Could you quickly introduce yourself in a few short sentences? Who you are, what you do at the moment and where are you from?
We are Petra Brajak from Ljubljana and Robert V. Bijelić from Zagreb, architects that studied architecture at the University of Ljubljana. At the moment, we are focusing mainly on the project Brajak Vitberg, where we are exploring our creativity within interior design.
How would you describe your beginnings in the creative field? Was this the career path you have always wanted or is it different from what you have imagined it to be?
We did a lot of projects together during our studies and immediately clicked. We shared the same aesthetic values, also similar artistic background referring to our parents. Therefore, our collaboration developed organically, leading us to create something together on our own. Nevertheless, the differences in our characters allow us to have vivid and creative flow of ideas that works so well for us. Already during our studies we knew we wanted to focus more on designing our own products, which we wanted to present, not merely as objects, but also as part of our lifestyle and sensibility.
Our work is a ramification of our synesthetic perceptions of the world around us. We have always had an urge to instantly materialise our visions without discrepancies between the creative process and the realisation: our design is an intersection of the creative part and the material one. This is something that other forms of design, such as architecture, often fail to offer to an artist.
What inspired you to start with this unique collaborative project and how has everything evolved since your start in 2018?
It was traveling, the absorption of culture and a dive into the ancient architecture and design that played an important role at the inception of this project. Long, often passionate debates about art, design, also fashion brought us to the point where we just had to do something, not only talk. Simple as it sounds, we always wanted to offer something different. We knew that the audience would appreciate our new and fresh approach.
You are a team of two designers. How do you usually collaborate and what does your creative process look like?
We meet every morning in our favourite place in Ljubljana where we both currently live and work — then over coffee, we share ideas and intertwine our creative minds so each of us has something to offer to Brajak Vitberg. We support each other, so when one gets lost or has difficulties in expressing their ideas and visions, the other is there to help with the articulation. We are friends first, then partners. We have had a strong personal bond before starting the project, meaning that this collaboration is more like a ‘productive friendship’ than a team.
How did you develop your distinctive visual language which we see in your work today?
First and most important is that we do not separate design from fashion, architecture from art or music from concept. For us, everything is in symbiosis and harmony. We built a style based on a strong iconographic identity of ancient homo-eroticism (connection between strong masculine image of ancient Greek god and upright table lamp made of marble) and on research and development of endless possibilities of light effects and interweaving, even the contamination of classic expressive languages with modern ones. With the artistic and aesthetic construct that we are developing we aim to achieve a unique, unrepeatable product.
In addition, growing up in an artistic environment also played an important role for both of us.
What’s the best thing someone has said about your work?
“This project will shake up the market”.
What are the main products of the studio that our readers should know about?
Currently, we are presenting collections of lamps, all thriving to reflect our quest for eternity through design and materials. The language of design is stratified and eclectic, but at the same time it combines a poetic vision and raw design. We named them after cities we have visited: Miami, Pompeii, Athens and Capri. The latter two combine monumental design with eternal material like brass, steel, marble, while Miami offers nearly futuristic view over classic design with the use of acrylic glass and dichroic foil.
Three words which would describe Brajak Vitberg.
Eclectic, flamboyant, pretentious.
You have recently presented a new campaign in collaboration with a well-known Slovenian photographer Urša Premik and actor Klemen Janežič. How did this collaboration start and where did you explore/search for the ideas and project’s concept?
Both collaborations, with Urša Premik and Klemen Janežič came to realisation thanks to the recommendations of our friends. They are both extremely professional and great artists. Simply, it was a great joy to work with them because we clicked instantly and they both knew exactly how to express the idea of this campaign. In its foreground, we wanted to tell a story of Adonis as an archetype of antique masculinity charged with powerful seductive eroticism. But in the background we put our Miami collection in a role of a static observer. Therefore, with this campaign we put the inspiration and our aesthetic values in the spotlight.
Your project presents a unique multidisciplinary approach to art and design, which we haven’t really seen before in Slovenia. What first made you decide to take this approach and what do you feel is your advantage on the Slovenian market?
We perceive the Slovenian market as ascetic, where we saw a huge empty space not filled by locally produced, handcrafted high-end luxurious and flamboyant design.
The focus of the project is the conceptual search of eternity through fashion, art, people and the inspiration of the moment. Brajak Vitberg is not just a studio that designs. It may be a new vision, a relationship with a design, even a new approach to design. That was and still is the main focus that we rely on from the beginning. However, we do not want to limit ourselves to Slovenia exclusively.
Are there any projects that have particularly influenced you and your work?
We are regularly following the work of designers and architects but currently our inspiration is derived mostly from antiquity that has laid grounds for classical beauty we admire so much. We seek this beauty in ancient as well as in modern cities and their culture.
What is the best thing you have experienced by being an artist so far?
The answer to that question is very simple: it’s a feeling of complete freedom that provides us with limitless possibilities through which we can manifest our creative impulses.
What’s next for you? Do you maybe have any upcoming projects you would like to share with us?
Besides two projects for private clients, we are going to develop our ideas without limiting ourselves exclusively to interior design.
Petra and Robert, thank you very much for your time and answers. The best of luck with your career and upcoming projects.