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Zagreb Triennial


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(Zagrebacki Trienale, 1955–9)

The Zagreb Triennal exhibitions of the 1955s reflected the utopian ambitions of Croatian designers whose progressive ideas generally failed to capture social or commercial enthusiasm. This was also the case in the wider design climate in Eastern Europe in the decades following the end of the Second World War when state manufacturers, planned economies, and market monopolies were key drivers of the economy. Such a climate was evidenced in Croatia at the beginning of the decade by the failure of the Academy of Applied Arts (Academija za Primijenjenu Umjetnost, 1950–4) to realize its functionalist and multidisciplinary agenda in a brief existence cut short by political intervention. The first Zagreb Triennial of 1955, organized by Vjenceslav Richter, reflected something of the approach embraced by the Academy of Applied Arts, brining together a wide range of design disciplines, including both the applied arts and industrial design, alongside the fine arts. Its displays endorsed a commitment to design for modern life. However, the design prototypes that were on display remained statements of intent rather than products that were to be put into mass production. The difficulties facing progressive design were reflected in the fact that the second—and last—Zagreb Triennial was held in 1959, four years after the first and was similarly unable to convince manufacturers or society of the relevance of modern design. In the 1960s the Triennial was reformulated as the Zagreb Salon (Zagrenabacki Salon).

Subjects: Industrial and Commercial Art.


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