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Exclusive: Ana Kraš is your ultimate design girl crush

Trying to pin down what it is that Ana Kraš does, can be difficult. From photography, to drawing, to furniture design, the Serbian born creative powerhouse has a multitude of projects in various different disciplines tied to her name. With so much going on, you’d assume she would find it hard to focus, but on the contrary Kraš speaks softly and thoughtfully, making sure each word is perfect for what she’s describing. Still, if you bring up her one of her favorite shows, Master Chef Junior (in which children face off in cooking competitions) there is no holding back her excitement.

This excitement and refreshing optimism is peppered throughout much of her work. From thoughtfully crafted furniture to tonal drawings, Kraš deftly and casually hops from one project to the next, much like her easy and drifting cadence in conversation. The result is a fast-paced career that beats to the unique design sensibility of her own heart. Milk Made‘s Jordan Mack got to have a quick chat with her to see what she was up to. From food to architecture and her lack of musical prowess, the artist/photographer/designer found no lack in subjects.

How’s your day going so far?

Good! Except it’s way too hot to be very nice out. The entire summertime in New York is something I hate from the bottom of my soul.

You work within so many different mediums, how do you know when it’s time to move from one project to the next?

Well, it kind happens all at once. There’s no real schedule. Of course, if there is a deadline, that takes priority. But I do a little bit of everything every day. I do furniture and photography and drawings. Those things are different in form, but it’s all the same in that it’s coming from the same place. In a way, I don’t feel like I’m doing more than one thing. It’s the same voice singing different songs. It’s very intertwined. I also notice that when I work on a certain furniture project, it will show in my drawings. Those things tend to match.

I actually noticed that you use a lot of the same colors in your latest furniture series, Bonbons, as you do in some of your drawings.

Yeah, it all comes from the same person, which happens to be me [laughs]. It’s the same sensibility and that shows in different things, especially the color palette. I also liked muted colors and sometimes I want something a little more intense. The lamp is pretty colorful because they took pictures of more than one, but on their own they’re not that colorful. They’re colorful when a client asks for a particularly colorful thing, but without the request, I’m pretty gentle with colors. I don’t like a lot of color all at once.

Do you furnish your own home with stuff that you make or do you try and go outside?

Well to be honest. I’m renting in New York. It’s a very mobile and unfinished place because I’m probably not going to stay in this apartment for a long time. So when I furnish this, it’s not how I would furnish my house. For my house, I would have things built. I would treat it like the most exciting project of my life. I’m really looking forward to it and hopefully it will happen soon but at the very moment, I have some things because I happen to have a lot of prototypes when I’m doing new furniture projects. I have some vintage pieces, but it’s still pretty airy as far as decor goes.

What do you think is the most important room of the house?

I always really loved the living room, and growing up it was always merged with the kitchen. I prefer them to be separated. Aside from a comfortable bed, which is definitely pretty important [laughs], the most important piece to me is a big round dining table. That’s where family gathers, friends gather. You can work and eat and chat at the same time. It’s this big circular spot where everything hovers. I don’t have a large one right now, but I do have a table.

I’ve actually read an interview where you talk about how much you love food shows on Netflix, which I’m also pretty obsessed with.

[laughs] Yeah! Eat, talk, and watch food, all the time!

What are some shows that you watch?

Oh, I don’t know. It can be anything. I watched all of the ones with the little chefs? Junior something…?

Master Chef Junior! With the kids?

Yeah! That show is the most heartbreaking thing. There’s so much emotion and anxiety in it. I really fell for each one of those precious little creatures. It’s so unbelievable the way those kids can improvise! To be that age and just know all of those techniques? I just can’t. They know that these green veggies should be sautéed at this temperature. It’s insanity! It’s so beautiful and special to have such a big love and talent for something at such an early age. They’re literally standing on little stools to reach the table!

You seem like quite the foodie. If you could only eat one cuisine for the rest of your life, what would you pick?

I must say Serbian because it’s such a variety and it’s, in my opinion, one of the most interesting cuisines in the world. I also grew up with it, so my taste buds are just naturally drawn toward it. There are so many different things that I really love though. I would spent my life very unhappy if I just had to stick to one.

That makes sense. How do you feel like growing up in Serbia has informed your work?

Serbia as a country definitely had an influence visually. The style of everything is very free. There’s a lot of different styles really. It’s a patchwork of different styles. There’s no consistency or rules, and that really influenced the way I see style in general. I also see a big influence from growing up in a country that was Communist for a period of time. There’s a lot of architecture that’s specific to that, and those shapes are my favorite shapes and I can see elements of that in my work now.

Do you think that living in New York or LA have influenced that style at all?

I don’t really think so. I think these thoughts of style get installed when we are young and we just express through that. I don’t think it changes a lot. Obviously there are things that I thought were really appealing when I was younger that I find really disgusting now, but even that was subtle. From the time I was a very little girl and my parents would dress me to now, I still have the same things going on. There are definitely things like friends that affect us to a smaller degree. I think all of that – when it goes through your personal filter – stays consistent during your life.

You have mentioned that you love to walk around in New York. What are you favorite neighborhoods or seasons in New York?

Well, fall is definitely the best season because I like wearing jackets and coats, and I hate the heat. As far as neighborhoods, I don’t know really! I live in the Lower East Side and Chinatown. I really love how vivid it is. The colors, the patterns, the madness, the mess. The older Asian ladies there have the most beautiful sense of style in the world. I also really love uptown. It’s very movie-like, which I really like on that level. I like that there are so many different pockets, and that they’re so quiet to get to.

With all your other creative works, do you think you would do anything musically?

I’m not going to make music with anyone because I’m really not talented or educated in music. I love to listen to it. I like piano, which is one of my favorite things to do, but that’s really for myself and some close friends who might unfortunately find themselves in the room [laughs]. I’m so bad I’m not even upset about it [laughs].

Is there anything else you want Milk Made readers to know?

I just launched a collection for a company called Matter. It’s a new project, check it out!

Visit Ana’s website here

See the ‘Slon’ table collection here

Ana Kraš photographed by Nick Hudson

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