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Subversion, Tijana Kostić, Serbia

photo credits: Nebojša Babić

Subversion is a collection of transformable furniture pieces. It exploits the properties of ‘quick-grip’ industrial clamps that enables quick and simple transformation of pieces. It takes inspiration from everyday adhocism and hybridisation seen as only forces of true innovation. Contrary to the consumerist mindset I’m coming from the environment/ culture where things when broken or no longer needed we reuse them, repair them and give them a new life. Creativity of this approach inspires me very much.

The idea with the collection is that all the pieces are customizable and transformable, where users can choose to clamp whichever material or size tabletop they choose. It rejects the norms of conventional furniture and tries to invite users to reimagine their domestic landscape as a playful, inclusive and open process with multiple possibilities rather than predetermined ‘off the shelf’ and exclusive ones. 

Another layer of inspiration comes from my work as architect, visiting building sites. Building site ad-hocism – temporary furniture that builders assemble from whatever they find available – functional, unselfconscious, transformable and ambiguous enough to tell the story. By using ready mades from industry and construction in furniture design and making this table collection addresses the “designer paradox” which says that “manufacturing of the designed products represents one of the largest human impacts on the planet, the most sustainable thing you can do as a designer is not to design at all“. 

This collection of tables also plays with ‘cultures of use’ and ‘making’ where tools which are used to make furniture with, become  functional part of the furniture itself and books that are usually bought to decorate the table – ‘coffee table books’ are becoming a structural part of the table, subverts the notion of conventional furniture and provokes user’s engagement in thought and making process. 

The concept has been developed during studies at University of the Arts London, Central Saint Martins, academic year 2017/2019, under the mentorship of Ralph Ball, Simon Fraser, Elisabeth Wright. 


Tijana Kostić is an architect and furniture designer, co-founder of Focal Design Studio. In 2015. she obtains Master’s degree in Architecture form the University of Belgrade and in 2019. Master of Arts form Central Saint Martins, University of the Arts London. In 2016. with a colleague starts Focal design studio, multidisciplinary research-oriented practice active in fields of architecture, interior design, furniture design and product design, working closely with local artisans and collaborating with multitude of other practices and professionals.
She perceives her practice as a bridge between craft, industry, object and user, she is interested in forging links between a research-based practice and the wider design industry.


Instagram: @tijanakos