Sonja Iglic

Specialized in Jewelry Design.

Sonja Iglic

About Sonja Iglic

Sonja‘s background in Production design for Theater and Film has oriented her toward a more narrative approach when designing jewellery. Her inspirations come from legends, ideas or thoughts which she transforms into visual stories using symbols found in nature. She dreams to improve and change the general notion of how jewelry should be worn, what material it should be made of and what it should say about the wearer. She believes that jewelry should be anything that in relation to the human body offers some sense of the wearer and the possibility for communication.

  • Winner of the A' Design Award.
  • Specialized in Jewelry Design.
  • Original Design.
  • Creative, Diligent and Innovative.
  • All Designs
  • Jewelry
Blooming Folding Eyewear

Blooming Folding Eyewear

Jewelry Design

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Interview with Sonja Iglic

Could you please tell us more about your art and design background? What made you become an artist/designer? Have you always wanted to be a designer?
I have always been interested in doing things on my own. Since I was really little, I enjoyed creating something new from the things I had. I wanted to make things that are unique for myself or as a gift to someone. I really loved learning how to make and create anything and also using that knowledge to improve the things I already had. Not that those things needed an improvement, sometimes it was debatable if I made things better or worse, but I loved the process. I also loved jewelry, it was like magic to me. I dreamed to be able to make jewelry, but at the time it didn‘t really look as a possibility for a serious career. Once I had to decide on what to study, I had somehow seen myself as a scenographer for Theater. I loved watching operas and ballets, so it looked like a great job for me. I enjoyed those studies very much, I loved working in Theater and for Films, but I always felt like I needed something more. So in between two scenography projects I started learning how to manipulate metal. I made a lot of jewelry in efforts to improve my knowledge by using the „trial and error“ method. I ended up wanting more, learning more and researching more. Soon enough, I started creating more freely, which has led me to decide to switch to jewelry design completely.
Can you tell us more about your company / design studio?
My design studio is focused on creating collections that are moved by a certain idea or thought. Behind every project there‘s always a story that inspired it, something that I wanted to communicate further and to leave people thinking about. I want my work to leave an inspiration for development.
What is "design" for you?
Design is anything that with its specific elements, manages to improve the quality of any sphere of our lives.
What kinds of works do you like designing most?
I love making accessories that are exciting, daring and new. Most of the time, those accessories are not necessarily wearable for the everyday look, they are just an expression of an idea, thought, concept. I enjoy working with my photographer and the whole editorial team to create outstanding images that are sending a certain message. To communicate ideas through jewelry pieces and to round it all up with photography is a dream come true to me.
What is your most favorite design, could you please tell more about it?
I love all my projects, but if I had to choose, I‘d say my favorite one is a collection of jewelry named „Flowers of evil“. It was inspired by lyric poetry from a French poet Charles Baudelaire ( Les Fleurs du mal). The symbols I used were impressions of the most weird flowers I could find. Some of them I transformed into almost not recognizable flowers and some look quite ordinary. To emphasize the sense of darkness and evil, I used only black and red color in the contrast of the golden metal (brass) base. All the pieces are very big and heavy, leaving the sense of burden to the wearer.
What is your favorite material / platform / technology?
I‘m open to new materials and love mix and match to achieve different visuals, but I always get back to metal. Metal is a material that excites me, as it gives so many possibilities with its ability to be manipulated in thousands of different ways. That‘s the beauty of it.
When do you feel the most creative?
The best creative ideas I get in those rare moments when I manage to shut down my brain. Those seconds when I‘m not thinking are the most valuable.
What kind of emotions do you feel when you design?
I always feel like I‘m late to a deadline that I don‘t really have. I don‘t know why, but I always push myself in a way that is really exhausting, but pleasant at the same time. If I have to solve some design problem, it really takes on my whole life, as it is constantly on my mind, there‘s no rest from it. It can be overwhelming, but I love the excitement of it, of never knowing when it‘ll be done, when the solution will come, it‘s really a roller coaster.
What makes a design successful?
A design is successful if the idea is clear and understandable to a wide audience. Most of the time complex ideas have to go through a series of filters to be understandable. The end idea has to be simple and easy to understand, so reduction is necessary. For a design to carry a powerful message, it has to be simple. That‘s the most difficult part.
When judging a design as good or bad, which aspects do you consider first?
To me, the idea behind the project is most important. If the idea is amazing, then there‘s always space for improvement in the physical appearance. But if the idea itself is nothing new or special, then nothing else matters.
From your point of view, what are the responsibilities of a designer for society and environment?
Making people‘s everyday life easier, healthier and most importantly, more beautiful.
How do you think the "design field" is evolving? What is the future of design?
