‘The Lockdown Dialogues’ explores design in the age of isolation

‘The Lockdown Dialogues’ explores design in the age of isolation

The series was born out of conversations between Zanat founder Orhan Niksic and international designers including Ilse Crawford and Jean-Marie Massaud

Bosnian craft brand Zanat has called upon its international roster of designers to create a collection inspired by the isolation resulting from pandemic-related lockdowns implemented across the world in the past few months. ‘The recent lockdown has been a good opportunity to stay closer to our household members, to relax a bit and ponder about the future, the human condition and what truly matters to us,’ says founder Orhan Niksic.

The origins of Zanat date back more than a century, when Niksic’s great grandfather stumbled on a primitive hand-carving technique that originated near his hometown of Konjic. He established a woodcarving workshop and passed the now Unesco-protected technique down through family generations. Niksic started Zanat in 2015 with the aim of preserving this family legacy and he saw the recent pandemic as a chance to discuss themes of family and home.

A mirror by Monica Förster for Zanat
On the wall, Monica Förster’s Eclipse Mirror, part of the Lockdown Dialogues collection

Niksic took up discussions with some of Europe’s most celebrated designers, including Monica Förster, Ilse Crawford, Sebastian Herkner, Jean-Marie Massaud and Ludovica and Roberto Palomba. ‘Their enthusiasm about post-Covid-19 future and how Zanat’s vision relates to it was both heartening and inspiring,’ he says. ‘We all agreed that the future cannot look like the past, that environmental sustainability and ethics pertaining to how products are made, brought to market, and consumed can no longer be a matter of choice, but must be a design imperative.’ And so the Lockdown Dialogues Project was born as a way to channel these ideas and create objects that reflect this vision of ethical design.

‘Our aim was to create a collection of functional objects that improve the experience of staying at home and hopefully become heirloom pieces, objects made from responsibly sourced, renewable natural materials that clearly demonstrate the value of craftsmanship.’ The collection includes mirrors by Förster, stools and candleholders by the Palombas, and bowls by Crawford among others. They are small objects whose carefully considered craftsmanship, Nikisic hopes, can enrich our lives while creating employment opportunities as well as preserving important artisanal skills and cultural heritage. § 

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