Lina Kovačević is a designer whose first job ever was in an Internet café and who’s said to be an Internet buff since the time of the ASCII codes. In translation, this means that the Zagreb designer was born, bred and shaped by the Internet and that her vast knowledge of it extends to both the general as well as the personal domain.
Apple Stores worldwide have presented the young participants of the ADC Young Guns competition, which Lina Kovačević won in 2006 (the Croatian design team Budor + Čule also made the ADC Young Guns winners’ list at a later date).
Last Monday, on April 18th, Kovačević presented her work at the London Apple Store in Regent Street, which, for that matter, doubles as her master’s degree thesis at the London St. Martins School of Art and Design. Of course, this work is also Internet-related. While her first work for the 2003 Festival of the Firsts in Zagreb, an online installation called Edit This Banner, was an integral part of the Internet, the designer’s current works include objects from everyday life that has become both dependent on and determined by the Internet and a reflection of interpersonal relations realized via social networks.
As a result of various researches conducted on the fetishization of the virtual within her master’s degree project, the designer presents us with a set of products inspired by Brecht’s objects of alienation as well as a 2009 wedding that was realized via Skype. The set consists of half a plate, a smaller angular plate, an earphone piece with matching pearls, an earphone piece with a matching bow-tie, an embroidered keyboard tablecloth complete with an opening for the touch-pad (so the wine won’t spill on the keys, as the designer explains) along with a netiquette for the perfect online romantic dinner. You may have already seen her cool design up close and personal at the Croatian design exhibit which we featured here.
As many couples are in long-distance relationships today, this set is intended to make their online dates that much more pleasurable and romantic. Still, its unusualness makes it humorous and comic almost to the point of absurdity, at the same time managing to maintain a healthy dose of critical awareness. It’s precisely this ambiguity that makes this work contemporary and interesting while scrutinizing both personal and general patterns of emotional behavior in today’s world of online dating.
While exhibiting at the Apple Store, Kovačević reminisced about her earlier works, e.g. the aforementioned 2003 Edit This Banner and the 2004 Lego Robot Designer along with a recent 2011 work Design Psychology Test – Discover How Much of a Designer You Really Are – a psychological test on design. Her latest work was presented at the London Design Week, and came about as a result of collaboration with The Decorators, a collective whom Kovačević is currently collaborating with.
Tonči Kranjčević Batalić