While the world buzzes with news and excitement about the 16th International Architecture Exhibition, we turn to another Venice based biennale called DESIGN.VE. Wittingly the relatively new format (this is its second edition) runs along the world renowned la BIENNALE ARCHITETTURA for a month and profits from the abundant interest and curiosity towards Venice and what its cultural life offers at that period.

The reason we are focusing on DESIGN.VE is the participation of Konstantin Achkov and his brand Lock Furniture at the main exhibition called DESIGN AFTER DARWIN. ADAPTED TO ADAPTABILITY curated by Luca Berta, Francesca Giubilei and Alice Stori Liechtenstein and displayed until June 17th at the magnificent PALAZZO MOROSINI. Achkov has been now invited for both editions of DESIGN.VE and this year’s brochure boosts a product of his on the cover – the lamp Lese.

DESIGN.VE is a biennial design festival and a new format devoted to boldly mixing design themes and providing a wider look at the design world. It is centered around a thematic group show presented alongside a series of collateral exhibitions located across the city: historic buildings, hidden cloisters, design boutiques, private galleries and intriguing places. It is open to emerging independent designers and established brands alike, as well as museums, universities and galleries.

Tell us more about your participation at DESIGN.VE

To be honest, I’m still not sure how the organizers turned to me on the first place back in 2016. I suppose that the prize I got from A Awards for Electron chair has something to do with it. This second edition of the design biennale bears the ambitious idea of ​​the organizers to link la BIENNALE ARCHITETTURA with DESIGN.VE as a logical extension and discussing similar themes. Both events were opened with a one day difference and strive to attract the same audience from architects, designers, journalists, enthusiasts, and tourists. The selected biennial format not only shows the value of the event but makes it much more meaningful as a focus and impact. The fast-paced cycles of non-stop participations at design events and displaying new objects somehow bring down the values ​​of the works. That’s what Tom Dixon, who tended to be always present in Milan, showed in 2018 by skipping Milan Design Week. For these reasons, and due to the fact that DESIGN.VE is one month long, in different locations of Venice, I think it stands for quite a different design event that deserves attention.

Describe the project you participate with:

I participate with a new furniture family called Corner. In addition, I show a new jigsaw puzzle that I’ve applied to the pieces in Corner. This furniture family is quite a turning point for me and a first step towards a more rational minimalism and a more pure sculptural shaping. The leading motif in the Corner family represents a logical and sequential assembly on a vertical line at a right angle with a horizontal stabilising element. That’s where the name comes from. The furniture is again at its heart based on the puzzle logic – something I have been building on for years. In this case, it was a challenge for me to preserve this particular clutter and put it in minimalist form without any unnecessary elements. Besides, right from the very beginning, I was determined to execute the project with a technical stone element in it. This new fit that I have inserted also allows for the collapsing of individual elements from different materials. My most cherished aspect of the work process is that I’ve managed to bring a number of innovations into some detailed shapes that are extremely easy and fast to assemble! I brought the new assembly as the leading decorative element.

What are your expectations for this second edition as compared to the first one?

Back in 2016 I was invited to take part with almost all of my items which were displayed as part of a group show called “Wood obsession”. When we were able to visit the exhibition after its official opening, I was surprised to see that my works were placed in the middle of the palace halls as an accent of the exhibition! Seeing a composition of three Electron chairs next to Ron Arad’s chair for Moroso is quite exciting.

This year the participants are much more in number and again we see super stars like Estudio Campana, Martino Gamper, Alberto Meda, Luca Nichetto, but also two other Bulgarian participations – Marina Dragomirova with Studio Furthermore and Georgi Manassiev with Odd Matter, which I am quite proud of. Hopefully, I’d be able to go to the opening, see the many events and take historical strolls around Venice, and make good business contacts. I also hope that my designs will be welcomed and embedded organically in this stellar company!

<all pictures are personal archive of the designer>

–> DESIGN.VE runs until June 17, 2018.


At the end of March, we launched a series of curated meetings MELBA LIVE at which we get acquainted with up-to-date and remarkable projects realised by local design heroes. The invited guests share experience as the main focus is the ideas, details and processes behind each task. Like the online MELBA archive, here we rely on the quality and deliberate blending of design spheres as well.

In this first edition we had the honor to welcome the latest professional endeavours by Sklada and N8, Venelin Shurelov and NEXT-DC.

Galia Zannato / Sklada and N8 told the story of the Ping-Pong production – a propitious collaboration between the showroom for high end design brands and Bulgarian visual creatives. In this game of ping-pong between them as producers and the designers as creators of new objects, each one has an important role in the exchange of ideas, their processing and the final realization, which manages to appear in all its wonderful glory – labeled and branded on the shelves of 8 Shishman Street. Galya also mentioned the humanity as an important trait of design – as the discipline which takes care of our everyday enjoyment of life through the use of well-designed objects, clothes, devices and environments.

Venelin Shurelov talked about his interactive installation Abecedarium Bulgaricum – placed in the buildings of the Council of Europe in Brussels on the occasion of the Bulgarian EU Presidency The name of the project is a direct reference to the Bulgarian alphabet and its idea is for the visitors to get acquainted with the rareness of the Cyrillic alphabet in the form of a game. Venelin presented in more detail the motives for his decisions in the presentation of the installation and the collaboration with other designers, such as the DontDIY architectural studio, whose furniture is actively involved in final stylish presentation.

Pocket Science is a campaign by VISA with a concept and realization by our MELBA partners – NEXT-DC. Extremely meaningful and adequately engaging teenagers, the campaign aims to get them to learn more about money management by providing them with attractive incentives – cool clothes and accessories. And as the presentation showed – the amount of t-shirts, sweaters, hats and other was immediately exhausted.  But the strongest proof of the success of the initiative is the result of the interactions with the students, which through the completed petitions succeeded in bringing the financial literacy as a main course in the curriculum of the secondary schools throughout Bulgaria – currently the class “Our Money” is a fact in 50 schools in over 30 Bulgarian cities.

We are preparing MELBA LIVE #2 for the 31st of May / Thursday after 7 pm at Generator with a free entrance. Expect more news soon.