In the realm of corporate product development, the quest for innovation and authenticity often takes a back seat. So, when we got a call from the Riyasat of the Islamic Community in Bosnia and Herzegovina to design items for a special project and add our touch of tradition and creativity, we were overjoyed with the opportunity.
The project in question is called ‘Under the Sky of Bright Faith: Islam and Europe in the Bosnian Experience’, which aims to depict the cultural-civilizational heritage of Islamic religious life in Bosnia and Herzegovina, along with its modern achievements and values through an extensive multidimensional and multimedia presentation.
This wasn’t our first foray into such exhibits but it was definitely the most memorable one yet. Being in the company of such luminaries like Studio Amir Vuk Zec, Prof. Dr. Aida Abadzic-Hodzić (one of the country’s preeminent history experts and the leading lady of the project), and everyone in between, we were honored to be entrusted with encapsulating the essence of centuries of diverse tradition in the form of souvenirs and gift shop items.
The assignment was not only an artistic challenge but also a profound learning experience that refined our approach to product development.
The process began with a deep exploration of Bosnian Muslim culture, customs, and religious practices. Understanding the significance of every motif, symbol, and tradition allowed us to infuse an authentic flair into each product, shaping the foundation of our product development journey. We believe that the first and foremost requirement in corporate product development is to be genuinely invested in the heritage and values of the entity you're representing.
Perfect match for Bazerdžan, right?
As the exclusive curator of the exhibition's gift shop, we meticulously designed and presented an array of products that captured the heart of Bosniak heritage. Let’s start with the notebooks and framed posters with the illustration of ‘Banjalučka serdžada’ (as it is locally known) - a unique and authentically Bosnian piece of Islamic history.
Also known as a seccade in Turkish, serdžada is a form of a small rug or mat that Muslims use during their daily prayers. What’s notable about the Banja Luka variant is that it’s the only work of art from the Ottoman era named after a place in Bosnia and, as such, has remained to this day distinguished and recognized around the world.
Made through golden embroidery, there’s an unusual thickness to it. First produced in the 17th century (possibly even earlier), the curiosity of this historical piece is reflected in the fact that there are only a few of them remaining across the globe. As the “production” stopped after 1850, this is a lost form of art that is preserved through 30 or so pieces.
Original Banjalučka serdžada | Photo: Kenan Šurković
Another notable thing: the Banja Luka serdžada was usually meant as a decorative piece hanging off the wall rather than a prayer mat, as is the traditional and widespread use.
Then, we did an illustration of a nišan (tombstone) of Omer-agha Bašić. While there is very little known of the agha himself, the legacy he left in the form of a grandiose tombstone remains firmly etched into our history. Built at the very end of the 18th century, featuring a classic turban shape and decorated with details of mace and oriental motifs, the nišan is the tallest in the Balkan region (possibly even Europe) at 4.12 meters.
Nišan of Omer-agha Bašić in Glamoč | Photo by Mirza Hasanefendić
What’s interesting here is that tombstones were made in accordance with the social status of the deceased, but apparently, Omer-agha Bašić made his while alive. We honored this monumental piece for the occasion with a poster.
We also want to mention t-shirts with the ‘almasli grana’ (almas branch) motif. In Ottoman times, almas was one of the most recognized and desirable gemstones, from which almas branch was uniquely crafted. As such, it became a precious piece of jewelry, passed on to generations.
Almasli grana is characterized by an elegant and refined look that mostly uses floral motifs to accentuate its natural vibe. It was an important piece of urban culture back in the day, often solidifying someone’s social status. Notably, the jewelry was worn on virtually all major occasions, from births to weddings and formal gatherings.
Real-life example of almasli grana
Postcards with traditional ibrik motifs
Our collaboration with the project organizers highlights the importance of tailoring products to suit the cultural, religious, and historical context. It's not merely about creating products - it's about crafting an experience that resonates with a specific community and its values.
Step into the world of corporate product development with Bazerdžan
As we reflect on our involvement with such a majestic project, we recognize the immense potential for fashion companies to expand their horizons. The world of corporate product development offers opportunities to bridge the gap between artistic expression and corporate branding. It's about creating products that tell a story, honor traditions, and capture the spirit of a culture.
We invite executives and decision-makers to join us on this exciting journey as we collaborate to bring your vision to life. Whether it's gifts, office supplies, clothing, or any other category, we are ready to infuse your products with the spirit of your brand and heritage. Together, we can embark on a creative adventure that transcends expectations and leaves a lasting impact.
Bazerdžan team at the exhibition