With a history that spans over a century and four generations, Zanat is a company as unique as their collection of handmade furniture designs. Characterised by the wood carving techniques developed by the founders’ ancestors, Zanat’s design-led products bridge the gap between modern manufacturing techniques and quality craftsmanship.
Zanat’s story can be traced back to the early 20th century, when the founders’ grandfather started a humble furniture business, using the wood-carving techniques taught to him by his father. This type of carved furniture design, to become known as the ‘Bosnian Konjic style’, is local to Konjic, a town in Southern Bosnia where the company is still based. Over the following decades, the business, complete with it’s signature skills and style, were passed down the generations of the Niksic family. Despite taking on different forms, and ceasing production during multiple wars, the core principles remained the same; to produce hand-crafted furniture, uncompromised in quality and innovation.
The brand as we know it today took form in 1995, after the end of the Bosnian war. Brothers Adem and Orhan Niksic developed a new vision for the company, inspired by their appreciation for modern design and their disillusionment with the growing gap between modern design and quality craftsmanship. With this revolutionary concept behind them, their products gained international recognition, winning multiple awards at Cologne Furniture Fair in 2012.
Off the back of this success, the brothers desired to establish their enterprise’s commitment to social justice and to the environment. Based in an area where unemployment is high, the company creates opportunities for local people, providing work and training for both accomplished wood workers and entry level apprentices. In the interest of preserving Bosnia’s abundant forests, Zanat strives to achieve a carbon neutral footprint, sourcing their wood from sustainable sources and enforcing a zero wood waste policy.
Drawing on their rich cultural heritage, Zanat offers a varied range of design-led, hand-crafted products. In addition to their in-house design team, the company offers the opportunity for established designers such as Monica Förster to collaborate with trained craftsmen. From furniture to accessories, each piece is individually carved, unique in pattern and texture at the hand of the creator. For the Nera collection of tables, stool and bowls, and the Nur mirror, the acclaimed Swedish designer has channeled her minimal Scandinavian style, creating pieces that are at once functional, and objects of decorative art.
Several Zanat products are included in the official cultural heritage collection of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and the Niksic family’s signature carving technique has been nominated to be included in the UNESCO World Intangible Cultural Heritage List.