Presenting the Best Balkan Product Design

Throughout the week we’ve been covering the Milan Design Week, the Croatian designers’ performance within their joint exhibition, the Croatian Designers Impact, as well as our choice of the most interesting exhibits from the Salone Satellite exhibitions. As promised, today we’re featuring the Young Balkan Designers Project.

You already had the chance to read on the website how the Young Balkan Designers initiative was launched by the cultural organization Mikser. Following last year’s successful presentational concept of Young Serbian Designers, the mikser team spread onto this region, thus making it possible for young designers and architects from neighboring countries to apply and present themselves in Milan. Their competition resulted in eleven selected projects among 400 submitted works from 5 regional countries, i.e. the Balkans, by designers or design teams from Serbia, Greece, Bulgaria, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Croatia.

At the Milan Fiera, The Balkan Team presented itself within the Satellite program, at a space consisting of the usual 4modules, i.e. presentation slots. That decision proved to be spot-on, considering that the “openness” and transparency of the exhibition venue resulted in the fact that visitors could enter the zone, have up-close-and-personal access to the products and casually communicate with the designers and organizers.

Mikser should definitely be commended for its initiative which resulted in the fact that these ten designers were the only representatives of this region at the Satellites, in addition to Željka Kavran whom we mentioned in a past article. We believe that the designers who applied this year will also do so next year, and that some of this-year or last-year mikser’s selectees will soon be deserving of their “own space” at the Satellites. This year’s YBD fulfilled its main task to promote young producteers from this region, whose works were up to par with the “competition,” and we can only hope that the seven-day presentation in Milan will mean success and production of their products in the near future.

The TRAY table, by designers Maša Milovac, Dora Đurkesac and Mia Bogovac, provides a new take on ordinary run-of-the-mill tables. Their version of a table is actually a combination of elements that fold into each other, functioning as table in their entirety, while each individual element can serve as a tray.

*Maša Milovac, Dora Đurkesac and Mia Bogovac – TRAY

The designer Maja Mesić, who also presented herself in Milan at the Croatian Designers’ Impact, was selected within the YBD competition with her project of a round carpet whose width and final shape is ultimately defined by the designer himself/herself. By multiplying seven equal parts, much the same as a puzzle, the carpet shifts sizes.

*COIL RUBBER – Maja Mesić

Ivana Borovnjak and Roberta Bratović created FOR1 OR2, a folding table made from plywood and pelt. The table’s simple and logical form is the result of contemplating the economic uses of small spaces, thus the table provides the option to function as “half” a table pressed against the wall or it can also stand on its own in the middle of the room. The table manipulation and transformation form one element into another is extremely simple due to textile elements set between the wood surfaces.

*Roberta Bratović and Ivana Borovnjak – FOR1 OR2

The creative force driving Dimitrios Stamakis to design objects is the very autonomy of their existence. His Lighthouse lamp refers to high forms, towers, and landmarks which create their own environments with their functionality and steadfastness, following the notion of the independence of the lighthouse which emits energy which in turn impacts the environment.

*Dimitriosa Stamakisa – LIGHTHOUSE

MOI TOI is a personal hanger whose concept is putting fun into organizing clothes. It’s made of wire, plastic tubes, cables and felt. Its form is supple and flexible and it can bend any which way. The author of the MOI TOI hanger is Neira Sinabašić from Bosnia and Herzegovina.

*MOI TOI – Neira Sinanbašić

The TRAFFIC JAM hanger by Serbian designer Vukašin Vukobratović perhaps enticed the largest interest of all presented products, thus various design websites wrote up short articles featuring the young Serbian even before Milan Fashion Week. This hanger, which in addition to the just hanging of clothes, also has slogans which signalize i.e. guide and direct towards certain rooms in an apartment. In addition to the exhibited hanger for house use, there are also options for offices or other public spaces.

*TRAFFIC JAM – Vukašin Vukobratović

There was talk in the Milan corridors that Slovenian designers refused to participate in the competition. They’re probably too proud of the fact that they’re an EU member state thus deemed it inappropriate to present their work within the Young Balkan Designers framework.

We didn’t come across any other Slovenian representatives in Milan.

Photographs of authors and their products: Nebojša Babić via