Reflecting several new products, ideas and trends after an international design event like the Milan Design Week 2017 is an interesting and challenging process every year. Traditional design firms come up with new or updated products and new firms, often small and highly specialized ones, come up with new ideas, prototypes or rediscovered traditional techniques. One of those is Zanat from Bosnia and Herzegovina and we would love to share a closer look on them with you.
It started almost by accident nearly a century ago when Gano stumbled upon a primitive hand-carving technique that originated from a small village close to his hometown of Konjic, just south of Sarajevo on the Neretva River. As a hobbyist, Gano mastered the technique and improved upon it, passing his skills down to his entrepreneurial son, Adem. In 1927, Adem launched a new company incorporating the technique in the making of luxury furniture. Adem’s business became an instant success. Others soon followed his example, and in the peacetime between the two World Wars, several fine furniture workshops were opened in Konjic producing hand-carved furniture and decorative objects in local hardwoods.
After World War II, Socialism and the Bosnian War Besim reopened the company in 1995 and started growing with the help of his sons Adem and Orhan. New investments were made and the business expanded quickly. A new vision was developed for the company, inspired by the appreciation for modern design and disillusionment with the increasing divorce between modern design and quality craftsmanship. They decided to promote a new idea in furniture design and production: one that emphasizes craftsmanship and shows how traditional hand-carving techniques can seamlessly blend with and open new possibilities for modern design.
“Zanat:” Bosnian for Craft!
Today, the unique carving and furniture style developed by their ancestors has become known as the “Bosnian Konjic Style”. The quality and uniqueness of the work has garnered global acclaim, and several of their pieces are under state protection as part of Bosnia’s national cultural heritage.
In 2014, the Konjic woodcarving technique largely created and developed by the Niksic family was officially nominated by the government of Bosnia and Herzegovina to the UNESCO World Intangible Cultural Heritage List, and Niksic pieces are currently featured in a UNESCO publication highlighting exceptional craftsmanship in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
The furniture produced by their grandfather could be found in the residencies and offices of aristocrats and elites throughout South Central Europe. Today their furniture is finding favor in a global market and can be found in fine homes, commercial developments, and religious institutions throughout Europe, the United States and the Middle East. While the designs and scale of the company have, and will continue to evolve, the company’s values won’t! Zanat is committed to both, the satisfaction of their customers and to the company’s traditions. They believe that us, their customers, should feel secure that when we buy a piece from Zanat we are not only improving our homes, we are improving our world.
Zanat can proudly say that their company belongs to the category of European family-owned enterprises that through generations of uncompromising quality and innovation have become symbols of a city and its traditions.
We hope to use their great products in one of our next projects soon!