Nikola Knežević is one of our leading industrial designers, which is testified by the fact that Deyan Sudjic, director of the Design Museum, London, accepted the invitation of Museum of Applied Art to contribute a text for the catalogue of Knežević's exhibition, and to aggrandize the opening of the exhibition with his authority.
The exhibition features 61 works and is comprised of: conceptual works, prototypes, models and realized products (save for automobiles). In his works, Nikola Knežević traces technological progress, invents new materials, tracks human habits and detects new needs. His work consists of future prospects, of breaking up with routine and of combining elements, either aesthetic or functional, which are sometimes hard to imagine together.
Nikola Knežević incessantly re-examines and asserts the ideas that are leading him, often using very simple examples, such as glasses, chairs, ceramic objects, lamps... even audio amplifiers. KTA300 and KVP30 series on one hand, and Orion amplifier on the other, represent two poles, two extremes in the approach to creation of forms. The first approach is minimalist, the result of the wish to bring out the very essence of function, and it breaths with pleasant simplicity, while the second product is tense, sturdy and daring. These two approaches represent extreme points of one relatively limited scope of ideas defined by materials and applied technologies. The idea of imposed form is perhaps most visible in the lamp titled Cold Laura in which all the simply refined prefabricated elements clearly state that there are no other solutions.
“Man's strivings and wishes, which are imposed by the collective consciousness, are often unfathomable and unattainable for all of us, and the unrestrained urge for “better” life causes the feeling of discomfort, discontent and pain. It is possible that exactly this feeling is the very source of my creativity. But, one more thing has the unbelievable power to move me. The feeling of satisfaction and content when I create something good is priceless. Why not, then, sculpture or painting? Maybe exactly because I search for an additional, practical sense, purpose, reason in everything regardless of how down to earth a thing may be. FUNCTION is one thing I find a sense in, and the quest for intelligent solutions became an amusing process. Industrial design has become the artistic frame that gives me the unlimited space to express myself.” Ths is one of the statements of Nikola Knežević in the catalogue of the exhibition and it could serve as his creative credo.
Design is creative act in which all creative potentials are directed toward finding out the specific needs and ways to satisfy them. In order to solve a problem, a designer must be conscious of, and well introduced to, multifunctional aspects with which he or she is wrestling with. Although industrial design rests on and depends on industry and technology, it is increasingly becoming the field for artistic activities and expression, as well as the stage for experimenting with different concepts and ideas.
Will this exhibition of the works done by Nikola Knežević give answers to questions “what is beautiful”, or “what is innovative”, or “what is functional”… The consumer society we live in made all these concepts relative and absolutely put aside what is natural and aboriginal in us. This exhibition serves witness to the fact that natural and aboriginal are inspiration as much as goal for Nikola Knežević.