Nika Zupanc

I don’t mind, but it’s not particularly my own choosing that people typecast my work as ‘feminine’. I don’t think along gender specific lines to begin with. Instead, I see myself primarily as an industrial designer who solves challenges creatively. Finding a way out of the small box, so to speak, overcoming production restrictions, economic challenges or environmental issues. Basically not about frills, ornament or pretty-ness at all. Obviously, there’s a difference in personality, aesthetics and poetry in the design I prefer to make. In that sense the X factor or female touch remains unescapable.




With the first series for Moooi ten years ago, we elevated the femininity issue and embraced an opposite – almost rebellious – image. The name of the Lolita lamp was a first case in point. And the by-line we picked, ‘Who’s afraid of pink?’ enhanced the irony. I like to work with iconic colours, forms or stereotypes even and reshape them. With Lolita I tried to pull that colour out of the ghetto. Before the launch there was a lot of discussion within our team and Moooi about the question ‘Do we dare or not?’ That’s almost unbelievable now, but it felt like a taboo at the time. In the meantime pink has become fashionable and hip to use, but in those days everybody in the arena of serious design thought of it as a no-go area. Then again, it’s how PR works and Marcel Wanders is a keen player, not only in that field. Because of his observations, his way of thinking, he changed the perception of design. Moooi became a very important platform for new talent and young designers like myself. It was a steppingstone. I cannot change the perspective (of how people and press look at my work), but I am a product designer first and foremost, driven by the process and problem solving. This year, like at every Salone, I presented a new selection of limited editions at Rosanna Orlandi, for Sé and Scarlet Splendour at the fiera (Salone del Mobile fair). These past years you see more pluriformity coming up in Milan, in terms of designers coming from all over the world. And now there is this very openminded company Scarlet Splendour from India that’s producing and presenting design on the Western market. That’s new as far as I’m concerned. Of course the majority of my clients are based in Northern Italy and the Veneto area, which is still a powerhouse of production in Europe.

forever bed closed
Forever Bed


In 2000 I graduated from the Academy of Fine Arts and Design in Ljubljana. As a student I was highly artistic. Luckily I found a mentor that was a dedicated modernist. So I still regard Modernism as the basic source of my design attitude. I really like to find the essence of a thing, a product. Speaking in terms of attitude I think we as designers need to be a little bit self-contained and self-critical about ourselves and what we choose to put out in the open. Sustainability is a serious issue to me. Not only as a designer but also after hours, in my free time. I love nature. Therefore I chose to stay in Ljubljana and not move to Milan. From my place it takes me an hour by car and I am in really wild nature: in the woods, in the Alps or the on the coast of the Adriatic Sea.

brave I love hiking and being in direct contact with nature. I sport and windsurf. And I can skip lunch but I will never skip my daily training in martial arts. I need to keep balanced and contemplate. I need at least an hour and a half every day to filter out things and keep track of what’s important and what’s not. I think we have to be very tough on ourselves. And that goes for all the layers of our everyday life. Try not to be satisfied too quickly. We have to try to design things that add value and also work for the next generation. Responsibility and modesty are essential. I think we all need to be very brave and push the boundaries of the design profession.

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This interview was published in WOTH issue No9 still available in our shop.