I believe that we‘re approaching the era where all humans are going to embrace design and incorporate it into a normal part of their life. People are exploring the design more and more each year. The technology is developing so fast and it is giving every human being the choice to create something unique. I do believe that we are entering a very creative period and might I say a Design era.
Where does the design inspiration for your works come from? How do you feed your creativity? What are your sources of inspirations?
I don‘t know where the inspiration comes from, it just comes. Every experience of every day is forming my thoughts, and from those thoughts, the inspiration comes. I don‘t think the inspiration is tangible, it just finds a way to show itself in a moment when all needed elements overlap. It can be a pleasant breeze, a flower, a look from someone, a word, a book, anything really. But it truly comes from a culmination of all our experiences and feelings.
How would you describe your design style? What made you explore more this style and what are the main characteristics of your style? What's your approach to design?
It‘s interesting that my personal design style is very minimalist, but somehow, my projects end up having a more narrative approach. I‘d definitely want to go towards a more refined design in the future, but still keep my characteristic approach. The most characteristic thing in my design is meaning. That‘s the biggest reason why it‘s really difficult to reduce the form to a minimum, and at the same time retain a clear idea. I’ll keep on exploring the possibilities of this approach in the future, as improvement is what excites me the most.
Can you describe a day in your life?
I always start my day with a cup of coffee and a calm talk with my partner. Each of us resume the obligations of the day, and we create a possible schedule. We sometimes listen to some inspirational talk, or we watch a show. We both enjoy watching „How it‘s made“, where we always find out something new. After that, we do yoga or some other exercise, have breakfast and go to the studio where each of us go to their own designs. Depending on our deadlines and inspirations, we might stay there all day, or we sometimes go to meet some friends, family or we go for a walk. I‘d probably read a book at some point of the day, and have a few tea or coffee breaks during the day.
Could you please share some pearls of wisdom for young designers? What are your suggestions to young, up and coming designers?
Create everyday, dream big and design truthfully. Don‘t give up after your first obstacle, or second, or 100th, there‘s always a solution to every problem, you just haven‘t thought of it yet.
From your perspective, what would you say are some positives and negatives of being a designer?
The most positive thing I‘d have to say is being able to create objects that people would use on the daily basis. It is the most beautiful feeling seeing the joy of your customers, seeing that the object, maybe changed the way we do things, or just if it made someone‘s task easier to handle. Negatives must be the constant exposure to criticism of literally anyone. It can be really tiring, and can have an impact on our mood. A good designer has to put his soul into every project, so it‘s really difficult not to take the reactions of people personally. At least it is difficult for me.
What skills are most important for a designer?
The designer has to be able to visualize an object and to see that object from every angle with all details before it hits the paper. This ensures that countless editing and problem solving are being done while the project is still inside of the designer‘s imagination. The problem solving is a must for every good designer. No manual skill can take that place.
Designing can sometimes be a really time consuming task, how do you manage your time?
Since I work for myself, and there's no one to push me, I really need to discipline myself in order to get things done. I have lists of tasks that I need to complete to a certain deadline, I journal everything, and I even have to schedule my free time (time for friends, hobbies, training and so on). Now, this might sound really strict, but in reality, it is a very liberating feeling because this way of working actually ensures more free time because all obligations are done without prolonging too much or procrastinating.
How long does it take to design an object from beginning to end?
It really depends on a project. For me, the most time consuming part is transforming complex thoughts to simple ones, to their essence and putting them to paper. After I have the general shape, the rest can depend on the complexity of the design, the usage (whether it is needed an extensive research regarding the ergonomic and technical details), the functionality and the way it should be made. It can vary from just a month to up to a year. Each project requires a different approach from the designer, so the time needed can really stretch.
What is the most frequently asked question to you, as a designer?
It would have to be the famous question that I believe all designers get asked all the time, and that is: „Where do you get your inspiration from?“
What type of design work do you enjoy the most and why?
I love making things with my hands. So definitely prototyping is the most pleasant time in any project, as I get to experiment in the workshop, create a lot of things which include mostly metalsmithing.
What are your future plans? What is next for you?
I think think that now is the right time for me to make a ready to wear collection of jewelry, but I‘d also love to have the opportunity to create pieces for catwalks as that would bring me the most joy.
Do you work as a team, or do you develop your designs yourself?
Until now, all of my designs were made by myself, but I am thinking about developing a few projects with a design team in the near future. I will still have projects that I‘d want to create on my own, with no compromises and no alterations from the design team, but I have some projects in mind that I would really love to make a reality with some really talented artists.
How can people contact you?
The best way to contact me is by sending me an email, I try my best to answer to all emails as fast as possible. The email that should be used for this purpose is:

