CABINETS OF WISDOM

Cabinets of Wisdom is an experimental exhibition by Finlandia Vodka which provokes the visitors to experience an unfamiliar side of well-known Bulgarian wisdoms. We, from Studio Komplekt, are partnering once again with Finlandia vodka’s agency and Bulgarian agency of the year NEXT DC to create a phenomenal and less ordinary pop-up museum.

As curators, we had the challenge to consolidate the exhibition under a single concept and select Finnish designers to interpret traditional Bulgarian proverbs. Inspired by the widely popular during the 15th century Cabinets of Curiosity, we invited Bulgarian stylist and set designer Eva Ventova to build six specific cabinets to accommodate the artistic interpretations of the invited Finnish designers. The result is an adventurous and enigmatic visual story which walks the visitors through an interdisciplinary and unusual path taken by the talented artists.

The exhibition is open daily between 5 pm – 10 pm until 27 November on 21 Shishman Str.

SOFT WARMTH

Upon the recommendation of a friend we reach the Instagram profile of Perelic Blankets. The first impression is of a product that is distinctly different from the ubiquitously offered blankets around. Immediate references to the highest peak in the Rhodope mountains and the most popular and something of a national pride blanket are rather distant and blurred.

The famous heavy and pricking Rhodope blanket with a pattern of large squares and strips in red, green and orange here is refined by lightweight use of wool with elegant and contemporary design patterns and free of unnecessary noise and vanity approach in the visual presentation. We were curiously looking to learn more about the brand and its delicate, but also respectful to the traditional archetype interpretation of the woollen blanket.

Denitsa Popova is the founder and propellor of the brand Perelic Blankets. Only one weekend in Berlin in 2006 was enough to convince her to settle in the city. “I felt it to be the right place for me: internationally open, inspiring and with no social tension.” At the time Denitsa was engaged as an accountant in a company for film productions. Gradually she began to help her boyfriend in his company for online trading. This largely provoked her to think about establishing her own business. Perelic Blankets was founded in 2012, but the birth of her son slowed down significantly the workflow. In recent months Denitsa has taken over the brand with new strength and enthusiasm.

The Beginning

“I wanted to go into weaving carpets, perhaps because my grandmother is from Kotel, where unfortunately the craft is fading. After a while I figured it was pretty hard to deal with carpets and decided to leave it for future times. Then easily and logically the concept of the blankets crystallised, mostly because the work was with wool. I launched the business by trading woolen blankets. I bought ready ones by companies I found on the internet. This helped me gain quick knowledge of the craft. It took me over a year before I began picking colours, and then define patterns and models. The name “Perelik” is linked to the famous Rhodope blanket unsurpassed in design and durability. I also liked the sound of it. “

DAILY RELIGIOUS OBJECTS

The specific style of jewellery designer Neva Balnikova could hardly go unnoticed. Her accessory pieces are easily recognisable and make a striking impression with their unconventional design, the curious combination of materials and the ability to give new life and character to everyday objects. Albeit the demand for constantly reinventing and finding new work methods in her work, the self-taught designer stays true to her established characteristic style – rough and raw shapes and materials combined in precisely selected colour combinations.

In Bulgaria Neva Balnikova is already famous among young jewellers and one of the favourite authors of bold wearable accessories. The next logical step for her is to release her creations on new markets.

We meet Neva while in busy preparation for her first solo exhibition abroad. After several years of selling Balnikova’s jewellery, Gallery Fritz in Berlin now is hosting her first show in Germany. The beginning of this cooperation goes back to a few years ago when the Bulgarian designer walks around various Berlin galleries in search of inspiration. “I was very surprised to stumble upon Fritz gallery which was unlike any other I’ve seen up to that moment. Unlike the typical German style of display of jewellery under old-fashioned glass lids and windows, the gallery offered an unusual and contemporary approach,” she remembers. Gallery Fritz proved different and also very open to young artists like Neva.

 

The full version of the article can be read in our column for Capital LIGHT in print and on-line.