In 2008, at the dawn of the global economic crisis, Nenad Trifunović and Lazar Bodroža founded Metaklinika, an independent design studio in Belgrade, Serbia. Today, Metaklinika is a team of seven creatives who work on diverse projects online and offline but state that “printing and paper represent the ultimate medium for us”. Elle magazine featured the thriving studio in their May issue “Who’s Designing Serbia”. Between one project and another the busy designers took a short break and talked with us about their work and inspiration, the design scene in Serbia and unusual dream clients. Plus they revealed some of their favorite places in Belgrade.
Can you briefly describe Metaklinika?
Metaklinika is an independent design studio from Belgrade, established in 2008, active in the fields of creative services, initiatives and production.
The studio was founded at the very beginning of the global economic crisis and as such it specialized in working under unusual production circumstances. The studio cultivates a recognizable visual language and approach which exceeds the established communication characteristics of marketing agencies.
The founders of the studio are Nenad Trifunović and Lazar Bodroža. Today, Metaklinika has seven permanently dedicated creative people within their ranks, as well as a wide network of collaborators throughout the region.
The team at the Metaklinika studio
Metaklinika? Does it have any special meaning?
Metaklinika is an invented word coined from the words Meta and clinic, leading to the conclusion that we represent a sort of clinic which deals with healing on a Meta level, the level of the aesthetic. We insist on preventive checkups and we develop awareness concerning our clients’ autosuggestion.
Many of your projects – branding, graphic design, illustration, book design – have to do with paper. What do you like about paper? And what do you think is the special power of paper?
Printing and paper represent the ultimate medium for us, perhaps even the only medium with essential legitimacy in the sea of visual content. Working in print is important to us for two reasons: First of all, concerning the work process itself – when you send something to print, you are certain that you have finished it. The second reason is the possibility to materialize our ideas in a very concrete form, which, above all, calms us in the sea of electronic contents that we produce.
SWEDEN@MIXER campaign for the Embassy of Sweden in Serbia presented at Mixer Festival in Belgrade
What is important when creating a corporate identity?
To communicate with the people who are the decision makers. It is necessary that the owner of the company, the brand manager… have confidence in you as a professional. Having enough time and a good budget comes as additional motivation.
For which brand would you like to work and why?
Nike, the Roman Catholic Church, NASA, NATO, the Government of North Korea. Because of the power and the prestige.
Book design “Till the end”
You are involved in many projects in the fields of arts, for instance exhibition and catalogue design. What is the difference between working for a company/brand and working for an artist/a museum?
Our approach in all the areas is pretty much the same; the only difference is the financial value of the work and the number of people who make decisions concerning the work we do.
Exhibition and catalogue design “Who is Reihl-Kir to you?”
Book design “Danilo Kiš (1935-2005) Between Poetics and Politics”
We heard you just launched a design poster collection printed on Munken. Can you tell us more about it? And where can we get the posters?
Side Effects is a carefully created art graphics collection and an online shop for art lovers. Our idea was to present and distribute high-quality printed art graphics made by our friends and colleagues. The collection shall be launched on the 1st September and the graphics will be available for purchase via the online shop http://sideeffectsprint.com. Most of these graphics are printed on various types of Munken paper. We are fans of the Munken paper because it is unpretentious and has a favourable quality/price ratio.
Art graphics collection “Side Effects”
You have been featured in the May issue of ELLE magazine, which talked about WHO’S DESIGNING SERBIA. How would you describe the Serbian design scene? What are its centers? And who is designing Serbia next to Metaklinika?
The design scene in Serbia is in inverse proportion to its market, the scene is emancipated, in line with global trends and very open for exploration and experimentation. The scene is essentially centred in Belgrade, and to an extent in Novi Sad. The only referent source of information concerning the design scene in Serbia is the designed.rs web portal, which was founded by our colleague Slobodan Jovanović together with Ivana Srdanović in an effort to contextualize the local design scene in form of a web portal and they have been doing it successfully for the last four years.
Book design ”Nikita Mikhalkov: Law and Truth”
What or who inspires you? Do you have any design heroes?
Kazimir Malevich, Goebbels, Rodchenko and Rothko, David Bowie and the everyday life.
You are based in Belgrad. Can you recommend some of your favorite places in the city?
2.0 Dijagonala (Skerlićeva 6) – beautiful restaurant, wonderful food, an oddly handsome restaurant owner (a middle-aged man)
Pržionica (Dobračina 59b) – excellent coffee
The Bar Bivši (Kosovska 32) – the decadent and the bizarre
Centrala cafe (the corner of Zmaj Jovina and Simina streets) – an interesting crossroads, in Dorćol
The 20/44 raft (almost across the street from the Museum of Contemporary Art) – the people gather there after 3 a.m.
The Bigz building ( Bulevar Vojvode Mišića 17) – once the largest printing house in former Yugoslavia, now the meeting place for alternative musicians; great view, heavy sound!
Thank you very much for the interview (we will soon have to visit Belgrade)!
Curious to see more of Metaklinika’s work? Visit their webpage www.metaklinika.com and their Behance profile.
Photo courtesy of Metaklinika