Extended Interview with Sonja Iglic

Could you please tell us about your experience as a designer, artist, architect or creator?
I‘ve graduated from the Faculty of Applied Arts in Belgrade, Serbia. My studies were in Production design for Television, Film and Theater. The studies are a bit like the old school traditional art academy, where the students are introduced to subjects like painting, drawing, sculpting, graphic, anatomy, architecture, history of art and psychology, and in connection to all that, they are introduced to the applied art of our choice, scenography in my case. This type of studies are very rare nowadays, but they are essential for one to become a complete artist. A year after I graduated, I started with my jewelry journey. I went to a few courses to start with, but mostly been learning on my own every day. I‘ve tried to soak in all the information I could find through books, videos, interviews, people I‘ve met along the way. Each step has contributed to the knowledge I have now, and I‘m still learning.
How did you become a designer?
I‘ve always loved creating new things, I enjoyed any type of craft, manual skill and I had fun while doing it. I‘ve become a designer out of that one desire to create. I think it is just a matter of a period of my life that will determine what I‘ll be designing, but the ultimate goal is just to give, to create, to invent new things.
What are your priorities, technique and style when designing?
If I look back to my elementary school and grammar school, I remember that I was never really interested in anything in particular that other students around me have been interested in. At the time, it felt like I‘m different in a bad way. I always wondered why I, in my essence, don‘t really care about all those things. Looking back to it from this perspective, it is so clear to me. There was no source of any type of design or creation in that period. I couldn‘t see it, no one was doing it, so I wasn‘t really aware that the things that I was interested in doing back home, were in fact special, and were worthy of a career. The things that I was making and playing with were looked at as a hobby, so I couldn‘t see it differently as a child. When I was in grammar school, I‘ve feared that in my future, I‘m going to end up in some office working in the administration to earn money and that‘s it. I‘m so happy that didn‘t happen and that I‘ve dared to try something that is not so tangible or safe. I was never forced to do anything but do decide what I want to do. My parents were always very supportive of my intentions, especially when they saw the results of my work.
Which emotions do you feel when designing?
At the moment, I am designing jewelry and fashion accessories, but I‘d love to start designing home accessories in the future. My intentions are expanding each day.
What particular aspects of your background shaped you as a designer?
They should be present at all times. Awake is the best term. Trying to see it all, hear it all and read it all. Be curious, be daring, be unstoppable creative. Most importantly, always listen to their own little voice, because that way, you‘ll always design truthfully, honestly and you might shift some boundaries of invention.
What is your growth path? What are your future plans? What is your dream design project?
A good designer can design a product that looks good, which has good functions and whose use is well thought out. He can create a very good product that is requested by companies or users. On the other hand, a great designer's breaks all boundaries, respects no rules, creates freely and tries to make a change. A great designer has the ability to take everything in the account and to give the overall solution by telling the companies and the users what they need to use, how and why, and creates it in an eye pleasing way.
What are your advices to designers who are at the beginning of their career?
If by looking at the product and asked the question: ‚What this product gives you that no other on the market does?‘ and the answer is: Everything! Then it is a really good design. In good design every detail counts, but on top of that, the function and the design have to be in harmony. Every part has to have a reason why it is put there, in correlation to the function. It has to be logical and easy to use.
You are truly successful as a designer, what do you suggest to fellow designers, artists and architects?
As a jewelry designer, I can‘t really tell that everyone should invest in a good designer jewelry, because, it‘s not a necessity it is a luxury. But in a wider sense of design, the value is enormous. It is supposed to make the user's life better or easier. Everyone has at least one product that is truly meaningful for their everyday function. I say, always invest in at least that one item, as the joy it will give you is tremendous. Depending on what the products function is, it should make it much, much easier and probably more beautiful too.
What is your day to day look like?
I‘d love to design a whole collection of accessories for a fantasy film that could be directed by someone like Tim Burton or Peter Jackson. That would be amazing!
How do you keep up with latest design trends? To what extent do design trends matter?
I‘d like to have time and funds to make the ultimate fashion interactive exhibition that includes themed photographs with my designs. Everything seen in the picture would be designed, from the scenery and objects on the set, to clothes and jewelry in correlation to the movement of the body and the spirit of the model. Every atom of the photo should be a designed as a means of communication and should communicate the same message and the same idea. All that captured with amazing photographers and exhibited alongside with all the products used in the shoot. That is a dream project.
How do you know if a product or project is well designed? How do you define good design?
Being aware of everything available, being respectful to it and designing beyond it.
How do you decide if your design is ready?
I‘m obsessed with designs from such amazing artists like: Zaha Hadid, Issey Miyake, Gijs Bakker and Victoire De Castellane, also, thinking from the sculptural artistic fashion point, there is: Alexander McQueen, Gareth Pugh, Nick Knight. All of them give me a daily inspirational boost if I need it. There‘s an unlimited source of inspiration from their works.
What is your biggest design work?
One of my favorite jewelry pieces was designed by a dutch designer Gijs Bakker, and it‘s called ‚Circle in circle‘ bracelet. It is an item that answers a question, what would happen if you were to pull your hand through a flat surface? What kind of form would you make? The design is so simple and elegant but at the same time so thought out.
Would you tell us a bit about your lifestyle and culture?
Just by trying to have the overall understanding of the world around you, and an extensive education about your interest of choice. The ability to absorb every information you encounter with, whether a conversation with someone, a book or a documentary on any subject and the ability to store it in the mind somewhere. When all of that comes together, the unique combination to every designer will improve the designs and create not just better but amazing designers.
Would you tell us more about your work culture and business philosophy?
I think I‘d have a job that has something to do with animals or nature in general.
What positive experiences you had when you attend the A’ Design Award?
My family, who had to convince me to keep on going every time I didn‘t see a point anymore.

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