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DESIGN TALKS: David Tavčar

Educated in Vienna and Eindhoven David Tavčar is still a homegrown industrial designer. He is an admirer of objects, not necessarily because of their beauty but because of the range of responsibilities and duties that come with the creation, production and care of every single object ever being made. 

david tavčar

1. Your designs are filled up with historical references. When and why have you become so passionate about the history?
First and foremost I’ve been raised in a family of art and antiques collectors, something that has definitely left a mark. Secondary were my industrial design studies in Vienna under Professor Paolo Piva. One of the things he taught me is that every design needs to connect aspects from the past (history), future and the present in order to be accepted by the user / client. Calling something ”a good design” means that the design has captured the ”zeitgeist”. There is no presence without its history and according to that there is no good contemporary design without including some of the historical archetypes into it.

2. What era are you particularly interested in?
I’ve been always interested in mass production, less in one-offs. In the first years of my design practice / studies I designed quite a few chairs and tables, always finishing the projects with neat prototypes. Making a prototype tends to take quite a lot of time, that’s why I’ve quickly landed in the fields of textile design and industrially produced ceramics, where I was capable of producing small series instead of only ”one-offs – prototypes”, that also helped me to get my products on the market relatively quickly. In the last couple of years I’ve been designing products almost exclusively for textile, glass and porcelain manufacturers, but am open to provide my design services for any mass production oriented company. Currently, I am working on two large interior design projects. I also do a lot of consulting.

3. Is it the history or the ever changing culture that interests you, the flips of human attitudes toward world, life, love?
I am very much interested in ”the aging of products”. I am in love with the general idea of an object that gets better by use, as an example – a piece of cloth that gets softer with every wash. I have to admit that I feel much more empathy for objects than for humans, nevertheless, fairtrade production and transparency for me is an absolute must, not an option.

4. How about sex? You’ve designed a series of dildos made out of porcelain, penis shaped salt and pepper shakers etc.?
In 2014 I was invited to design a series of objects for an exhibition ”Wien Souvenir exhibition – Vienna souvenier exhibition” at the Wien Museum. A souvenir is by definition an object without its prescripted function. I knew that other objects shown at the exhibition would be rather ordinary, that’s why I decided to make something ‘that would make some waves. My chosen thematics was ”discreet sexual connotation in Vienna”. A casual visit to Vienna may not seem particularly sexual but a stroll through any district of the city might. There are brothels in all of the Viennese districts, a cruising sauna is located opposite of the entrance of the main municipal monastery, the decoration of the front facade of the Stephansdom consists out of sculptures depicting vaginas and penises. I designed a series of objects based on the sexual theme, one of these objects was a phallic sculpture made out of fine bone china, painted with the conservative ”Prinz Eugen decoration”. Nevertheless, the whole series has no practical function and has been bought entirely by museums and private collectors.

the penis penet

5. What is kinky?
I wouldn’t know. I am completely vanilla. The opposite of me I guess.

6. You design textiles and objects and objects with textiles. What makes them David Tavčar?
Probably all that I’ve mentioned above, but mainly the aspect of trying to design objects that show respect for the past and the general idea of designing guilt free ”fairtrade” products as well as production processes. A common theme of mine is also research of the traditional crafts and industrial production techniques and trying to use the ”research results” as a response on the current market demands.

7. They often poses a good amount of humour. What do you think is funny? Is it possible to define funny?
I enjoy humour that comes with spontaneity. Since I believe that design and spontaneity don’t have much in common, ”the humour component” tends to pop up unexpectedly during the design process, ”dry, technical humor” can be fun too.

david tavčar chair

8. Do you laugh a lot?
No.

9. Do you live alone?
No, I live with a gigantic archive of prototypes.

10. Do you walk around naked at home?
Only when I have guests.

11. You’ve designed a collection of boxer shorts. Which are you favourite?
It would have to be a classic, the red on white lobster print called Marinam. I have a set of matching bed linen made from the same fabric. It’s rather fun when I go to bed in the evening, when ”everything matches”.

12. Which were best sellers?
My best seller is a decorative fabric called ”Foresta” and a range of products made out of it that I designed for the Austrian company Leitner Leinen. It comes in numerous blends, material and colour variations. They relaunched it two weeks ago for this season in 11 different variations.

13. Where do you sell your products?
The products I’ve designed for Leitner Leinen, Augarten Porzellan Manufaktur, Artemide lighting and other companies are sold wherever their retailers are. The products and editions that I sell under my own label get sold through different retailers and galleries as well as through pop-up stores and an online store that is open from November till January. Some stuff was sold at auction houses. I’ve even found some stuff on ebay and ”Willhaben” which is the Austrian version of ebay.

14. Do you take many personal orders?
I do, if there is time. Summer is a good time to ask.

15. How far do you go with personalisation?
From time to time it may happen that a client’s will overpower mine, in this case the design won’t carry my name.

16. What is your favourite item that you’ve ever made?
I like a range of velvet decorative fabrics that I proposed to Leitner Leinen last Friday and a black glossy car paint covered dining chair ”Alchemie 1” that I designed back in 2014.

17. Do you work on commission?
My contracts vary completely, depending on the project.

18. If you could choose, which brand would you like to design for?
I was shortlisted for the ”le grand prix du carré hermès”. It would’ve been nice to win.

Source: Fashion guide Autumn Winter 2019 / 2020

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