American Design Hot List 2016
New York, anakras.com
The Serbian-born model and photographer, who moves back and forth between design and art, is the author of one of our favorite collections to date, the Slon collection for Matter Made. A new collection in metal and laminate is in the works.
What is American design to you, and what excites you about it?
When I think of American design, the first thing that comes to my mind is Frank Lloyd Wright and Frank Gehry. When I think of America I think of the large scale; I think of architecture.
I see contemporary American design as a mix of international influences because of all the people who brought those influences with them to America. And that’s what’s most exciting about it at the same time.
What are your plans and highlights for the upcoming year?
I’m very happy about a few projects and collaborations that will be launched in the next year. I like to keep it secret until its ready. Lately I’ve been working on glass and laminate pieces and I hope to explore that more in the next year. I’m very curious about applying laminates to glass surfaces.
What inspires or informs your work in general?
Architecture is what inspires me the most when it comes to shapes and volumes. By that I don’t mean only the masterpieces of the greats; what’s even more inspiring is vernacular architecture in different places in the world. I grew up in Belgrade, Serbia, and architecture was always my big influence. There is a lot of freedom in architecture in that area of the world. People build things that are easy and inexpensive to construct and so they come up with very interesting decisions that result in very unusual shapes and finishes. There are a lot of Communist Brutalist buildings there, which I love, but there’s also a human touch to it because people there tend to freely alter their homes to nurture their needs. So one would add a wall to the terrace and paint it apricot, another one would add a reflective bronze glass to it, the third one would plant a mini garden, so the facade ends up looking like a patchwork.
When I traveled to Haiti last year, I was blown away by the metalwork and fences there. I couldn’t stop staring at them. They make these fences that are full of geometrical ornaments and they put them on terraces, too, so the fences overlap and make this beautiful mesh of very graphic patterns on top of each other. It inspired a big series of my drawings.
Visiting Brazil, I was mesmerized by subtle design choices in architecture — tiles, use of stone, column shapes, brown glass — all that in simple residential buildings. I could go on forever. Each place I visit, the first thing I stare at is the architecture.