Svetlana Mojic is an interior designer in Novi Sad, Serbia and designs yachts and other spaces on land, sea and air. She opened her “Salt & Water Design Studio” in 2011 as a sole proprietor. Since then she has dedicated herself to her business and today has a team of five employees. dc: Svetlana, how
Svetlana Mojic is an interior designer in Novi Sad, Serbia and designs yachts and other spaces on land, sea and air. She opened her “Salt & Water Design Studio” in 2011 as a sole proprietor. Since then she has dedicated herself to her business and today has a team of five employees.
dc: Svetlana, how did you come to work as a yacht designer?
Svetlana Mojić: I design spaces – on land, on water and in the air. Our lives are getting faster and faster and it seems important to me to make the most of them. I am convinced that the space we are in influences our subconscious so that we can feel better. I spent over a decade in the Serbian sailing team, which is why I feel so connected to water and where my love for yacht design comes from. Spending so much time on and in the water has led me to admire people who have boats. They really know how to enjoy nature in everyday life. I studied architecture and tried to go my own way. It looks like I found it!
My main interest is to design yachts, or other floating objects for lakes, rivers and canals, which are often still untouched regions with great recreational potential. Nowadays, most of us hardly have the opportunity to spend weeks on holiday. Instead, we take a few days off a year. Inland waters can be especially valuable – design and structure, close to our home, can replenish our life batteries and cast a special spell, reduce stress and strengthen our immune system.
Design follows function – what does that mean for you and where do you get your inspiration?
Limitations and specifications make our work difficult. But they also give us an opportunity to find answers and make great design possible. Nowadays everyone can easily be inspired by Instagram, Pinterest, etc. But the problem is, if something looks good on a picture or photo, it doesn’t mean it’s the right answer for you and your environment. I always look first for the genius loci (the spirit of a place) and also for geometry. After carefully defining the basic function, we begin to think about the appearance. All sailors learn this in a storm: During the storm everyone is worried whether something is working and whether it can be used properly. Only then do we talk about aesthetics.
Inspiration always depends on the project, but it can appear anywhere. I get a lot of ideas when I feel free, usually close to the water.
But finding inspiration is not always easy in a company. There is so much else to do. I divide my time between the different topics and reserve time for my creative work.
You are a member of a network for self-employed women. Does this help to have more or better contacts?
It’s always easier if you know someone who has been in a similar situation to you and ‘survived’. UPZ (Udruzenje Poslovnih Zena Srbije) has helped me enormously to develop my business and my career, and great friendships all over the country have also supported me.
In the book “Danube Women Stories” you are introduced as a modern personality in Novi Sad. Should women be brought more ‘in front of the curtain’?
There are great stories about women around us. But many people don’t know anything about them. Although it has got better in recent years, this is especially important for girls. We have to prepare them for life as women and make sure that they feel equal to boys and men. Events like ‘Inspiration Girls’ or ‘Girls’ Day’ are important activities and I am proud to be part of them.
Where did you study design?
I completed my architectural studies at the Technical Faculty in Novi Sad and then specialised in yacht design and construction at the European Design Institute in Venice.
How big is your team and what are your plans for the future?
We are a team of five women. Each has their own specialisation and that’s why we work together so well. I have a wealth of ideas on how we can help people improve their lives and enjoy nature. I hope we will have the opportunity to realize some of them.
Do you also have international partnerships in the Danube region?
Not yet, but I would be happy about such co-operations in the future. In Serbia there is a well-known song: ‘The Danube is my sea, but not salty’. And definitely the Danube had a big influence on my life and my family.
What does your daily routine usually look like?
Normally I divide my days by tasks, but since I am pregnant, I have dropped some activities. There are also days when I’m not in the office, at least once a week, to visit potential customers, construction sites or cooperation partners. This can sometimes take the whole day. Last week I was in Croatia at a ship-yard. They are building a 49-meter-long yacht for which I designed the interior with my team. The week before, I went to Belgrade for a financial management course targeted at female entrepreneurs. This week I want to visit a new construction site at Fruška Gora National Park and one evening I will participate in the annual meeting of the Women Entrepreneurs Association in Belgrade.
When I am not pregnant, I enjoy cycling every day and going to yoga twice a week. I am looking forward to doing that again when my baby is born!
by Sabine Geller
Even more stories of successful women in the Danube region can be found in the book DANUBE WOMEN STORIES, sponsored by the Baden-Württemberg Foundation in the program “Perspective Danube: Education, Culture and Civil Society”. Continuation will follow in a new edition in mid-2020 with further stories from even more cities.