Tangible Cultural Heritage

Design Talks – The Second Day.

On the second day of Belgrade Furniture Fair, within the Design Talks, there was a discussion with the representatives of the companies Mobles 114 from Spain, Emko from Lithuania and Gir from Serbia. The representatives of the three companies spoke about the starts in the design world and furniture production, but also the tradition and heritage, the environment importance in which they create and manufacture, production process and the ideas moving them, innovations and production enhancement, but also the matters unavoidable in the present world, such as environmental protection, recycling and the local resource use.

More than four decades ago, more precisely in 1973, Mobles 114 was established in Barcelona by two Spanish industrial designers. They first opened a shop and five years later, they manufactured the first products. During the designer boom in Spain in 1980’s, the export was started and later on also cooperation with international designers.

„At present, Mobles 114 is a company which does not produce anything. We work on the product development with designers and sell them. We do not have a factory, we are what currently is called furniture editors“, says Nuria Tovar, the representative of this company that featured for the first time at the Belgrade Furniture Fair.

For the first time at the Fair is also Emko, Lithuanian company, which was originally established as a studio in 2009, and at present it cooperates beside the local designers, also with many European ones and sells its products all over Europe and the world.

„During the years we realized Lithuania should not be a country, which will just manufacture furniture, but also the country of creators and designers. Our first product is My Writing Desk, the most awarded Lithuanian furniture piece in the world and it shows what people can do if they believe in themselves and their country”, points out Inga Markovska.

Gir is a company founded from the family business in 1993. This factory from Kraljevo commenced in 2001 its cooperation with Belgian Ethnicraft company, which is still in progress.

“Two years ago we opened GIR Store in Belgrade, in order to share our potentials with the designers from Serbia and the region. We started at that time also product design and began manufacturing our own products, created under cooperation with the designers from Serbia and the region. We plan further development this way. Besides, in the Gir Store we sell international companies’ products we cooperate with”, says Bojan Radović.

During the discussion, the question was asked what these companies differs from others at the market, but special topic was also the influence and importance of tradition for the furniture design.

“After the dark period of dictatorship in Spain, a group of people appeared, who cared about the slightly forgotten heritage. Our collection belongs to the world of design, architecture, arts and tangible cultural heritage. We are obliged to preserve the heritage, we are not just furniture suppliers. One of our values is to make people recognize designer heritage of Spain, this is very important for us. It is important to give identity to a product. Our objective is also to give character to each product of ours and when people see them, they can say – this could be a product of Mobles 114”, says Tovar.

“We are open for cooperation with the designers who bring new ideas, but at the same time, we find motivation in traditional things, but we have to modernize and advance them. This is a new approach to the tradition – we do not want just to remake old things, but also to find in them motivation and turn it into a modern form. Many things we present at the Fair get inspiration from the traditional products from these regions, such as the table designed by Marko Oljača or the lamps designed by Studio Presek”, says Bojan Radović.

All three studios are interested in new suggestions and cooperation with young designers. Thus, you can send your portfolio to their addresses in Barcelona, Vilnius or Belgrade.