On September 16th 2015 I am opening an exhibition with ceramic artist and a dear friend of mine Mladen Ivančić, in gallery of Croatian Association of Applied Artists (ULUPUH) in Zagreb.
The exhibition deals with the modern understanding of Mediterranean traditions related to food and crafts, and plays with the notion of invented tradition that is largely present within the concept of the Mediterranean diet today. Through dialogue between the two materials and techniques we created a narrative that combines factual, authentic tradition with the fictional tradition: an imaginary narrative of what tradition actually is and how fragile is its authenticity. We wanted to show an imaginary future scenario deriving from the Croatian crafts tradition in broadest sense – from the table culture, to agriculture, hunting, fishing, and games.
While each of us was working with his favourite raw material, at some point we have come to a conclusion that wood and ceramics have become inseparably connected through history. The antique wooden ships transported their cargo in clay jars, wooden tables in inns were set with ceramic plates and jugs, a medieval fortress were largely constructed of wood. And without fire the items presented in the exhibition could not been either developed or used. That is why the building blocks of this exhibition are wood, ceramics and fire. Some exhibited objects invoke the tradition of preparing food outdoors. Perhaps this is one of the last relict of customs that today belongs primarily to the memory.
Photographs by Martin Gustavsson and Jadranka Hajduković.
Barrel-making was for many centuries a strong tradition in a coastal area of Croatia where I grew up. However, within only few decades, barrel-making faded away completely, when plastic and stainless steel replaced wooden barrels as cheaper and more practical solutions. At the same time, awareness of local food traditions began to rise.
I used barrel-making (also known as coopering) as starting point in search for both new forms of expression, as well as new functions and uses. Through evolution of centuries-old technique I was hoping to create new interest in tradition and sense of local identity it represents. And yes, I like Hayao Miyazaki.
Wooden food smoker is both a storytelling piece, as well as usable piece of outdoor kitchen equipment. As a functional piece, it corresponds to contemporary trends of reviving food as social event, and desire to explore new tastes in ingredients. Lastly, the object contains a somewhat ironic character trait when it comes to invented tradition, and I can imagine scenario where it would be deliberately falsely presented as an actual historical piece of kitchenware.
Ceramic fire-pit (which you don’t see on photos but you will soon) was made by Croatian artist Mladen Ivančić.
Photos by Biba Šehović Jelušić and Martin Gustavsson.
Pinta is a project I did in collaboration with my friend Ola Andersson. We’re exhibiting it at Stockholm Furniture Fair from 3-7 February 2015, as a part of Survival: The Craft of Adaption project.
Pinta is a playboat for kids of preschool and early school age. It offers various play possibilities on the inside, while being rich in imaginative powers on the outside.
Pleasant tactile experience of cork and textured wood, combined with gentle rocking movement, create a cosy womb-like enclosure. Its image is a visual reference of all the grand adventures: from pirates to early explorers like Columbus and Magellan. Pinta recalls boat on an open sea, boat as a shelter and boat as a product of woodcraft traditions.
Our friends Martin Horgan, Juan Cappa, Petter Olsson and Adrian Coen helped with the build.
Photographs by Steven Polak.
I was asked to make a writing desk for three girls who are starting school this autumn. The magic appeal of mid-century modern was in this case just too hard to resist: desk is a sequel of a long line of simple and beautiful writing desks, inspired primarily by 1952 Helmut Magg’s desk, but also recent pieces like Phloem Studio’s beautiful Laura desk. So here’s a preview of two desks I just finished, one in walnut with green formica top, and another one in white ash with ivory-coloured top; the third one will be in walnut with black top. I wanted to create a desk that would fit the world of a seven year old girls, while not being too childish, rather a heirloom piece that can follow a person through life. And yes, I wanted it to be subtly feminine, hence the gentle curvy lines and soft contrasts. More photos soon.