Cultured Magazine

June/July 2015

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"I don't like to pile things, especially things of no use," Serbian born, New York-based designer, artist and photographer Ana Kraš says of her distaste for accumulation. Given her reputation for designing the beautifully functional, her objection to collecting is not particularly surprising, but it is ironic. Kraš made a name for herself as a collectible designer with her sculptural Bonbon pendant and table lamps which she covers in colorful, graphic spools of thread that resemble the stout silhouette of wax paper-twirled taffy. In May during The International Contemporary Furniture Fair (ICFF), she solidified her high design bona fides with her much anticipated collaboration on a series of tables with Matter. Slon, or elephant in Serbian, is a collection of dining, side and coffee tables inspired by drum shells and is offered in a wide range of color palettes, rounding out a delightfully schizophrenic series that can be either graphic and bold, or muted and monochromatic. "The goal was to create sculptural, simple tables with endless possibilities that can be combined into various clusters. They can look classic or pop, gentle or strong," Kraš says of the highly adaptable tables, which fuse monolithic column-like bases with rectangular or round tops, playing with paradigm forms. "I have a thing for tables," she admits, "I like how a table has no extras, and the archetype shape is symmetrical and strong." Kraš, who was raised in Belgrade (and to where she returns often), lives on the Lower East Side, and draws much of her creativity from the city's propensity to surprise and the visual melee it offers. "It supports a very spontaneous daily life," she says. Sources of inspiration for the designer are found in the quotidian, like the "Chinatown ladies" dressed in layers of color and texture, or the arbitrary arrangement of items on a table. Everything useful presents itself to Kraš as a possibility to aesthetically please—"a plate, a broom, a water pitcher." This is evident, too, in much of her still-life artwork, which often features the banal and beautifully simple, alike, rendered in oil pastels. An elegant, classical bowl of fruit stands regally next to the unmistakable form of a Clorox bottle, for example. "I try to treat each thing I need as an opportunity to have a beautiful object around," she says of her binding ethos, which is clearly reflected in her creative process as a designer and in what she chooses to surround herself with. Kraš believes this carefully thought out, functional necessity is at the heart of her work's appeal, "I think what resonates with people is the fact that you can sense a human touch; you can feel the time and effort that it took to be created." 96 CULTURED The multihyphenate Ana Kraš presents her debut collection of tables for Matter. BY MIEKE TEN HAVE PORTRAIT BY TIM BARBER INTELLIGENT MINIMALISM

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