Magnets, snowballs, and kitsche sculptures of city landmarks might be what most holiday-makers bring home as a reminder of their dream vacation, but why not step it up a notch? Other than the compulsory bubble-wrapped bottle of prize-winning bottle of olive oil shoved into your suitcase, why not get some cool Croatian design items that’ll not only be awesome to look at and be equally useful as well. Croatian design may not be as reputable as other places but the design scene is certainly emerging and there are a heap of cool things to be found in the bunch; here are 7 cool items that are awesome and still remind you of wonderful Croatia.
1. Croatia à la carte
CARD GAME by Superstudio 29
If you are a foodie and have been getting your tongue in a twist trying to pronounce traditional Croatian dishes during your stay, then this original designer product is for you. Superstudio 29 have come up with a graphically sassy game containing an illustrated cookbook with detailed recipes, and two decks of cards. This is a fun card game where you learn about Croatian gastronomy by gathering the right ingredients for specialties such as pašticada (pa-shtee-cada), Žgvacet, hib and so much more. This game will familiarize you with the intricate world of Croatian gastronomy known as a cuisine where every region has its very own traditions.
You can get the Croatia à la carte game across Croatia in various shops; TakeMeHome in Zagreb, GETGETGET Concept Store in Split, Hotel Lone in Rovinj, and in Algoritam bookshops in many cities in the country.
CERAMIC HOT PADS by Studio VIL*e
This ceramic tile features prints of the traditional lacemaking patterns from the islands of Hvar and Pag, and continental Lepoglava and has charming old quotations writtem on them.
Lacemaking has centuries’ old traditions in Croatia and is even inscribed on the UNESCO List as an Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. Pag is particularly known for the fine handicraft of lacemaking started by Benedictine nuns of the St. Margarita convent and the print on the BašČipka Pag tile is surely inspired by one of original thin-threaded patterns exhibited in the convent. Hvar’s lacemaking traditions also come from Benedictine nuns who used firm thread made from agave leaves. The Lepoglava lace from continental Croatia however, was brought by Pauline monks and features floral, animal, and geometric figures.
It’s design execution perfectly blends Croatian tradition with modern design, suitable for any contemporary home. The BašČipka tiles can be used as hot pads or as wall tiles.
We spotted the BašČipka hot pads in TakeMeHome in Zagreb and GETGETGET Concept Store in Split.
3. Croatia As it is
BAGS & BACKPACKS by Superstudio 29
From the graphic design gurus behind the Croatia à la carte game, Superstudio 29 introduce a simply all-purpose bag with factual slogans about Croatia from a political and geographical perspective. These funky simple bags are made of polypropylene and have two pockets, and a top zipper. It can be used as a shoulder bag but comes with additional straps so it can be worn as a pack back. Croatia being a popular tourism destination, the funny wording on Croatia As It Is bags are original, steering away from the cliché taglines created by tourism authorities. You can choose from slogans like “Between YU and EU” referring to Croatia’s transition from Yugoslavia to its recent EU accession, or “Similar to a Croissant, Different from a Donut” referring to the actual geographic shape of Croatia.
You can get this funky designer souvenir bag from MAKS STUDIO in Zagreb, VINO & INO in Šibenik, CROOTS in Hvar, and GETGETGET Concept Store in Split.
4. GLOOPY Wardrobe Creatures
LAVENDER FRAGRANCE by L.Glavic Koncar & S. Vrtaric
The Mediterranean is blessed with its wild lavender that give its landscape a purple shade and Hvar in particular is famed for its lavender farming traditions so why not cherish your Croatian memories by bringing home a smell? In every farmer’s market and souvenir shop, you’ll find lavender bags galore with destination names printed on its bag but the GLOOPY Wardrobe Creatures have given this popular souvenir some style. The GLOOPY Wardrobe Creatures are cute little cotton toys that are stuffed with eco lavender and have magnets so you can hang them. They are great to shove between your t-shirt piles so they can infuse their soothing Croatian aroma into your clothing, all whilst keeping moths out of the closet.
GETGETGET in Split also have these in their Concept Store.
5. Blond Ambition
Fashion by Najda Bauk
The Croatian fashion scene is also emerging and local celebrities are flocking to stores to wear Croatian. From catwalk combinations to Croatian design sunglasses, Croatian fashion is making a name for itself, and some pieces even hang on the racks of New York high-end stores. The hippest at the moment is the new line by Split designer, Najda Bauk, called Blond Ambition, her signature line of luxury sportswear. Her sporty combos can be worn everyday and you’ll be equally attractive seen wearing it in the gym as you will be in the trendiest eateries.
Blond Ambition can, along with other Croatian designer clothing, be found in the ID Store in Split.
6. Roll & Tie
by Ines Vlahović
It’s been mentioned several times that the recognized fashion accessory of today, the necktie, actually originated from Croatia, dating back to the 1600s. It’s obvious that Croats have some talent in the fabric-tying department and therefore, a new invention; the Roll&Tie is a handy designer item to get. The Roll&Tie is a practical addition on your travels, a fabric concoction that can be folded into many different things; a wrap-round, a changing-chamber for the beach, a bag, a shirt, whatever your heart desires.
7. Woodoir Noir
JEWELRY by Sanja Rotter
The Woodoir Noir wooden jewelry line has been designed by Croatian industrial designer, Sanja Rotter. Her offbeat pieces are made from carefully locally sourced Slavonian oak that are thousands of years old and the jewelry uses the natural characteristics of the wood as its main design inspiration, from brooches, rings, necklaces, and beautifully handcrafted combs. These products don’t have Croatia written all over it, but they are certainly made with love from Croatia from wood with a millennia-old history in the country.
Woodoir Noir jewelry is sold in Iggy, Zagreb and GETGETGET, Split.
So what Croatian design souvenir are you going to get?