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About Klavdija Höfler and Matej Höfler

Matej Höfler is an arhitect, working as director of Studio Höfler d.o.o. Their main business is architectural planning. Matej is the coauthor of several awards on the architectural competition. Klavdija Höfler is working in public administration in the area of EU projects. She is the founder and director of the Institute for toy development in Slovenia. She finished postgraduate study and holds the title Master in Management. Togehter they developed and registered kukuLila brand. Portable baby crib Sofia is the first project of the brand. In the future they would like to focus on toy development.

Interview with Klavdija Höfler and Matej Höfler

Klavdija Höfler and Matej Höfler ("KHAMH") interviewed on Tuesday, 3 April.

Could you please tell us about your experience as a designer, artist, architect or creator?

KHAMH : Matej: I am working as director at Studio Höfler d.o.o. Our main business is architectural planning. In 20 years I have a great private and public clients (ex. Municipality of Ljubljana, Municipality of Medvode) and I have worked for a great architect organizations (ex.SADAR+VUGA d.o.o., Demšar arhitekti d.o.o., Dans, arhitekti d.o.o.). Klavdija: I work in the toy industry for four years now. I started with designing and making toys. I needed the networking. I needed an organization or a network with knowledge of the toy area. A place where you can exchange views and help each other. Because I did not find such organization I establish organization Institute for toy development in Slovenia, which networking an organizations from toy area. The idea came from collecting ideas from different manufacturers of toys in Slovenia.

How did you become a designer?

KHAMH : Matej: I have always been fascinated by objects or spaces, from my childhood on. I was fascinated by pictures of my grandfather, which hung on the walls of our home and plans turbines of my father, who is an engineer. I like to draw. All these led me to the study of architecture and contact with the design. Klavdija: I like designing and drawing from my childhood. I usually followed fashion. So I decided to go in High School of Textile. I wanted more knowledge in the field of management, so I also study management. I always wanted that my profession is connected with design and art. My desire to develop over the years grew and I decided to move from words to action. In last four years I am strongly working on the toy area.

What are your priorities, technique and style when designing?

KHAMH : Matej: I am using digital tools and latest technology- Acad tools for drawing and rendering. Sometimes I draw on the paper. Klavdija: I draw my idea first on the paper. Then my husband draws the plan and make rendering with the computer. In the future we will also like to make physical models.

Which emotions do you feel when designing?

KHAMH : Matej: When I design I feel joy. The most exciting is in the beginning of the project.Klavdija: When I design I feel enthusiasm, freedom and joy. The most exciting is in the beginning.

What particular aspects of your background shaped you as a designer?

KHAMH : Matej: Skills: Spatial artistic sense and ability to communicate. For the non-designer, there is meaningful communication and a holistic view of the project.Klavdija: When I was working in the organization, where was no creativity allowed, I did not feel ok. I started to identify that something is missing. In searching what is the reason, my memories of childhood woke me up. I was also impressed by my husband's work. Then I felt pleasure. Yes, that is my area of work.

What is your growth path? What are your future plans? What is your dream design project?

KHAMH : Matej: My dream design project right now is house in nature. In the future I would like to focus on designing the larger projects.Klavdija: My first future plan is our own brand in the field of toys and working on the goals of Institute for toy development in Slovenia. The most important for me is to design and develop what people need at the moment or in the future.

What are your advices to designers who are at the beginning of their career?

KHAMH : Matej: Loyalty to the profession. The main problem is poor urban planning legislation. Try to do the best in all situations. Klavdija: If you have an idea and ask others what they think, you can be disappointed. Listen to yourself. Follow your inner feeling and your dreams. Keep an eye on reactions to your idea. Focus on your goals. Be prepared to learn constantly. I had a great mentor in the year 2017. He always prepared to selfless help me. I learn from my mentor a lot. I grow my knowledge to listen and work. But I always check my inner feeling if I go on the right way. I am very grateful for that experience and try to transfer to others.

You are truly successful as a designer, what do you suggest to fellow designers, artists and architects?

KHAMH : Matej: Do the best you can be. Klavdija: If you have a idea, go for it. Focus on your goals. When problems arise, stop a little, take a breath and go on. It's part of the process. Think positive and beautiful thoughts.

What is your day to day look like?

