Filip Gordon Frank: ‘I never carry a pen or paper with me.’
With autumn's new scheme at the Croatian Design Superstore, our newly launched blog now presents its first regular column Designer Portraits – interviews with designers whose products can be found in Martićeva 4 and on our online shop. Each of them will share little secrets of their profession with you, but also thoughts on everyday occurrences which make them happy, inspire them and encourage their creativity and work. Find out what everyday life of designers is really like!
Our first interviewee is Filip Gordon Frank, a product and interior designer from Zagreb, who has enriched CDSS with his desk lamp Mini Me and sophisticated ashtray Ashley. He was born in 1977 in Zagreb, where he graduated from the School of Design at the Faculty of Architecture, where he also worked as an assistant at design courses upon graduation. In 2005, he moved to Milan to specialize in interior design at the Scuola Politecnica di Design, after which he worked at the studio Aldo Cibica for a short time, after which he returned to Zagreb. He’s been showcased at numerous exhibitions in Croatia and abroad and successfully combines furniture design and interior design while cooperating with domestic and foreign companies. In 2012 he founded the company Polymorph, which stands behind the production and marketing of his personal products available on the market. His works are published in national and international publications such as Oris, Elle Decor, Wallpaper, Internal, Disegno Interiors and many others. We’ve “caught” him just as he has launched several exciting new products.
CDSS: How did the products and brand with which you present yourself at the Croatian Design Superstore come to be?
Filip Gordon Frank: I’ve always dreamed about my own collection of products and often watched designers out there produce small batches of various items and then sell them in their little shops in the smallest little streets of European cities. Such an atmosphere and the stories that surround the whole process of making the product from the first ideas and sketches to the fact that you have the opportunity to talk with potential customers in the courtyard of your own store are somehow my picture of an ideal business which I am going towards. I never cared much for large-scale, mass industrial production, because it seems to devalue the product.
CDSS: What encouraged you to step onto the entreprenurial path with your design?
FGF: When I was tired of touring fairs and forciblely contacting other manufacturers in order to offer them my products, I decided to go with the whole story myself. It gives me much greater freedom.
CDSS: What kind of challenges are you faced with during independent manufacturing and distribution of your own design products?
FGF: Unfortunately, to be independent in this business means investing enormous amounts of time, money and ultimately energy. Finally, the crucial issues are the market and numbers, since small-scale production is very expensive.
CDSS: When speaking about colleagues, whose products would you accentuate as beautiful, practical and useful?
There is such a small number of us in Croatia that I simply could not – nor would I like to – point out anyone in particular, because I think that every one of them has given their contribution for us to stand where we are today, I find that absolutely everyone deserves to be mentioned. Every one of us has found our own niche and it seems to me that precisely that differentiatiation in approaches, typology and types of products are what make Croatian design valuable and interesting.
CDSS: What items can you not live without in everyday life and what do you always carry around with you?
FGF: If I could, I would walk around like a bushman. I am perhaps the best example of the saying ‘the shoemaker has the worst shoes’. I never have a pen or a piece of paper with me. Before I couldn’t leave the house without a watch on, but I got rid of that, too.
CDSS: Do you occasionally wish you could take a break from design?
FGF: Every day. No matter how much I love this calling, I often long for rest because it is work that is done continuously and often leads to exhaustion due to the large number of commitments concerning business organization.
CDSS: What’s the last thing that you’ve experienced that has left you speechless in a positive sense?
FGF: Unfortunately, rarely anything these days leaves me speechless. We are piled with things and information. Only newly discovered places and wonderful people leave me speechless.
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