Design Awareness

We have talked to Zoran Jedrejčić, Art Director of this year’s Furniture Fair.

Belgrade Furniture Fair is in progress, gathering architects, designers, engineers, manufacturers and distributers – all factors creating the furniture industry, but also general publics. We have talked to Zoran Jedrejčić, famous industrial designer and the Art Director of this year’s Fair, about the conceptions going on, the Golden Key Award and the expectations for this year, but also the future ones.

What was the feedback after the last year’s Fair?

The last year’s Fair was superb. We had a lot of positive comments. And a few critics – first of all we should create it in a more professional way. We obeyed these critics, attempted this year to improve it, to obey serious companies’ requirements. Last year we had a step forward, the visit increase of some 50%, as well as in the international companies bringing. The step forward is enormous, the critic was positive and I could say the last year’s fair was the inducement for us to be even better this year.

You have been the Art Director for two years and steps forward were made compared with the found situation. Why was it important to establish the new conception and what does it mean for such an event?

It was fundamental to create the new conception. First of all in the graphic section, Peter Gregson Studio from Novi Sad did great job and the graphic section matched perfectly with the board of the Fair itself. We understood the Fair as the venue of gathering the best regional and international companies – as the venue of business connection to the economy. And we turned our interpretations into the action.

Everything had to be changed radically, modernized and taken to some ‘more normal’ situation as it is in the big systems and trade fairs, such as IMM in Cologne, which is very important, or Salone del Mobile from Milan. Thus, we did not make anything innovative, but brought substantially proved conceptions to these regions.

What is the Fair share in the building of the recognizable visual and market identity of the country and region?

I would dare saying it is fundamental, the place of showing the best.   This is standard in the world, in our country the Fair was treated for many years as the place of buying the cheapest furniture pieces, which is not a sin as such, but it should be the venue of the best manufacturers gathering and the best products featuring. We are striving for this.

What are the new features expected this year?

We have many of these “new things”, as we would say in Split, first of all the Design Talks. Finally a physical place at the Fair where young designers and their more experienced colleagues, architects, manufacturers, buyers… may exchange their experiences in front of great audience following it. Second, this is a confirmation of the Golden Key conception, it means bringing famous international designers. These are two most important things. In addition to the super new companies, being for the first time at the fair this year.

The section of the Young Designers Exhibition is interesting. Tell us how you see the importance of the new forces and new ideas introduction.

Every normal man sees the investment into young people as a type of the investment into the future. I would dare saying – the deposit for the future. This year, a major number of young colleagues responded to the attendance. I am twice pleased because of this – both because of their number and the event quality. This was done to let the young designers get in direct touch with the manufacturers. It is fundamental that the economy and the regional creative forces meet and we hope to have the privilege one day to be joined also by the international young designers and to create a melting pot for this whole industry here.

The Golden Key Award was redesigned last year, it was awarded by the international jury having high criteria.  How important is the reference system creation?

This year, we are going to the mentioned specified way from the last one. The jury had a very demanding role, since it remained strong and persistent to the original ideas and ideals. This year, it will be much easier for my colleagues to do the job. These are all really internationally recognized designers – Lucie Koldova, the famous Czech designer and Art Director of many big global brands, then Guillaume Delvigne, the rising star of French design, already proved Grupa, also a serious collective from Zagreb, we shall have the studio Skrivo from Italy and the intellectual gentleman, the esthete not from this world, but whose opinion, I think, is very important for many people, Mr. Voja Žanetić, an expert in many branches, including the communication one.

The Golden Key definitely raises the production standards. I am very pleased, i.e. it happened for the first time that big companies, awarded last year, put the award to the same place where they put also the RedDot and others, so the design, global design Oscars. This is the honor hopefully deserved by the Golden Key by its coherence on the rising line created by us.

In the last few years, the furniture industry in the region goes up…

Yes. Yes, absolutely.

Does the Fair follow it?

Oh! I wish this was the opposite. To ask the question if the economy will follow the Fair. Actually, we should follow each other. The Fair supports the economy, it is a review of the companies, I would say. It is the world standard – the economy and Fairs cooperate closely, they ask and answer each other, go hand in hand together, up or down.

What are your expectations from this Fair?

I would dare saying I think we are on the right way. In another three editions, say in 2020, I think we shall be a serious point on the European Fairs map.