An Overlooked Giant: Iskra, Non-aligned Design 1946-1990

By Barbara Predan.

Published by The Design Collection

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Of the few post-war companies in Slovenia that developed and established the field of industrial design in a deliberate way, the one that stood out most was Iskra. In late 1962, Iskra founded Yugoslavia’s first industrial design department, headed by designer Davorin Savnik, with the bold idea of creating a house style for the company. In the ten years that followed, Iskra was the only Yugoslav manufacturer that viewed design as a strategic element and that had a designer as an adviser to the general director. By the early 1970s, Iskra had become Yugoslavia’s largest company in the fields of electromechanics, telecommunications, electronics, and automation. Its superb achievements in industrial design were seen above all in its telephones, measuring instruments and power tools. Nevertheless, and despite its high quality, which even at the time was recognized and honoured internationally by the profession, Iskra design is to a large degree still not included – still “non-aligned”, we might say – on the map of design.

Keywords: Industrial Design

Design Principles and Practices: An International Journal, Volume 4, Issue 3, pp.1-14. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 998.803KB).

Barbara Predan

Doctoral Candidate, Scientific Research Centre, Slovene Academy of Sciences and Arts, University of Nova Gorica, Ljubljana, Slovenia

Rreceived her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in the theory and development of design from the Department of Design at the Academy of Fine Arts and Design, University of Ljubljana. She is currently writing her doctoral dissertation at the Scientific Research Centre of the Slovene Academy of Sciences and Arts, through the University of Nova Gorica, under the supervision of Professors Jelica Sumic - Riha (SRC SASA) and Jonathan M. Woodham (University of Brighton, U.K.). She is the co-author, with Tanja Bercon, of the book Nazaj k oblikovanju - Antoloski pregled teorije oblikovanja v slovenskem prostoru (Back to Design: An Anthological Survey of Design Theory in Slovenia), published in 2007 by the publishing house Litera and the Pekinpah Association in the book series Nova znamenja (New Signs). In 2005, along with seven other specialists, she co-edited a special section on the role of design in society, for the journal Casopis za kritiko znanosti. Her article Mapping Design Theory in Slovenia appeared in the American theoretical journal Design Issues. In 2008 she created and organized a lecture series on the theory of design called Sustainable Alternatives in Design, supported by the Architecture Museum of Ljubljana and under the aegis of the Pekinpah Association. The lectures were published in book form in the second half of 2009. She is also the co-author, with Cvetka Pozar, of the book and exhibition ISKRA: Non-Aligned Design 1946–1990, organized in 2009 by Architecture Museum of Ljubljana and the Pekinpah Association.


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