The Open Croatian Design Exhibition 1516 is an awarded contest and exhibition for Croatian designers to showcase the best in design awarded to 8 different categories: Communication Design, Digital Media and Interaction Design, Packaging Design, Industrial and Product Design, Spatial and Graphic Interventions and Systems, Fashion and Clothing Design, Integrated Project / Product and Concept Initiative and Critical Design. Below is a selection of our own favorites from the exhibition, including two artistic collectives that we have previously worked with or interviewed: Oaza and Numen / ForUse.
Oaza, the design collective won an award for their project, “Dizajnerice” [Designers] which we have an ongoing collaboration into the translated, English version on our site. The project was made to highlight the contributions that women have made to Croatia’s rich design history, and presents the professional biographies of unknown Croatian female designers from various disciplines. The project was developed for the Croatian Designers Association in order to create a form of database for the female designers. The project was launched at the end of February 2015 with a very positive reception of the work. The site created an ongoing debate about the ideas of today’s design history and possible interpretations of the future design scene in Croatia.
Also included in the Croatian Design Exhibition were installation mock-ups from Numen / ForUse, the Croatian – Austrian design trio, which in the last two years alone, their work has been featured in exhibition and public spaces around the world, including Palais de Tokyo in Paris. Their installations such as Tape, Net and, most recently, Tube, transform the spaces they are placed in, humanize them and change the experience of staying in them, opening for visitors, the possibilities of movement that are usually impossible. Numen’s installations represent design intended for play and the rediscovery of our own built environment.
The Numen/ForUse installations are neither habitable sculptures nor oversized unique pieces of furniture, nor are they objects of temporary architecture or public scenography. It is precisely due to this resistance to definition, and to the combination of visual and tactile characteristics, that the installations represent, both to its creators and to diverse audiences, a liberating experience of spatial and social relations.
Other noteworthy projects from the exhibition were Startas Flies High sneakers, Piquentum St. Vital wine label design by Studio Sonda, Swift Wall from Data by Despot Studio, and Cultural Boondocks in poster design for Vizkultura.
Startas Flies High
The rubber Startas sneakers for the autumn/winter 2014 – 2015 collection were created in cooperation with Borovo. The models Crna roda (black stork) and Modrokos (blue rock thrush) allude with their names and color to ecological themes and socially responsible design. They are made from natural rubber, used to make rubber boots, which makes these sneakers waterproof. The material is entirely produced in Borovo from raw caotchouc, reducing costs and procurement deadlines and allows an unlimited pallet of colors.
Piquentum St. Vital 2014 – Nature Speaks Out Through Label
The label for this wine originating from a non-treated vineyard raises awareness about the importance of understanding each and every vintage. In collaboration with the Meteorological and Hydrological Service, the information on the weather conditions at the vineyard have been collected and the quantity of precipitation is illustrated as a variable that is the best graphic indicator of natural phenomena from one year to another. Circles are the standard meteorological symbols for rainfall in a particular month. The label illustrates the year when a wine has been produced thus turning the bottle into a medium communicating how important it is to understand the nature of the wine making process.
Swift Wall screen is made of felt with inserted cardboard cones with steel construction. The screen is firm and flexible, soft and monumental and it serves as a barrier with a good sound absorption. It is produced in two different sizes and ten colors. The elements are fastened with Velcro embroidered on the edge of the screen.
The poster was created as a reaction to controversial decisions taken by the current Croatian minister of culture. Until 29 February 2016 when it was designed, some 4288 signatures have been collected as a part of the public appeal to the Croatian government to dismiss the minister. One nail was knocked in for each signature ignored by the Government.
Written by: Kelly Foster