7 Contemporary Designs from Croatia

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By Dora Vanette
WantedDesign presents a showcase of contemporary Croatian design.

As part of New York’s Design Week, several countries will get an opportunity to showcase some of their best designs of recent years. But apart from the usual suspects such as Norway and Spain, at WantedDesign, the Manhattan Ikon Arts Foundation will be presenting a selection of work by emerging Croatian designers.

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Drawing from Croatia’s rich—and only recently acknowledged—tradition of socialist design, Numen / For Use's Polygon chair is small, comfortable and easy to move.

Croatia doesn’t often get a place in the design world spotlight, but a new generation of designer entrepreneurs is eager to change the status quo. Faced with a conservative business sector and an underdeveloped design market these designers are taking the entire design process into their own hands, working on design, manufacturing and distribution in order to bring their products to life.

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Originally designed for a jazz club, Numen / For Use's DFKT stackable chair is an experiment into the typology of wooden chairs.

The designers draw from traditional techniques and folklore as well as a midcentury modernism, giving them all a contemporary twist. But more than anything, what these designers set out to convey is a sense of playfulness. For those who can't experience these designs at the design-oriented Hotel Lone in Rovinj, Croatia or in the many design stores popping up around the country, a trip to WantedDesign will be a great way to introduce the great design currently being produced in Croatia.

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Described as “Lego for grown-ups” Grupa’s ili_ili lamps (which translates to “either-or”) allow the consumer to pick and choose between six modular elements in different colors in order to create their own individualized lamps.

Presented by Ikon Arts Foundation, the Croatian exhibition will include work by designers Grupa, Numen / For Use, Roman Vlahović, Svjetlana Despot and others. 

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In Grupa's Model line of light fixtures, the skeletal construction of the powder-coated metal frame holds a plain light bulb. A splash of color is added through colorful textile cables.

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Grupa was founded in Zagreb in 2006 by Ivana Pavic, Tihana Taraba and Filip Despot.

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Roman Vlahovic’s Lacescape table merges the tradition of Croatian lacemaking, a practice included in UNESCO’s Intangible Cultural Heritage list, with digital manufacturing, reinventing a traditional craft through modern processes.

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Using a combination of post consumer waste and natural materials, Svjetlana Despot’s Covert stool is manufactured by utilizing simple fabrication methods, cutting and overlapping.

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