Design atmosphere in HAVA

The wooden window display of a small shop in Kapana Creative District in Plovdiv, tempted us to look behind it, place MD among the other well-chosen design products of its shelves and definitely get to know its creators. Well, all three of our wishes were fulfilled.
From the Winter of 2019 MD can be find in HAVA – the stylish store of Adelina and Vulcan that offers carefully selected design and art items. Today we invite you to visit them together in the intimate and cozy atmosphere of their place to talk about the Beginning, the way they select their products / authors,  “made in BG” design and the pleasure and difficulty of having and developing your own store in this market niche.

Tell us about the beginning – how did the idea for HAVA come about?

The idea has been in our minds for a long time, but it has come to live, as it often does, after forgetting about it for a while during a summer vacation. The place is ours and has been vacant for years because there is still no time for it. Up to this point, we have spent endless hours in front of our computers. During the holiday, we felt that we needed to find a new way of expressing ourselves, to apply our skills differently. We wanted it to be not just a retail place, but a one that cultivates good taste, connect us with new people with similar values ​​and interests. And one that gives us a personal pleasure.

Who are the people behind the window? What gathered and motivated you?

Behind the window you will find Adelina and Vulcan, together or separately. We met in 2003 at a drawing course. Subsequently, we studied in a “Poster and Visual Communication ” course at the National Academy of Arts, working for more than 15 years in our graphic design studio and living together all this time. What motivates us is the will to create; to face ourselves and to force ourselves out of the area of ​​complacent consumer lethargy; the love of adventure and the horror of boredom.

How do you select the products / authors you want to present in the store? Do you have special criteria?

Our main criterion is most accurately expressed in Exupery’s thought: “Perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.” We strive for the products we present to be perfect in their simplicity. Make you dream of new experiences and feel the spirit of the person who created them with his or her own hands. Turn everyday activities into unusual rituals. We make sure everything is connected to the place, as if it lived in the place and was created for it. We study in advance how it will look like not only on its own, but also with other products. We try not to make compromise with these things and we always decide together. We hope that there will be more products  on the shelves soon.

Why HAVA? Tell us the secret behind the name?

We were looking for a word from the local jargon that would best fit our sense of neighborhood. Otherwise the word comes from Turkish and means time, condition, atmosphere – hopefully pleasant. We also liked that it is short and contains our initials.

Was Kapana the location you were looking for and what drew you to it?

The location was sought and discovered by Vulcan’s grandfather about 100 years ago. We are the sequel to enjoy that choice. The moment when the Municipality decided to make the street pedestrian was crucial, and suddenly from a favorite parking place in the neighborhood now Kapana is a favorite place to walk and avoid the crowded main street.

Describe your customers? What kind of people are you targeting? Any curious situation with a client?

Our clients are smiling, sociable but delicate. Contemplative and patient but critical. People with a taste for life. Real people. There are no limitations on age, gender, origin. They are our goal, but we are also theirs because it is they who have the courage to enter the store. Due to its unusual appearance, it disturbs some of the passers-by and they look only  astonishing through the window. It often happens that they knock on the door and ask us if it’s convenient to come in. We hope in time such places will become more common in the city and this unnecessary anxiety will disappear.

The most enjoyable visit was of three gentlemen. They came in and said quite honestly, “We are the worst customers, we will not buy anything, we just want to watch, because we really like the place. You should consider selling tickets for entry. ” They stood and watched with such joy the shelves and the whole setting that they redeemed their visit with the highest payback – the recognition.

And from the collection of funny statements: “Hello, is this a tailor shop?” / the base of the desk we work on is from a singer sewing machine / and “Can you teach me to work on a computer?”

Are there design shops in the world and in our country, which vision and business approach are your example?

We could not specify a specific place. What we have always enjoyed most about traveling is the small hidden shops and workshops, unusual and charming, which look nothing like any other place because someone has invested in the smallest details. They made it themselves, because what the want is not offered anywhere except in their own mind. We are not fans of the “everything is already made up”. It may be, but the act itself is worth practicing all the time.

What type of design products mostly attract the eye today? Do you highlight any trends?

Functional. Things not only to look at, but also to use and uphold with joy.

What are your impressions about the development of product design in Bulgaria?

It’s difficult, but it is developing in a positive direction. We have numerous confirmations for this. It is often the case that our customers (local and foreign ones) cannot believe that these are products made in Bulgaria. We hope it doesn’t look so amazing in time.

What was your vision for the furnishing and decoration of the store?

Our completely amateurish approach in the field of interior design met somewhere in the middle with the professionalism of architect Chavdar Poryazov from Studio 8½, but decisive for the end result was the invaluable manual work of the wood carver Anton Kambarev. The overall goal was to preserve the spirit of the old house and add more modern materials and refined shapes without contradicting it. Despite its small size, there is free space that allows visitors to contemplate peacefully and continuously. A problem we have encountered in the role of customers.

We are curious – are you inspired by / follow other print publications for design – Bulgarian or foreign?

Of course. In addition to interesting content, they are also important to us in terms of design and printing solutions. As graphic designers, we need to keep up with the trends and it is always enriching to see the work of the extremely talented colleagues.

What is the best part about having your own store?

They are a lot! You always have a great gift for planned or unexpected occasions. We have a lovely pedestrian street where we play federball and meet with friends, even celebrate birthdays. We met amazing people – authors and clients. We find long-forgotten friends who come to see the store, unaware of whose it is, and the hugs and kisses began…

This year MD turns 15. We are emotionally ready for flashbacks and will be glad to see the magazine through your eyes.

MD is a necessary phenomenon on the Bulgarian market, with a steady presence, which allows us not only to get acquainted with the significant achievements in the field of design around the world, but also with the Bulgarian ones, in the context of this intense international competition. Thanks for the opportunity to have a valuable guest as MD in our store and we look forward to welcoming many more editions!

We warmly invite you to visit HAVA while you are out in Kapana even just for your inspiration and pleasure. A great place for creators created by creators – you can’t miss it!
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