The brand Design Apparat is the result of a unique collaboration between Italian and Bulgarian players, operating respectively in the complementary fields of design and production in the furniture sector.
Memory objects transportable into the future: that’s the ambition of performance and duration which distinguishes the Design Apparat approach to product design.
Recovering the iconic and emotional value of old furniture typologies, archetypal examples of the Bulgarian second half of the 20th century domesticity, Design Apparat has worked to update technology and design for a new class of objects, which share a completely renewed approach to materials, affordances and supply chain organization.
Together with a complete products re-engineering, the project puts in motion also a wider process of formal and functional review, surpassing the original destination of usage to encourage new possible translations set in the near future scenarios.
During the whole design activities, Design Apparat has embraced a principle of economy of the sign, that can be retrieved in the repeated use of the same constructive elements, favouring a production costs containment which advantages the economic access of the final consumer.
Furthermore, the transportation of objects into the future involves the whole product life cycle and thesustainable impact that the brand promotes as its ethical code of conduct, thanks to the choice of ashort supply chain and the use of local materials, in order to reduce the energy debt.
Finally, the choice of an essential look, diluted through a contemporary lightheartedness injection developed in an anti-vintage perspective, makes these products a universal identification class of objects, adaptable to different types of use and space personalities. Thus, respecting a formal and functional sobriety that rethinks itself as an ethical ambition to product design.
To work on an embryonic personality in order to reinforce its charm and usability: Design Apparat has been inspired by the patrimony of the late 20th century Bulgarian material culture to give life to its first collection of furniture.
Among the possible stimuli, the Soviet legacy certainly represents a radical source of inspiration, that takes shape in the re-elaboration of the orthogonal recurrences of the most widespread rationalism, the commemorative shifts of Soviet Baroque, through to the graphic or sculptural productions fluctuating between Figurative Realism and Constructivist Linearity.
For almost fifty years, these shapes and suggestions have given life to a homogeneous class of objects, characterised by the ambition of making themselves indispensible to the widest audience. Designed and produced in a regime where resources were scarce, their look has strongly marked the reference material universe, for the most part organised around a rough use of concrete, wood and metal.
The urban and industrial characterisation which is typical of the Soviet is combined with the fascination for Balkan rural culture, which in Bulgaria takes on specific identifying traits relating to some historical qualities that are not found in any other country of the area.
The legacy of the orphic culture, whose epicentre can be found amid the mountains of Bulgaria, where according to legend, Orpheus’s house was sheltered between the peaks of the Rodopi, tells us of a bond still rooted in the territory and nature, which is passed down through legends, folklore and folk songs. This bond takes on mystic overtones in the curative practices that are still carried out today using plants and local stones.
The handcrafted folk heritage influenced by the long Ottoman domination materialises in the traditional Tcherga wool carpets and also in the colour choices which are inspired by the multicoloured variety of reds, greens and oranges of the Bulgarian folk costumes, still used today in some remote areas of the country.
For Design Apparat the sustainable approach to product design is an unavoidable reference along the entire design chain. In fact, due to the brand’s ethical code, this orientation becomes vitally important, made necessary by the awareness of the risk associated with the availability, reproducibility, and equal distribution of the world’s natural reserves.
Therefore, the production cycle is based on a short supply chain: all the pieces of the collection were produced and assembled in the industrial plant of Valiyan, a co-producer of Design Apparattogether with Nido.
Furthermore, the raw materials and semi-finished products, which favoured the use of local resources, were procured from a radius of around 200 km, identifying the collection with specific genius loci that becomes both a symbol of local identity and respect for the environment, especially in terms of reducing polluting emissions and energy consumption.
The focus on sustainability also comes from lengthening the lifecycle of the product: all theDesign Apparat furnishings, in fact, were designed to last over time, guaranteeing the longest phase of use. The choice of modular elements reproduced in different pieces of the collection, such as the Bansko Boo armchair and ottoman, also aims at favouring an economy of the sign that goes hand-in-hand with productive advantage, particularly appropriate in times of economic recession.
In addition to the strictly ecological aspect, sustainability for Design Apparat also takes on semantic importance. The project of the collection, inspired for the most part by Bulgarian material culture, has addressed and revisited types of objects established in the collective and private memory of millions of Bulgarians, and thus defined through an experience of ancient and deep-rooted use.
The Bulgarian Twentieth Century Soviet
The reference framework for the project, the underpinnings of the scenario, are the still conspicuous traits of the Soviet aesthetics, melded with elements of rural folk culture and crafts, all tied to specific influences of Bulgarian history – orphism in particular – plus the broader Balkan identity.
Environmental and semantic sustainability:
Objects designed to last, hearkening back to the culture of material penury in which obsolescence was ruled out by the syndrome of the empty shelf, but attentive to meeting the modern-day challenge of ecological sustainability through parameters such as quality and beauty over time, with regard to both materials and form.
The project brings into untested partnerships between the old and new countries of the European Union, as well as between consolidated expertise and areas that are virgin territory for design methodology. Thus, a new design hub widens the routes of furniture production, as well as a new solidarity arising from recognition of a design heritage that only apparently is of lesser importance. Finally, a partnership meant to bring to the market conditions of new, democratic accessibility for the consumer, thanks to low-cost production in an economically competitive territory.
A clear-cut stylistic identity provides the key to understanding the merger of the rationalist morphology of the Soviet period with the rural culture of the Balkans: the processing of the trauma that followed the forced creation of a “people’s form”, the starting point for reinterpreting and updating that heritage, in the conviction that the fascination with the style, rather than resulting in the banality of the widespread ostalgie, can be combined with a contemporary implementation in the fields of technology and design.
All the products of the Deisgn Apparat collection were deisgned by Mirko Tattarini.
Mirko Tattarini was born and raised on the Amiata Mountain, a unique natural enclave in southern Tuscany, homeland of visionary and anarchic personalities, a mountain that preserves the charme of an ancestral world now keen on sustainable development.
After experiencing the thrills of professional ski racing, in 1995 he graduates at the ISIA of Florence with a thesis supervised by Paolo Deganello. Before then, his works are already published on different newspapers and magazines, among which Domus, Modo, Professione Architetto, Pluriverso, Experimenta.
He founds Lagos Design in 1996 aiming to apply the methodology of Italian design to the new digital domain. Few years later, he starts teaching Communication Design at the ISIA of Florence. He’s art director of the Millennium Celebrations “Monnalisa Overdrive” in Florence. In 2001 and 2002 he is founder and director of the X-Media International Conference.
In 2005, he publishes the book “Digital Medina”. The text includes, among the others, the contribution of Arthur Kroker, Derrick de Kerckhove, Giuseppe Furlanis.
In 2005 he opens a Lagos subsidiary in Sofia, where he mainly follows interiors and product design projects working with different companies through a strategic design approach: from brand to product design.
In 2006 he wins the concept competition for a skyscraper to be built in Burgas, Bulgaria.
Last but not least, the launch of Design Apparat is his ultimate but not less exciting adventure.
The fusion of Italian design methodology and Bulgarian material culture: Design Apparat way to furniture design
Design Apparat products are dristibuted in the following showroom:
1 Andrey Liapchev bd
tel #1: +359 8 88768988
tel #2: +359 8 88627221
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1 Andrey Liapchev bd
tel #1: +359 8 88768988
tel #2: +359 8 88627221
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