A Day in Isolation with Nika Zupanc

  • 23 Mar '20
  • 9:30 am by Nuriyah Johar
Nika Zupanc at her home in Ljubljana. Photograph Credit: Nika Zupanc

As always, I think true inspiration can come from anywhere – and that sometimes, challenging conditions make you even more creative. Our own thoughts are the only things that we can really control right now, so I try to dream on, despite everything else. At the end of the day, dreaming is my job.”

Pink ribbon chairs, black cherry lamps and sunset mirrors – designer Nika Zupanc’s signature style is beautifully paradoxical. It marries femininity with rebellion and theatricality with minimalism. Zupanc is a force of nature, whose ever-expanding oeuvre includes collaborations with brands like Moooi, Qeeboo, Ghidini 1961 and Dior. The Slovenian designer’s visual language comes from deep within and is about “communicating the things that cannot be told.

We reached out to Zupanc for a feature on a day in her life, though shortly after, lifestyles across the globe witnessed a dramatic change. With self-isolation being the need of the hour, staying indoors has become the new normal. “It has only been a few days since our way of living has deeply and profoundly changed, and I believe all of us are struggling to find new routines”, says Zupanc. “The majority of us here in Europe are in the early stages of isolation, trying to find our way in this world which has changed overnight. So I am at the stage of testing and thinking of how to structure my days, and how to do some good, for myself and for the others around me.

Zupanc’s makeshift garden gym. Photograph Credit – Nika Zupanc 

In the morning, with my thoughts still fresh, I start with really simple, basic things that are good for my health and well-being. I used to workout out in the gym or at the dojo every day before the global quarantine. This was one of the things that was really essential for my creativity, something I deeply needed to clear my head, to clean my energy, to completely change my working environment for an hour. With gyms being closed now, I made myself a small gym out in our garden, also using some of my designs for it. This workout helps me stay physically, and mentally fit. It also helps me stay focused, positive – and above all, allows me to forget a little bit about everything else.

Nika Zupanc’s Ribbon Chairs for Qeeboo. Photograph Credit – Nika Zupanc 

After that, I start with my work. The whole studio now works from our homes, so we Skype and email with each other, as we do with the companies we are working with. In some way, this hasn’t really changed for me a lot, since I always prefer to work in solitude and away from other people. Being alone is actually welcome for my creative process, because only in solitude can I really hear myself, creatively and else wise. Now, of course, all of a sudden, the perception of solitude has shifted and I both value and miss the time I spent with other people.

In the afternoon, I sometimes escape to my garden, or the immediate nature just behind my house (a current privilege of living on the outskirts of Ljubljana, that is strongly and closely connected with wild nature), to recharge, and call my friends from around the world. Then it is back to work, and the number of all the small things we need to do anyhow.

Nika Zupanc’s Bubble Lamp. Photograph Credit – Nika Zupanc 

I think I want to dedicate the evenings to movies. I’ll be re-watching movies that I really loved, movies that have shaped me as a creative, but also movies that have shaped my perception of emotions and life, such as Wild At Heart or La Rein Margot. And yes, I would be without Instagram, Facebook and Whatsapp. New ways of relationships are evolving there and I think after a long time we can openly say that it is so great to have them, the social media and all other digital ways of sharing and feeling love and connection. Additionally, I will continue with my Italian lessons online.