Design & Decoration S03 ep5 : Dejana Kabiljo, Kabiljo Design, [Vienna]

Interview with Dejana

The multidisciplinary artist and designer Dejana Kabiljo currently lives and works in Vienna. After graduating in architecture at the University of Belgrade and receiving a Master Degree in design from the Domus Academy in Milan, she took up the post of Art Director at the Vienna Museum of Technology. Two years later, she started her own professional practice for design and architecture and was lecturer at the University of applied Arts in Vienna. She launched her own design brand Kabiljo Inc and had the chance to showcase her first collection in exhibitions at the MAK in Vienna. Kabiljo had personal exhibitions all over the world, amongst others in Tokyo, London, Milan, Vienna, of which, the humorous PRETTYPRETTY collection, which consists of hairy bar stools, poufs and chairs, was perticularly successful..


I grew up in Split Croatia, it was Yugoslavia then, I studied in Belgrade, I graduated in
architecture, then I did my post graduate studies in Milan, Domos Academy, then it was Vienna
and there was a stop in Tokyo in between.

Learning architecture in Yugoslavia was a very academic education on the level of ideas it was a
very interesting time then, culturally it was bursting with talent, with intellect, emotion and when I
came to Italy I was maybe the most conservative.

Coming from Yugoslavia it was like a garden, this Pandora’s Box of richness, of colour, of ideas,
of smells and in Italy having the luck to meet the biggest minds in design like Andrea Bransi, like
Stefano Giovanoni, many more, the old Italian school.

I learned that there are so many the ideas and that they are very few are good and worth pursuing
and that you really have to choose carefully and for me one is enough.

Henry Dunay Jewellery

I came to Vienna to marry my husband. I worked as an art director of a big museum which was
again a very academic thing. In my free time I did an upholstery apprenticeship in order to pursue
my own collections, my own design.

Vienna is a very strong place for every kind of manufacturing for craftsmanship there is a very
developed industry. What is important is that everything gets done really perfectly.

This life started in 2001 with the new century. I gave myself this immense freedom to dedicate my
time to create a future paradise for people with bad habits, fetishes, compulsive actions. When you
dedicate yourself to the very particular then it’s much closer to the universal. People with bad
habits and fetishes, they might be different but everyone has them.

It started with watching all the time energy and money that goes into making ourselves beautiful.
What shall we do with all this useless beauty? It’s much, much overpriced so I made beautiful
heads to sit on, dedicated to the female beauty to all the pressure of being pretty all the time and
lovely and fun.

Henry Dunay Jewellery

I developed this project more on an emotional level. It is more like seeing images in my head.

No matter what happens, I give my projects a lot of time to develop and I listen to the material
because the material research is very important to what I do, I try to follow the material but still it
always remains true to my first image.

I remember when the project was first done and the first photographs were ready with the blonde
haired scene from above and I send out the invites to the London Exhibition. I was really thinking
my God this is a bomb, I’m sending a bomb via internet and it did explode pretty much.

This is horse hair. Horse hair was used in the traditional upholstery since forever so I just make it

The idea also behind this is to give our clients the possibility to invite a stylist when the guests
come over, maybe change the hairstyle so yes but it’s the advantage.

The pretty, pretty the barstool was used in the hotel SLS in Beverly Hills, chosen by Philip Stark so
it has its life.

Henry Dunay Jewellery

Everything that I do, they are limited editions which are perfectly functional, they’re just
experimental on the level of … they are objects that can be used in everyday life, they are just a
little bit more fun.

We come with a collection once a year but it takes longer to develop, it takes me two years to
develop each one. There is a search for that one idea why is this one and not the other one, then
there is the normal engineering, developing side and then there is the material research, prototypes,
prototypes, prototypes.

Two years ago it was when I have heard from like the big opinion makers of our day, that the next
topic is the outdoor furniture but what I do here is very different. It is very personal, it is based on
observing people, they just come themselves the ideas of design the areas, it’s not a marketing
strategy of any kind.

Henry Dunay Jewellery

I noticed what was not there before I designed a bed called Bonnie Clyde where you engrave your
hearts and write down names. I wanted the bed to greet me when I walk into the room to say hello
to make me smile. I actually am positive that marketing strategies and filling niches and that
language it doesn’t really work.

It’s the challenge of seeing the things displaced a little bit the image that is moved from the
normal context and put into another one, the change of dimensions, the change of scene, the

OFFICIAL WEBSITE: Dejana Kabiljo, Kabiljo Design, Vienna