The interior designer who created Vladimir Putin’s now-famous giant table said it would be worth as much as 100,000 euros in today’s money.
Entrepreneur Renato Pologna, who heads a company called Oak in Cantu, Italy, also dismissed suggestions that the table was made with Covid-19 social distancing in mind, telling Italian newspaper Corriere that it was built 25 years ago.
Last week, the Russian president was photographed meeting with his French counterpart Emanuel Macron in the Kremlin, each seated on either side of a 20-foot white-and-gold table.
Experts were amazed by the photos when the couple met to discuss the Ukraine crisis, with some speculating that Putin wanted to send a diplomatic message.
But two sources said after the Feb. 7 meeting that Mr Macron was asked to take a Covid test before meeting Mr Putin, but declined the test offered by the Russians for fear they would get his DNA.
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz met with Putin today as part of a diplomatic effort to cool the crisis, and he was also pictured at the table.
The interior designer who built Vladimir Putin’s now-famous giant table that he used to meet French counterpart Emmanuel Macron (pictured) said it would be worth as much as 100,000 euros in today’s money.
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz (right) today met with Putin at the table in Moscow.
Despite the significance of the talks, it was the table that arguably attracted the most attention, with social media users quickly creating memes poking fun at the vast distance between the two leaders and the gigantic table.
But Mr. Polonia was unfazed by this and told an Italian newspaper that he was delighted to see his work attracting so much attention.
“I recognized (the table) as soon as I saw it,” he said. “I am proud of it, I always get excited when I see that my work is in the background of something important. I hope this will bring good luck in the war.
When asked about the memes, he said he found them “really funny”.
‘saw someone turn it into a swing: genius. Someone else put lap dance poles on him. They even turned it into a curling rink. At this point, we can say that this is a table that develops creativity,” he told the newspaper.
He explained that the table was six meters long and two and a half meters wide (about 20 feet by 8.5 feet), made mostly of oak, and completely unique.
The designer called the piece “very difficult” to handle, as the accents on the table were made of gold leaf. The decorations on top were also handmade.
The Russian president was photographed meeting with his French counterpart, Emanuel Macron, who each sat on either side of a 20-foot white-and-gold table.
When asked if it was built specifically for use during the pandemic, Mr Polona dismissed that suggestion.
“It may be useful for this purpose, but certainly the length has nothing to do with the pandemic. I did it 25 years ago!” he said.
He said the table was only part of a larger project he was assigned to furnish the interior of one of the Kremlin buildings from 1995 to 1997.
According to him, the G8 meetings were held in the same building sometime in 1997, and his company designed furniture, floors, lighting, fireplaces, ceilings and marble wall decoration.
When asked about the price of the table, Mr. Pologna said that at the time he was paid in Italian lira, which was officially replaced by the euro in 2002.
“I don’t remember the exact numbers. We are still talking about lira, and by heart I would say that it is several billion lira,” he said. In 1999, one euro was worth 1,936.27 lire.
As an estimate, he said the table would now cost €100,000.
The designer said the Kremlin was not his only high-profile client. He said many of them were international, adding that he had worked for others in Arab countries such as “sheiks and royal families” and sultans in Malaysia.
“At one time I had orders from Gaddafi and the Saddam family,” he said, but declined to give Corriere any further information.
The depiction of the talks between Putin and Macron has been widely ridiculed on social media.
A photograph yesterday showing the leaders sitting a few meters apart at each end of a long oval table in the Kremlin was faked to show Putin and Macron playing badminton, table tennis and air hockey in an attempt to “seal the fate of Ukraine.” .
Other accounts ridiculed Macron and Putin for not negotiating via zoom as they would have been “closer”, and suggested the pair were sitting further apart than the distance “between Russian troops and the Ukrainian border”.
Others showed Macron speaking into a megaphone so that Putin could hear him from the other end of the table in a Harry Potter-style duel and compared the meeting to a scene from The Incredibles.
The interview with Mr. Polonya came as Russia said some of its troops were returning to base after exercises near Ukraine and mocked the West’s repeated warnings of an impending invasion.
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz met Putin at a table in Moscow today, a day after he visited Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in Kiev.
On Monday, Scholz demanded “clear steps” from Russia to reduce the current tensions. And he stressed the unity of the West in preparing for the imposition of tough sanctions in the event of a further Russian invasion of Ukraine, although he again did not specify what they would be.
Scholz said that “we are in a position to make the necessary decisions any day.”
“No one should doubt the determination and readiness of the EU, NATO, Germany and the United States, for example, when it comes to what needs to be done in the event of military aggression against Ukraine,” he added.
“Then we will act, and there will be very far-reaching measures that will have a significant impact on Russia’s economic development opportunities.”