and its "transparent sphere held up by women." ("Ты скажи, дом Зингера с шаром/ Прозрачным на руках у женщин). The image punctuates his imaginary tram ride down Nevsky.
The building was decorated by allegorical bronze female figures of martial appearance straddling ship bows that were designed by the Estonian sculptor Amandus Adamson. Some of them hold up spindles that were connected by a thread to a spinning wheel cum sewing machine below, symbolizing the building's affiliation. The eagle located high above the main entrance on the corner of Nevsky and Catherine Canal was sculpted by Artemy Ober, member of the World of Art Movement who specialized in animals. The first flag of the republic on its chest, the eagle was a copy of the official seal of the United States, although some thought it was the Russian double-headed eagle, and during the revolution tore it down for that reason.
All of the images on this page are from the newly restored House of Singer renamed House of Books in 1919, the largest bookstore in Petrograd-Leningrad-St. Petersburg. The restoration project was completed in 2008, with the House of Books returning to its original locale in 2006. Among the businesses that have their offices there is Russia's mega-company Gazprom Media Holding.