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Interview by: Brand Expert Sarah Christophers

We catch up with Kristina, Svaja’s founder and Creative Director, for an intimate chat about the company, her achievements and her dreams for the future. It’s an incredibly busy and exciting time for Svaja, and for Kristina: she’s just squeezed us into her hectic schedule, between trips to Saudi Arabia and New York. Life is increasingly on the move...

Tell us about your big Svaja projects of the moment

“We talk of being cosmopolitan but at the moment I really am living it! Svaja is grow-ing and my main priorities are setting up solid and stable operations in our key new markets. Our USA office has just opened in NYC and things are really taking off there, and I’m just back from the Middle East which has been a major focus for over 18 months. It’s a region that’s leading the way for our bespoke (made to specifications) interior and structural glass and we are working with some amazing private clients: from palaces to six star hotels.”

How do you come up with new designs?

“Travel is a major inspiration source for me. I’m lucky enough to travel to so many places for work and I feed off their cultures, architecture, design and fashion. I also make

sure I squeeze in some down-time with my family, and one of the places that recently started my creative juices flowing, wasn’t too far from home: Segovia, the ancient Spanish city. The fusion of European design and Arabic aesthetics knocked me over. It comes from so far back in history but it seems so attuned to the way we should be thinking now: a true fusion of east and west. It’s something that really resonated with me and is reflected in many of my new designs.”

Which parts of the world do you most enjoy?

“I’ve really relished getting to know parts of the Middle East. It’s an incredible region and we have customers that take me to Saudi, Oman, Kuwait, Qatar, all over. Here they like the

best of the best of everything for their interiors and it is incredibly exciting and dynamic. I’m finding it fascinating learning about Islam and their beautiful arts; my old perceptions have really been altered as I’ve spent more time understanding their ways of life. Barriers are coming down all the time: who would have thought that I’d be there in Saudi, in a pair of high heels and a hard hat, on the site of a new hospital, discussing decorative glass installa-tion with ten hardened male contractors. Things are changing and I feel somewhat of an ambassador for female creativity and business. It makes me smile.”

Tell us more about the structural side of Svaja glass.

“Yes this has been steadily growing. We work with interior designers, architects and private clients to create bespoke products for their buildings. It could be a piece of decorative glass art to go on a boardroom wall; it could be a one-off shower enclosure for a palace; couture tiles or a splash-back for a made to measure kitchen. We’ve been asked to do incredible glass doors, walls, huge mirror frames, the list goes on. Basically we work with a client to make something totally unique and fulfil their dreams. It’s extremely satisfying.”

What’s new for Svaja on the retail front?

“Well our glass animations keep on surprising me. Through the economic downturn, when people have been spending less, the demand for elegant, yet simple animal sculptures keeps growing. It’s amazing. Horses have been our major new thing, created by customers requests, and we welcomed Horatio and Henry to the family not long ago. They’re strong, sculptural and particularly popular with men.”

Tell us more about your US plans.

“I’ve always been interested in weaving the mood and tastes of our international customers into our ranges. Our Svaja US online store is opening ( www.svajaus.com) and with the American operation really beginning to take shape and the country being so vast, I think we’ll get a lot of feedback from buyers and customers. It’s always exciting to take this, play with it and give them something back that exceeds their expectations. It’ll be fun getting to know their interior tastes a little more!”

Vigore magazine recognizes Kristina Bobs

a rising star and design influence - decorative and structural glass

Mystic Wall Panels (London Restaurant)

Kristina S Bobs, Founder & Director

www.svaja.com

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