Belgrade Design Week: Martin Žampach

Owing to other commitments we have sadly been forced to cancel our trip to Belgrade Design Week.

Gutted. Is probably the best description of our emotions at the moment.

It was going to be our first visit to Belgrade, and after all the good and positive things we’ve heard… we were genuinely looking forward to it.

Aside from an interesting sounding series of lectures and talks from, amongst others, the likes of Arik Levy, Stefan Diez or Dieter “YELLO” Meier as part of the official design week programme, the parallel Mikser Festival promised some interesting new discoveries and impressions from those countries whose designers we normally don’t get the chance to see.

As we say, gutted!

And so to make us feel a little better better we spoke to Martin Žampach, founder and editor of – a design blog dedicated to young, contemporary design in east and central Europe and probably the best reference source for information on who is doing what throughtout the region.

Martin is, needless to say, going to Belgrade.

(smow)blog: What is the background to designeast? Where did the idea come from?

Martin Žampach: The idea arose because I couldn’t find any information on the Internet about the design scene in Eastern Europe in a form I could understand, by that I mean English rather than, for example, Bulgarian or Polish. And so I started collecting information and publishing it in English so that people would have a better idea of what is happening in the eastern part of Europe.

(smow)blog: And what do you see as the role of designeast?

Martin Žampach: To show that we have really good, talented designers working across a range of specializations. Design blogs have a bias towards western designers, but there is a lot to be discovered in Eastern Europe. We want to show that.

(smow)blog: You’re a designer yourself, is there a big enough market for designers in the countries of Eastern Europe?

Martin Žampach: The Czech Republic market, for example, is very small, and so I look also for projects outside of country, for example I recently worked with a company in India on a glass collection. I also do products for own collection and most of my glass pieces are made by our small family studio Atelier Žampach in the Czech Republic, but then I look to sell them also abroad.

(smow)blog: And do clients or buyers actually come here looking for designers and objects, or do you have to go and find them?

Martin Žampach: Occasionally people do come here to visit local events where they can see new ideas, but in general it is better to go, for example, to Milan or London to show our work and look for clients.

(smow)blog: And in the future – do you want to concentrate more on designeast or on your own design work?

Martin Žampach: I want to keep working on designeast and keep it going because I believe in the project and the designers in eastern and central Europe deserve more publicity. But I also need to concentrate more on my design career. I don’t know how it will develop, but ideally we can raise more revenue and employ some people on designeast so that I can concentrate more on designing.

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