Minimalistic Toys | Nika Zupanc

Nika Zupanc graduated with honors from the Academy of Fine Arts and Design in Ljubljana in 2000. Her bachelor’s thesis received the prestigious university Prešeren Award for students for the highest achievement in industrial design in 2001. After graduating, she started working as an independent designer and today she is a regular member of various design projects throughout the world.

In 2004 the British Council selected her as a talented young professional in the Rising Stars of New Europe project, and the next year she was selected as a national finalist in product design for the IYDEY (International Young Designer of the Year) award, organized by the British Council and 100% Design. Between 2005 and 2007 she showed off her range of works everywhere, from 100% Design and Designersblock in London, the Young Talent Show in Hong Kong, the Review Gallery at the Center for Architecture and Design, and the Lighthouse in Glasgow to Milan Satellite and gallery shows.

In April 2008, the MOOOI furniture company presented a family of her Lolita lamps at the SaloneDel Mobile in Milan. In June 2008, her Maid chair was exhibited as part of the exhibition Backstage: A Sideview on the MOROSO Design Collection at Gallery 113, curated by Patrizia Moroso. In April 2009, Zupanc presented a range of objects from her own collection at Superstudio Piu; her exhibition was titled I Will Buy Flowers Myself. The exhibition was seen as one of the biggest hits of Milan Design Week. In addition, MOROSO introduced her Tailored chair. In April 2010, she presented a new exhibition of her work at the Temporary Museum of New Design at Superstudio Piu. 5 O’Clock table and 5 o’clock chair, designed by Zupanc, were introduced as a part of the MOOOI collection.

In march 2011 Zupanc opened her first showroom in Milan at SPAZIO PONTACCIO. During Milan furniture fair 2011 she presented her limited edition collection, titled Self-discipline at SPAZIO ROSSANA ORLANDI, and NODUS company presented her new innovative rug projects, Lace with a carpet face and Black tie carpet.

In the international press, her work has been described as everything from “punk elegance” (Elle USA) and “Techno chic” (BusinessWeek), to “larger than life” (Clear magazine) and Zupanc as “the real star” (The Wall Street Journal).


“In a world of design which is dominated by rationalism, minimalism and technology, it is a pleasure and a necessity to find a scarce and lonely soul who puts forward her power and sensitivity to create pieces with a smart esthetic and feminine language. Let’s hope she will lead a way for the long awaited emancipation of femininity in design.”

Marcel Wanders (quote on Nika Zupanc)

Through her design contributions on selected subjects and themes, Nika Zupanc pushes the limits of aesthetics and experiments with new visual codes that twist existing or predefined meanings. Disguised as new technologies, advanced engineering, and an explosion of new materials, these codes lend these meanings completely new senses in contrast to those they previously had. Zupanc’s works deal with everyday subjects and themes that practically iconically personify mediocrity, boredom, and time constraints. She believes in and fights for the right to express values that do not derive from rationalism, technicism, pure utilitarianism, and low-key comfort – the ideas that still dominate contemporary design.

Precisely measured eclecticism and the intentional search for feminine archetypal elements are the parameters Zupanc uses in her work, although in a notably reserved and occasionally slightly painful manner. The latter in particular lends her creations an original and innovative authorial character that has assumed the empty place awaiting it on the international design scene, challenging our understanding of contemporary furniture, buildings, and interior design.


2011 – Silk rugs, Nodus showroom, Fuori Salone 2011, Milan, Italy
2011 – Self-discipline, exhibition by Nika Zupanc, Spazio Rossana Orlandi, Fuori Salone 2011, Milan, Italy
2011 – Gone With the Wind, exhibition by Nika Zupanc, Spazio Pontaccio, Milan, Italy,
2010 – Gone With the Wind, exhibition by Nika Zupanc, Salone del Mobile, Superstudio Piu, Milan, Italy
2010 – 5 O’clock Chair and 5 O’clock table, Moooi, Salone del Mobile, Milan, Italy
2009 – Tailored chair, Moroso, Salone del Mobile, Milan, Italy
2009 – Lolita, lamp family, Moooi, Salone del Mobile, Milan, Italy
2009 – I Will Buy Flowers Myself, exhibition by Nika Zupanc, Salone del Mobile, Milan, Italy
2008 – Maid chair, Backstage: A Sideview on the Moroso Design Collection, curated by Patrizia Moroso, Gallery113, Kortrjik, Belgium
2008 – Lolita, lamp family for Moooi, Salone del Mobile, Milan, Italy
2007 – La femme et la maison, Design from 5 Continents, curated by the British Council Department For Design and Architecture, Design Festival, London, UK
2007 – La femme et la maison, Art Nhow, Milan, Italy
2007 – La femme et la maison, Salone Sateiltte, Milan, Italy
2006 – Nursing Room 0+, The Lighthouse, Glasgow, UK
2006 – Nursing Room 0+, Young Design Talent Show, Inno Design Centre, Hong Kong, China
2006 – Nursing Room 0+, Exhibition My World / New Subjectivity in Design, City Museum, Ljubljana, Slovenia
2006 – Nursing Room 0+ and La clinique d’ amour, Salone Satelitte, Milan, Italy
2005 – La clinique d’ amour, 100% Design, London, UK
2005 – La clinique d’ amour, Slovenian Contemporary Art 1995–2005, MOMA; Gallery of Modern Art,  Ljubljana, Slovenia
2005 – La clinique d’ amour, Designersblock, London, UK
2003 – Brumen: Bienale of Visual Communications; National Museum, Ljubljana, Slovenia
2002 – Bench system for bus station Met 3, Art Centre, Seoul
2002 – Bench system for bus station Met 3, Carrousel du Louvre, Paris
2002 – Bench system for bus station Met 3, Bio 18 – Biennale of industrial design, Ljubljana
2000 – Bread and the Parliament, exhibition for the 15th anniversary of Department of Design, ALU, Ljubljana


2001 – Prestigious Prešeren Award for university students for the highest achievement in art and industrial design
2003 – Brumen: Bienale of Visual Communications
2004 – Crossroads of Ideas: Rising Star in the Field of Industrial Design (British Council)
2005 – Nomination for the International IYDEY (International Young Design Entrepreneur of the Year) award (British Council)
2007 – TREND 2007 – award for the best Slovenian design in 2006


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