Sense and Sensibility in Croatian Design


“We have to unconditionally produce and export, as no national market, especially the Croatian one, is strong enough for the survival of companies and an increase in the overall social standard.” This is a quip from the travelling exhibition “Common Sense and Sensibility” whose aim is to present contemporary Croatian product design in a new, modern and multidisciplinary way.

The exhibition, a product of the initiative and curatorial enterprise  in the selection of exhibitors by Tatjana Bartaković from the online magazine DesignAgenda, entitled  “Common Sense and Sensibility” what should mark two important segments of Croatian product design reality; common sense – for creating good projects by getting involved in the production process and supporting Croatian production and product design as well as sensibility for the aesthetic and quality component of selected designers, and more precisely, their products.

Croatian product design has risen in the past few years to a whole new level; alongside several entrepreneurial initiatives that had (common) sense, as well as a sensibility for good product design, followed by the engagement and commitment of the designers themselves who turned into bona fide entrepreneurs  through the process of realizing their prototypes, from their beginnings to the production stage, along with the example of the Lone Hotel (and the Golly&Bossy Hostel), which we hope that are just the first of many, whose all-encompassing concept imply all-Croatian services, including the product design.

All of the above, along with constant growth of public awareness on the importance of good, well thought-out, multidisciplinary and recognizable design, for which the engagement of relevant institutions, content-wise strong exhibitions, and a few media outlets should be credited, along with initiatives such as the Reaktor, D Day, Croatian Design Impact or Croatian Holidays, resulted in the ideal atmosphere for creating such an initiative.

The exhibition will illustrate a turning point in the history of contemporary Croatian product design, putting it in a much more mature and serious social and market context – design brands with a new generation of Croatian products.

The exhibition’s “travels” are set to commence in Belgrade, at the Belgrade Design Week (June 7 -17, 2012) followed by a Croatian premiere of the exhibition at the Forum Gallery in Zagreb (June 27 – July 6). The location in Gajeva Street and its large showcase facing the street should pay off in terms of promoting one of the major ideas of this exhibition, i.e. displaying an open stance towards the general public, to whom domestic design should become acceptable, accessible, and available.

The exhibition also has a retail side to it, so numerous Croatian designing brands will be available to purchase in the very center of Zagreb. Following Zagreb, the exhibition is set to experience its culmination in the city of Hvar, more precisely, the Loggia Gallery (July 14 – August 15), where the concept of a “public opening” through a sales exhibition, expands outside Croatian borders to clients worldwide. Such a move seems as the most logical attitude and direly needed segment in promoting Croatian design to the “right addresses.” The tourist recognizability and attendance rate of Hvar is at its peak, and tourists who regularly visit the sunshine city are probably the most ideal possible target audience for Croatian design to reach the European and world markets, so in addition to the sea, sun, fish and suntanned masses, tourists have the option of viewing, but also buying an original Croatian design product.

Neither Belgrade, Zagreb nor Hvar won’t be the last destinations of this exhibition on their way to the Croatian and worldwide public, as announced by Tatjana Bartaković, she hopes that the “Common Sense and Sensibility” exhibition will succeed in promoting Croatian design both in Croatia and worldwide.

The products set to be included in the exhibition are well known on the Croatian scene, many of them award-winning or presented at several international design fairs. Some 40 selected products designed by 14 designers or design teams, as the exhibition blurb states – established Croatian design brands and the up and coming ones.

The following projects and products alongside their authors, initiators and launchers are set to be presented at the exhibition:

Design Hostel Golly&Bossy (director: Ante Kotarac, arch. studio UP; designer Damir Gamulin), Design Hotel Lone / Maistra (arch. studio 3LHD, product designers: Numen/ForUse, dizajn uniformi: I-GLE, artists: Ivana Franke, Silvio Vujičić), Blablab (design: Ivana Vučić, Orsat Franković), Great Circle Works – OBLO (director: Mark Cahsens; design: Marko Pavlović), Element (directors: Vlado and Nataša Mikić; design: Numen/ForUse – Nikola Radeljković, Sven Jonke, Christoph Katzler), Kvadra Design (director: Tomislav Knezović; design: Numen/ForUse+Bratović&Borovnjak; Grupa), Data by Despot (design: Svjetlana Despot), Grupa Products (design: Filip Despot, Ivana Pavić, Tihana Taraba), Somewhere City (design: Goran Lelas), BOYA (design: Maja Mesić), Little Horse and Baby Beuys (design: Maja and Mejra Mujičić), Manufakturist (design: Maša Milovac, Dora Đurkesac, Mia Bogovac, Matea Bronić, Kristina Volf), Ana Tevšić, Filip Gordon Frank.

The visual identity of the exhibition itself (and DesignAgenda) was created by the Studio Cuculić; web design is by Vladimir Končar from ‘Revolucija’ (Revolution), while the design set-up will be done by young designers from the Manufakturist (Maša Milovac, Dora Đurkesac, Mia Bogovac, Matea Bronić, Kristina Volf).

Click here for further details on the exhibition, and continue reading – the exhibition’s media sponsor.