Zoran and Filimena have an incredible track record of developing successful projects.
Their most popular project is one we are sure most Macedonian families, especially young ones, are familiar with – the modular and transformable sofa systems, FEYDOM, that have been around since 2006.
The story of FEYDOM and its beginnings is a tale akin to those we’re used to seeing on the Hollywood screen. The idea was born back in 2004, when Zoran and Filimena were living between Australia and China and often had to adapt and transform their constrained living space into everything from a living room, to an office and a children’s playground – sometimes all in the matter of a few hours. When the furniture shops failed to offer them what they were looking for, Zoran and Filimena started an ingenious ‘trade’ – they would give the local furniture factories in Shanghai their designs, and in return the factories would give them built models for free.
The latest chapter of their story is just starting. It’s the so called House of Thousand Designs (HOIOOOD). We sat down with Zoran and Filimena to learn more about the project and help you find out how you can become a part of it.
We already know that FEYDOM functions as a business since 2006 and that at this very moment you have more than 40 selling points around Europe. How did FEYDOM grow into what it is today?
We started the project when we realized how the furniture industry was unfriendly to freelance designers, especially for those like us that invest all their time and energy into the projects they work on.
What we tried, and managed to do is to simultaneously start product design and a whole new way of organizing a business model such as this one. In our model it was innovation and design that were valorized, and treated equally with the processes of production and distribution.
This approach resulted into 4000 spared meters of production space filled with a team of 80 amazing people, promotion of the concept at more than 20 international furniture fairs and exhibitions, and of course, a distribution network of 15 mono brand stores and 40 shop-in-shop selling points around 13 countries across Europe.
It’s rare for a designer who came up with an original design to find a way to launch its product successfully, especially when it comes to a Macedonian (and even Balkan) product. How did you manage to do this with FEYDOM? What made your products successful?
At the very beginning of the project we defined Europe as our final goal. Fully aware of the level of sophistication of the market and its complexity, we knew that in order for our product to be ‘accepted’ we will need to be better than anyone else in three different segments of the process: ‘innovation’, ‘quality’ and ‘price’. Once you understand the criteria and your goals, success is only a question of time.
Of course, the awards we won along the process helped us a lot, for instance the Interior Innovation Award, Iconic Awards and the German Design Award, which according to the German Design Council are one of the most prestige ones of their kind.
Tell us more about HOIOOOD. How did you decide on a project such as this one? What are you trying to achieve with it?
The HOIOOOD project is simply our way of opening the doors to our studio (both design and production) to anyone interested. This project will turn the business model we developed earlier with FEYDOM into an open business platform accessible to all creative designers of the country, and even the region.
Our main goal was developing a project that will turn good design ideas into products placed on the international market. This is a platform made from designers to designers, and by ‘designers’ we mean anyone who loves using their creativity to develop solutions and products around them, those can be talented students or even experienced masters in given fields.
Additionally, as a platform, HOIOOOD is open to collaborations and partnerships with all organizations that will find its development beneficial. IME is the first to join us and partly support the developing of a project that is set to quickly become self sustainable.
Tell us something more about the way HOIOOOD functions.
HOIOOOD is divided into three simple functional units:
(1) An online platform (HOIOOOD.com) that serves the role of an informative medium for the designer community where all contests will be published.
(2) A design and development studio, where the designs that have been selected will go through the process of development of models and prototypes, and
(3) A business accelerator, where the product will continue its development, but at this point together with manufacturers, distributors and investors. This process ends with the product launched as a unit of profit on the market.
According to you, what constitutes a ‘good design’?
We try, whenever possible, to simplify definitions, goals and problems. ‘Good design’ is one that has already been turned into a product, and placed where it was meant to be. Bad design on the other hand is the one that’s been stuck as a sketch for an exhibition, hanging on the wall and looking good.
Do you have any advice to share with the designers, future applicants of the HOIOOOD contests?
All designers, especially those that will be selected to develop their product in the further stages, should keep in mind that our final goal is placing their designs, their products, not on an exhibition, but in a shop on the international market.
When and if this will happen highly depends of them and the level of innovation of their ideas, but also of their commitment and hard work. We expect all designers to be their own project managers, during all phases of product development. The capital of knowledge that a product will earn them will forever remain to be a basis of further future collaborations.