KHAMH : Matej: In the morning I take care of the kids, then I go to work for usually ten hours. Usually I work during the weekend, for ex. ten ours. I read architectural magazines magazines at home. A lot of times I look it with my wife. Klavdija: I work eight hours first and then I go to pick up the children in the kindergarten and school. Then I usually work two hours afternoon and in the evening. Usually I work during the weekend, for ex. four ours. When comes a boring business day, I usually turn on some music that I like or I draw.

How do you keep up with latest design trends? To what extent do design trends matter?

KHAMH : Klavdija&Matej: We stick our own personal design style. We want to develop a collection that is purely of our own. But we always check what’s hip this season.

How do you know if a product or project is well designed? How do you define good design?

KHAMH : Matej: The main criteria for me are: Strength, usability, beauty, according to the architect and theoretician Vitruvij. Klavdija: The main criteria for me, to judge that some design is good, are: Functionality, visibility, usability. Common mistake to avoid for making good design is: The design is very nice looking but you can not use it anywhere.

How do you decide if your design is ready?

KHAMH : Matej: It is never perfect for me. At some stage it is necessary to be satisfied, but I always look back, how could I do better. Klavdija: I have my picture in the head. When I see and test the design, then I decide if it is ready. I have the criteria I followed. It must be fulfilled. Yes, sometimes are not, so I try to balance. I stop doing, when I saw it will cost a lot. But I always keep an open tab in my mind to make my earlier designs better. My project made a success, when it's sold well. That means that people like the design of the product.

What is your biggest design work?

KHAMH : Matej. Arrangement of the market in Ljubjana.Klavdija: My biggest and best work is the toy Portable baby crib Sofia. It is special because I work together with my husband. We put a lot of work on it. Inspiration for the Portable baby crib Sofia design was wooden cart for dolls, produced by the Slovenian traditional craftsmen from Ribnica in the 19th century. We began to wonder what kind of toys would be right for our daughter and what will she play with in the next few years. Then we searched for answers to the questions, what kind of shape would be suitable and how would it blend with the environment. We came up with an organic shape, illustrating the softness of the relationship between a child and a toy baby.

Who is your favourite designer?

KHAMH : Matej: Architects Jože Plečnik, Alvar Aalto, Frank Lloyd Wright. Niko Kralj, the Mosquito chair. Achille Castiglioni, Lamp Parentesi. Aldo Rossi, La Cupola espresso coffee maker. Klavdija: I like designers for brand Versace and Guess. For toys brand Hape. Also the impact on me made my young cousin Pia Česnik, Fashion designer and marketing coordinator at Toper.

Would you tell us a bit about your lifestyle and culture?

KHAMH : Klavdija&Matej: Inspiring cities are Istanbul, Rome, New Delhi, Ljubljana. The music is very important part of our creativity. Sometimes when we hear a specified music we get some ideas. Good design makes people happy. People like to see nice and beautiful things.

Would you tell us more about your work culture and business philosophy?

KHAMH : Klavdija: I have projects where I need to work with partners. Usually it is very easy to work with me. When I am selecting business partners I look for good communication, professionalism and reliability.

What are your philanthropic contributions to society as a designer, artist and architect?

KHAMH : Klavdija: In the frame of Institute for toy development we represent a promote designs and designers on the toy area and area of child product. We also enable that young designers or people who wish to support.

What positive experiences you had when you attend the A’ Design Award?

KHAMH : Klavdija&Matej: We are very satisfied and impressed about the system. Also we saw positive progress from last years. The main benefits of participating to design awards and competitions as a designer are: 1. It help us to think and to write the right connect to represent the product, brand and our salves. 2. Focus 3. Different prices for different type of organizations- opportunity for start-up company ect. 4. You are prepared to communicate with the public. The main benefits of winning international design award: 1. Promotion 2. Better or higher value of the product 3. After the winning we still cooperating (interviews, promoting). 4. Networking. 5. If you intent to spread the business it is easier to get in touch with the different people. The competition is important. It has many positive points, especially when you get the award. You get the rating of your design and in some way confirmation. You can see if your design is noticeable. Regardless of the competition, it is necessary to work on sales. We thank all the group of the A’ Design Award for positive experience.

Klavdija Höfler and Matej Höfler Profile

Sofia Toy

Sofia Toy design by Klavdija Höfler and Matej Höfler

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