Interviewed in Zagreb on 4 February 2015 during the public discussion d-razgovor at the Croatian Designers Association (hdd)
Bogdan Budimirov entered the practice as early as in the late 1940s and participated in the design of the Studentski grad in Zagreb where he, as a pioneer, experimented with prefabrication. Although his ideas of that time remained unrealized, Bogdan Budimirov has devoted his entire working life to integrative approach to architecture and design, in which all the parameters of a project, from design and organization of space to methods of production and construction, are equally important. Budimirov is quite a specific character: curious, bold, sociable, persistent, exact... These qualities led him naturally to the position of the principal person in charge of large actions of modernization in the 1960s and 1970s in both the socialist Yugoslavia and the capitalist Federal Republic of Germany. He tried his hand in a number of typologies and scales, but his affinities towards a systemic approach were manifested particularly in organizationally complex projects such as prefabricated apartment buildings YU-60 and YU-61, or the Fair in Nuremberg. Since the 1980s he devoted himself to product design, and then worked as a consultant for special structures. Budimirov is still active today, and is completing his family house on Perjavica near Zagreb.
ORIS — If we analyse your work in the field of architecture and design, two topics appear that connect your interests and define your approach in design. One is the interest in the system and systematic reflection, and the other is the importance of materiality. You have said that you grew up under two tables; the carpenter’s and the cartwright’s.
Bogdan Budimirov — I grew up between the two tables: the cartwright’s and the carpenter’s. Cartwrights work with solid wood and carpenters process veneers, sheets, etc. The difference is huge. You develop the feeling for the material. In my family, which is very big, children were never given toys, but money instead. There was a price list, with the information on who gets how much and when money was to be received or given. We used to have organised visits in the family, depending on the amount of money we needed and afterwards we did what we wanted with the money. We did not buy toys, but made them with our hands; it was cheaper. The point of all this was to keep the family together – to visit each other. I would have no other reason to visit my aunt, so to say. I made all sorts of things. It was the time of war so we made tanks, motor wheels, bridges…