Žan Kobal —
design, writting and recearch


selected work





     chair 001

selected writing     
    On Memory and Materiality
     Design, Designs
    The Difficult Heritage Of A Broken Past



Metaphorical Histories





While things are just things, they are also vessels for the meaning people project onto them. In doing so, they take on human characteristics, like the ability to communicate. This phenomenon allows a designer to become a storyteller, using and manipulating objects as narration devices. The objects surpass their status as just man-made items and emphasise how the material and discourse co-create reality.

This fascination was informed by feeling severely homesick, which manifested itself in the work at the start of the year. As the feeling passed this personal urgency turned into a point of interested that was carried through the trimester. The result is a collection of 9 artefacts, each marking a specific transitional ritual related to emotionally powerful moments in life. Emotion is conveyed through shape, colour and texture, revealing the objects as memory prisms that absorb rather than evoke.

When used, these artefacts become tools without any apparent functionality. They act as triggers that bring the user to a point of personal revelation and self-reflection. Their absurd nature reveals a tension between the sincerity of the captured emotion and the performative aspect of their use. When exhibited and de-contextualised they lose all sense of agency, emphasising the gap between art and life.

an object of nostalgia
mirror, metal, velvet, tassels

an object of sentiment
PMMA, feathers, metal, strap

ceramic, silicone, metal

3-D printed plastic, transluscent plastic