By Laura Goldstein
Many entrepreneurial partnerships seem to begin serendipitously. Fadil Ćostović, a craftsman with a well-established family wood production business for over 60 years in Tešanj, Bosnia was constructing furniture and all the wood interiors for a summer house owned by Dražen Poznanović.
“Dražen was so happy with the design and quality of Fadil’s workmanship that the two decided to collaborate and formed ARTISAN in 2007,” relates the company’s vivacious sales manager, Armin Huremović from their workshop and factory/showroom known as Ćostović.
A curated selection of ARTISAN furniture will be showcased in the SwitzerCultCreative Booth #603 at the upcoming Interior Design Show, IDS-Vancouver, September 26th-29th at the Vancouver Convention Centre and the SwitzerCultCreative showroom, 1725 West 3rd Avenue.
In 2009 the ARTECO Wood Technology Centre was formed by ARTISAN to establish a new movement within the Bosnia-Herzegovina wood industry. Not content to solely rely on raw wood exports, their mandate was to develop the company’s expertise and infrastructure all in one place: from harvesting wood, cutting in their own sawmill, processing, design to final craftmanship and sales of the furniture. With zero waste, ARTISAN even recycles sawdust into pellets used for heating the workshop.
“We began small but strategically by collaborating with a very select group of well -established international designers like German product designer, Michael Schneider and Germany was our very first foreign market,” Huremović explains. The WU Chair by Italians Fabio Damiani + Marco Quistini of Studio Pang for ARTISAN exemplifies a smooth wide joint detail in the seat while Canadian, (New York -based) product and furniture designer, Karim Rashid’s funky Cart Coffee Table is composed of two slim stems of solid elm with room for magazine storage between the two.
ARTISAN has been instrumental in developing and promoting Bosnian makers like award-winning The Regular Company: Their ergonomic Neva Chair and Neva Lounge Chair Trimmed available in solid oak, walnut, elm, maple, cherry, pear wood, has a tilted and arched back that flows into the armrests creating one continuous line.
Like their name implies, The BLOOP Coffee Tables have a sense of humour all their own. Designed by Croations, Rudjer Novak-Mikulic and Marija Ruzic the low, solid wood oval tables have a balanced, but off-centre pedestal.
“It’s also very interesting for us to learn different country’s preferences in wood furniture styles,” Huremović explains. In Germany, for example, 90% of our chairs are upholstered in leather for clients while in France, clients prefer fabric upholstery.” ARTISAN has recently partnered with Danish textile company, Kvadrat the international purveyor of extraordinary fabrics for four collections of furniture.
“It’s extremely important to ARTISAN to discover and develop new relationships with designers early in their careers. For example,” says Huremović, “we saw emerging residential furniture designer, Fahmida Lam at ICFF in New York. We made the prototype for her Thor Daybed and now produce it in our workshop.”
“You know a healthy environment is not just about external things,” says Huremović. ARTISAN believes that furniture in our homes needs to start with natural materials too.”