Balša Garčević: I find design inspiration in the boring repetition that has been present in the nautical world for years
Sometimes love is born suddenly and defines us for lifetime. The summer that Balša Garčević, renowned and successful graphic designer from Belgrade, spent on the deck listening to the rhythm of the waves hitting against the hull of a sailing boat changed him forever. It was a reminder that freedom is a matter of choice, and that there are no bonds that bind and hinder us besides those we create and set ourselves. So he decided to do what he knows best with this particular excitement that sailing and boats have awakened in him – to turn it into creation, a unique design unlimited by standards and norms, but driven solely by pure enthusiasm. Today, his collection of works contains a series of impressive, larger and smaller watercraft that are just waiting for someone to realize and transfer them from paper to the open sea, thus making this dream of a genuine nautical lover come true.
You know a lot about boats first hand since you have been sailing for years. When and how was this love for sailing born?
– Definitely my first interest in boats dates back to my youth, when I spent summers in Bar, where I often visited the Bar marina and admired the sailing boats and boats. I didn’t think much about sailing or boat design at the time, since I’m from another world. But there was an opportunity some 15 years ago when I first spent the summer in the open sea, and I haven’t missed a single season since. The number of miles has grown, and the experience and love of sailing have grown day by day.
Combination of two passions – design and navigation – has spawned your new project that has gained a lot of public attention. How did you come up with the idea of getting into designing a watercraft?
– I am an industrial designer by trade, so it was kind of natural, given my affinities, to be interested in boat design. So, a long time ago I started working with a lady friend who is very successful in this field, but I did not have enough experience or time or knowledge to devote myself in the right way. Since I have been sailing for fourteen years now and spending all my free time at sea near boats, I constantly found myself thinking what I would do and how or what to change… First, I started with an 8.5-meter wooden speedboat design, which would be built in the traditional technique of building boats, of the highest quality types of wood. However, as I was bored with the classic appearance of these vessels, and you will agree that all these boats are more or less the same – mahogany, lacquered wood, nickel-plated ‘old school’ elements, and so on, I decided to focus on a more modern form inspired by current trends only in the traditional building spirit. And the result is more than just positive. The reactions by friends and people from the nautical world were great, all of a sudden everyone started to connect me with various friends from the nautical and shipbuilding world, and even some people who were ready to go into production called me… Of course it is all much more complicated than the drawing on paper, so I left it for the most serious bidder and, of course, someone who is willing to be a partner in project development, production and placement. But we’ll talk about it some other time, the most important thing is that I have started and that I am here, that I have something to say and contribute, so we will see how things will go in the future.
You are a co-owner of DesignBuro and you have years of experience in an industry that is based on creativity. How much did your previous experience and position as an art director help you put your ideas on paper?
DesignBuro is a studio I founded with my longtime friend Uroš Alavantić. The studio mainly deals with branding, visual identity design, and most of all packaging and brand identitiy. Although all of the above have nothing to do with boating, simply designing in any form trains you on a daily basis, so if you are a designer by nature, any new challenge will be easier for you. After all, you get to learn how to develop an initial idea, whether you are a graphic designer or an industrial designer. Performing a project from start to finish without getting stuck somewhere in the middle is very important.
How much have your sea adventures and days spent on board helped you in the creative process?
To be honest, it is only in the last few years, as I got to know different types of boats better, that I started thinking about the shortcomings of today’s yacht manufacturers. While on the water, I tend to relax and enjoy sailing. However, every time something directly related to a flaw of a ship draws my attention, it makes me think about why it was so poorly done, as well as how I might have done it better in some way, etc. Then the bulb lights up and I unconsciously start designing.
Innovative type of design of your vessels is more than obvious. What drives you and what inspires you?
I actually find my inspiration in the annoying repetition that has been present in the nautical world for years. Everyone has somehow entered the same mode, so they copy each other and in no way try to make a step into something new. There’s plenty of room for innovation and more beautiful design, whether it’s small boats or slightly larger yachts. But we need to understand some things – when a certain trick brings good results and people respond positively to it, it is natural that others will want ‘a piece of the same cake’. It is an expensive sport, so it is very difficult to decide whether to go for innovation or for a trend. In any case, for now, I have the freedom, so I can relax without any restrictions and do some creation and exploration. We will see what happens at the moment of realistic demands of the manufacturer.
What are the impressions and reactions of nautical enthusiasts to your work? Did you make any cooperation that led to the realization of your projects?
For now, I am concentrating on my concepts and carefully considering who I would work with, since I run my own company and I would not get into any kind of collaboration, because it is about boats. I have to be very smart about it. And the reactions? The reactions are more than satisfactory. A large number of people have confirmed to me that my projects are causing a positive response, which will hopefully be reflected in some of the projects I am starting soon. I’m waiting for some replies after the summer season, some I’m still considering, but I’m sure something interesting will happen soon.
Do you think there is room in the market for new and non-established nautical designers?
Of course, but only if manufacturers from the region stop doing the same thing all over again, and start collaborating more with designers- the way they do with engineers, which is where a lot of “questionable” design comes from.
What are your plans for the future? Do you plan for design of vessels to become your primary area of interest and work?
I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t. Of course, designing vessels would be something I would absolutely devote myself to in the future, if the opportunities come my way. Being on board a vessel and designing vessels at the same time would really be something we all dream of doing. Who knows, if all the cards are right, maybe next time I see you on presentation of some of my future projects.
Autor: Marija Milošević
Foto: Privatna arhiva