Designer as Strategic Partner

author  Saša J. Mächtig
interviewed by Robert Ilovar, Jelena Kauzlari, Tomato Košir, Miha Kun, Vasja Urh, Luka Stepan, Tadej Glažar


Interviewed in Ljubljana July 2005


The creative energy and values expressed in the works of Professor Saša J. Mächtig support excellence in designer practice and the education of the younger generations of designers, who have become increasingly successful in Slovenia and abroad. Alongside his active participation in international design trade organizations, and his sensitivity to the current age, he can still surprise us with the freshness of approach manifested in his latest works, such as the successor to the k67 kiosk. We believe that this, k21, is on the right way to being produced and to making renewed international waves.


ORIS: Professor Mächtig, when did you become aware of the existence of design, its importance, role and dimension?


Mächtig: For a long time actively and always inventively!1 As far back as 45 years ago, when I became a student of architecture.2 I see my position in the conceptual and practical heritage of what my teacher Edo Ravnikar planned with the B study group and with design in general in the ’50s and ’60s. 


My work, my achievements and my example were answers to questions related to an active role in the profession. My first participation in an ICSID congress of industrial design was in London in 1969 – the site of my first successes as a professional designer – and then New York3 in 1970. A crucial thing for the understanding of my industrial design development is my visit to the USA in January and February 1971, especially to the GM4 Technical Center in Detroit. From 1975 to 1984 I worked on the initiative and preparations for the university study of design and later on its realization. After 2001 I brought the curriculum up to date. Of course, this refers to content, not to form, as some would have it! Here are some of the crucial points in my career: in Paris in 1977, there was the first international working group for professional practice; in 1977-81, I was a member of the working group5 for ICSID development strategy, confirmed by the assembly in Helsinki as the development plan. I spent seven years organizing the 17th world congress of ICSID in Ljubljana in 19926 and in London in 1997. I included the Design Section of the Ljubljana Academy of Visual Arts in the CUMULUS network. In October 1999 I managed the organization of the CUMULUS international conference in Ljub­lja­na with the topic of the university/industry strategic partnerships. The conference, which was opened by the university president and two ministers, included the best domestic and foreign speakers from Finland, the United King­dom, the USA, Switzerland, Germany and India.