“This neighbourhood needs more initiatives that really correspond to the public. There should be a turn from the private towards the public, the ‘creatives’ must communicate with the ‘locals’. The whole community needs to be open.”
Fiktiv, located in the north part of Bauerova street, in one of the doorways of “Little Vatican”, is a distinctive and unusual design studio. More precisely, this is its official definition: “Fiktiv is a creative studio specialized for visual communications design, online and offline “, but its founders like to refer to it as a “playground where the boundary between work and hobby is drawn by a quick move in the air”. Initiated in 2002, Fiktiv was previously located at Mlinovi, on the outskirts in the north of Zagreb, so the relatively recent relocation to the city centre must have been a big change for the partners Andrej Filetin, Marko Vuković, Mila Marina Burger and their team. However, Fiktiv members were not stepping into the unknown — they already felt at home in the neighbourhood as they had been collaborating intensively with the architects Penezić and Rogina, whose office was practically next to theirs. Thanks to one of their collaborations, the designing of the popular Blok bar, the corner between Tomašićeva and Lopašićeva street was thorougly transformed, gaining new life. So the members of Fiktiv studio took part in the transformation of “Martićeva zone” even before they moved there.
The whole work of Fiktiv studio is characterized by playfulness, vividness and careful shaping of every design detail, while retaining an awareness of structure and feeling for the wholeness of projects — indeed, different standards are continuously intertwined in a single project. Fiktiv studio has always been distinct — not only due to the bright yellow colour which constitutes its visual DNA. The studio has been collaborating with foreign clients for a long time. In the past year they have designed several websites for American clients (Black Diamond Ventures, The Iron Horse Grill, We’ve Built) and developed a visual identity for British clients (Quantum Investing). They are currently working on two big UX/UI projects for German and Chinese markets. Intrigued by all that, we visited Mila, Marko and Andrej in their spacious studio in order to learn everything about the way they view the neighbourhood around them and themselves within it, and of course, to gain some information about their current and future plans.
Andrej: Our arrival in this neighbourhood was somewhat accidental. We had worked with Penezić and Rogina a lot, and so it happened that we found our workspace in the apartment right above theirs, but we were specifically looking for a space in this part of the city. We found it interesting because of the architecture, as well as the things we did here before. As soon as we stepped in our future studio, we felt great, the vibe was good and we got accustomed to it very quickly.
Mila: In my opinion, this neighbourhood stands out because of its atmosphere. It feels like being in a big living room, if you will. The neighbourhood was built to human measure, it is not too big or too small. There are green surfaces, and lots of small cafés where you can do… Anything! Read the newspaper, have coffee, make a phone call, meet somebody, read a book. Everything is relaxed, natural, everything is close, there is also some cyclist infrastructure… I think those are the most distinguishing features of this neighbourhood. And that is a new phenomenon, which evolved in the past few years. It didn’t use to be like that.
— Of course, the members of Fiktiv have thought about projects that would deal with the neighbourhood itself, for now only on the brainstorming level , but they do not lack ideas for improving the neighbourhood’s infrastructure.
Mila: Many existing spaces are still closed and empty. The situation is probably similar in other parts of the city, but here, were we already have a vibrant community, revitalization of abandoned spaces is the right thing to do. They should be revived and filled with activities. I would like for this neighbourhood to become a strong reflection of the Croatian creative community, homogeneous at the common interest level, that will not be afraid of lobbying for those interests on the national level. I want this to become a good example of how things can function well, as a reflection of potential being fulfilled. I’m not saying this must be the only example, on the contrary, I would like those kinds of neighbourhoods to develop in all of Croatia, but it would be nice if this was the first of its kind.
Marko: We remember the neighbourhood from a time when it was completely dysfunctional, when there was nothing there except bars. The opening of Booksa was the first big change. It seems that the transformation of the neighbourhood is primarily due to the initiative of proactive, enterprising people, who know what they want to do and they do it with great focus. However, we need more initiatives that really correspond to the public, to the public space, like Booksa.
So, there should be a turn from the private towards the public, the ‘creatives’ must communicate with the ‘locals’, they must feel included and the whole community needs to be open. Something similar happened in Tratinska street at one time, people talked about it a lot, but the spaces there are completely closed inwards and they don’t communicate with the street well. That is not the way it’s supposed to be, and it shouldn’t happen here.