by Elizabeth Lavis | 14 Feb 2022
For Sara Badovinac of Studio Prapra, the key to great design comes down to marrying the details with the big picture. “I became a designer by starting as an architect,” she said. “As an architect, I learned to think about the bigger context. As a designer, I delve deeper into the details. Basically, it’s constant zooming in and out.”
Badovinac’s architectural background allows her to appreciate spatial design and integrate it into her daily work, giving her a fresh perspective that sets her designs apart from the pack. Badovinac and her team work predominately with cultural institutions and organizations and strive to build long-term relationships with their clients.
One of the mandates that her agency, Studio Prapra, has is to find the essence of each task and work methodically to see it through productively and comprehensively. The Slavic prefix “Pra” refers to getting to the elementary root of a project. By doing this, Badovinac and her team can intensely focus on what needs to get done at the moment and maximize their time accordingly.
“If you learn how to take time, focus, observe things, and remember the parts that excite you, you will have one of the greatest tools that you can have as a designer,” she said. Focus is really the secret ingredient in Badovinac’s success. “I try to pause everything else around me and just focus on what needs to be done,” she said. “I guess that came along with experience.”
By adequately managing her time, Badovinac is able to cut down on stress and mistakes. “The biggest pressure is to stay calm during tense situations, which are usually the result of bad time planning,” she said. In addition, working under stress generally results in a less successful and detail-oriented product. As such, Badovinac tries to eliminate unnecessary tension. “I, like everyone else, work better in normal non-stress situations,” she said.
Badovinac credits her ability to appreciate the finer details to her mentor Jan Jagodic, who helped her understand the importance of paying attention to minutia. She also starts her design process by analyzing all possible outcomes and dimensions, then working on several drafts until one works.
Usually, her clients respond positively, but when they don’t, Badovinac responds in her trademark way, staying entirely calm and addressing their core needs. “First, I try to clarify the expectations since most of the bitter moments are actually misunderstandings,” she said. From there, Badovinac and her team work together to find a mutually beneficial solution.
Badovinac stays apprised of the latest trends in her spare time by visiting art exhibits and attending workshops. “Each year, I also attend Milano Design Week and other yearly events that are in my vicinity,” she said. She also draws inspiration from whimsical and uncommon places, like the Italian markets near her home. “My happiest moment is on Saturdays when we go to the nearby market to buy fresh food and coffee,” she said.
When she’s not hard at work creating the next epic design, Badovinac can be found watching old movies. She’s particularly fond of Fellini. “I love the ones with Giulietta Masina,” she said. “She is just adorable.” She also takes long daily walks. “After a long working day, it cleans up my mind and creates space for new thoughts and discoveries,” she said.
Badovinac’s key advice for budding designers is simple; “stick to your daily routine. Walk each day. Don’t talk about work while eating. You do you.”