TR: Ferdinand Chrenka

Talking Repairably with Ferdinand Chrenka. This time we would like to present designer from Feromon Design Studio and professor at the Academy of Fine Arts and Design in Bratislava, leader of the Atelier of industrial design. His answers to our simple questions reveal his creative and mindful personality.


How would you define your design philosophy in 1 phrase?
I am a classic, I try to make things functional and at the same time aesthetically visually beautiful. I like to create products, that make sense.

How would you describe the ideal/ target user of the products you design?
Cultural person. I think, that it is all about education, of his/her consciousness, his wisdom, values, that he/she has inside. It is said, that if a person is educated, he/she has got higher expectations in a way. Expectations to the quality of life, to design, alimentation and so on. Such a person is a driving engine for a designer, that is our ideal partner.

What is the design you are most proud of?
Baobab, a solar-wind power station, on which I currently work. According to the climate conditions it uses either the wind or the solar energy. So it can survive also in inhospitable conditions, in a similar way as a baobab that lives in places with dry periods, and has a multiple usage.

From the existing projects I like the idea of flying wind power station (electric power station). My project, in its shape inspired by a marbled electric ray (Torpedo marmorata), is called Manta (note: electric ray in Slovak language). The higher this power station flies the bigger wind energy moves its screw/propeller. In the reality the wingspan takes at least 200 meters, but so far I have made a prototype with a width of 11 meters. (smile) You can find out more here.

Manta- wind power station, design by Ferdinand Chrenka

Manta- wind power station, prototype presented in Aurelium Science Center, Bratislava

What is your main professional goal for the future?
To be happy and I do a lot for it. (smile)

Teaching is a mediated happiness, if it goes well… and it does if I do care. I do not teach design but a lifestyle.

Is there a designer or a producer you would assign as green or sustainable?
(Long silence)… I do not have any concrete example. There is hardly anybody that would be compact enough to fascinate me so much. I have got my inspiration sources from my youth, like Henry Moore, Alexander Calder, Roden. Also in design there are many personalities that would be worth mentioning, but many times it happens that what is exceptional in the catalogue is not successful in the production or opposite. For me the sustainability in design is related to minimalism, simplicity and functionality.

Henry Moore, Figure in a Shelter, 1983 photo: Nigel Moore, The Henry Moore Foundation

What inspires you in the environment/ country you work in?
The environment/ country is a testimony. If it is full of paper and waste, it is a testimony about us. It is an echo of our values, here in Slovakia it is constructed without any conscience, the developers do not have any moral responsibility and we then live in a depression of a “bad” country.

And what is my inspiration? If it is a service for a specific manufacturer, first I study the topic properly- simply you need to create a relationship with the product. Later you create based on its function, but that is only one part, the other is about esprit, inspiration, shaping. I like to amuse myself by designing, and then the inspiration can be anything, whatever.

Question designer to designer:
This time by: Taina and Jérémy, from Frame Design Studio

How do you interact with companies or manufacturers to achieve a good product/ design?
You have to be different in something. To offer solutions, that are unique. To find technological solutions, to offer alternative to the existing functions. The first basic design evaluation is its creativity, it has to provide uniqueness, exceptionality. Our profession is about being different. Also we have to be concerned about the final state of the product, but that also depends on the values of the society and of the producer.

What comes to your mind when you think of:

  • waste: I minimalize it, I like when the waste is not produced at all, and if then we separate it.
  • repairably: I find it very natural, if something gets broken, I try to repair it. Unfortunately the business nowadays is more about interchangeability, not repair, I find it unsympathetic.
  • plastic (as material): The people normally pretend that it is an ecological enemy, but as a material it is good for the society, sometimes irreplaceable. I like plastics if they can get recycled and their value does not devaluate. Mostly the plastic can be shredded and it continues working. I like “smart plastics”. (smile)
  • circular economy: Thanks to the internet (youtube, google and so on) I see deeper into how the circulation in the world works. I see how all the trash finished in the third world countries- we have to set up rules for a sustainable life, because my mess is our mess.
  • smart phone: I have that age of not too little neither too much (smile). I do not have any apathy against the mobile phones. In a rational extent they can serve for good, it depends on everyone how he/she uses it. If it does not enslave the person and its usage is logical.
  • your favorite kitchen appliance: knife
  • your grandmother’s favorite kitchen appliance: Hmm, I do not know. A chipped enameled pan with smashed eggs inside perhaps.
  • best human invention: I like so many things. Natural instruments as are for example the musical instruments or the breaking/ decelerating toilet seat cover.
  • best invention of this century: Usage of the clean energies, solar and wind energy.

thx to:

Ferdinand Chrenka