Thursday, 28 November 2019

Trogir, Marked by Masters: Red Coral Jewelry from Mišel

November 28, 2019 - TCN meets the modern masters of Trogir in our latest series. First up, the red coral king Marin Miše of Mišel jewelry.

Earlier this week the town of Trogir unveiled a new branding strategy, visual identity, and promotional video, becoming the first coastal destination in Croatia to use branding at such a serious and professional level.

The result of the creative process is the slogan “Marked by Masters”, influenced by the continuity of life in Trogir for over 3600 years, the great masters who have operated in Trogir since the Middle Ages, and the indelible traces that these masters leave. 

While the medieval master builders, sculptors, and stone-cutters who lived and created in Trogir left their mark through the traces of graffiti around the town, centuries later, we can find Trogir’s modern masters thriving as artists, chefs, jewelers, tailors, and klapa singers, to name a few. 

Today, we meet Marin Miše of Mišel, a master of red coral jewelry.

Wandering Trogir’s twisted streets, it’s easy to miss the unassuming entrance to the Mišel workshop, nor would anyone presume that the expertise of five generations of red coral jewelers could be found behind their doors. 

Namely, Mišel is a family-owned business with a tradition lasting over 100 years. Run today by Marin Miše and his two sisters Marina and Vesna, the family’s jewelry tradition began by great grandfather Duje in the 19th century, though the family’s first storefront came only in 1932 when grandfather Filip opened a shop in Split. 


“Duje had three sons: Marina, Filip and Vjeko, who were famous jewelers, though Filip was the most famous. In 1937, when Roma and Hajduk played in Split, he gave Hajduk's best player Mario Krulz a gold watch. He had his shop on Morpurgova poljana in Split. My grandfather Aleksander was Marina’s son. He was born in 1920 and at the age of 12, he made his first gold brooch. In 1962, he took part in an exhibition in Milan, where he presented two models of gold rings and garnered all praise. My grandfather opened his first store in 1970 near Trogir's southern city gate. In the 1980s, the shop moved closer to the current location, which has been at Gradska ulica 22 since the early 1990s. Unfortunately, my father Gordan, who was also very successful in running the business, died early,” Marin recalled in an interview for Slobodna Dalmacija back in 2016. 

Marin’s mother and father were killed in a car accident when he was 18. He has been determined to continue their craft ever since.

Today, Mišel creates jewelry and art pieces from precious metals, gems and other natural materials borrowed from the earth and the sea. 

“I travel the world in search of high-quality gemstones and corals. Mines in India, Asia, Africa, and South America supply the perfect materials for our collection of cosmopolitan jewelry that exudes the Mediterranean spirit,” Marin says. 


Given he has the right inspiration and materials, Marin claims he can craft a piece of jewelry in just a few hours - moments even. However, more complex pieces can see the process take years. This, of course, depends on how easily the materials are acquired and how grueling the artistic process is based on the needs of the client. 

Marin gathers his inspiration from nature, which can be seen in Mišel’s considerable collection of red coral jewelry, their most recognizable product. 


Thanks to Mišel’s unique coral, they’ve been lucky to travel not only around Croatia, but the world. In addition to the mineral fairs in Split and Zagreb, Mišel is a regular in the United States at the Tuscan Gem Show, the largest in the world. 


“My jewelry pieces are not just jewelry; they are small sculptures. I design them and craft them with care and love. They will be recognized by people who feel a strong connection to Mother Nature and the Creator. More than one hundred years of keeping the tradition and following modern trends is no small feat,” Marin says.

Mišel is currently preparing for the next Tuscan Gem Show in January 2020, but until then, you can find them in the heart of Trogir, at Gradska ulica 22, or in the lobby of luxury hotel Le Meridien Lav in Split. And if you're not in Croatia? Take a look at the creative coral collections on Mišel's website.

To read more about the modern masters leaving their mark on Trogir today, as well as the latest from this gorgeous UNESCO World Heritage Site, follow the dedicated TCN Trogir page.

Monday, 25 November 2019

Marked by Masters: Trogir Unveils Stunning New Branding

November the 25th, 2019 - ‘’Our wish through branding is to become one of a number of similar destinations in the Adriatic and to become recognisable by the variety of special features we have,’’ stated Mayor Ante Bilic when discussing Marked by Masters, Trogir's new brand.

Antonio Franić i Milan Latković.jpg

The City of Trogir unveiled a new branding strategy, a new visual identity and a new promotional video for the city. At an event in a crowded town square, the professional public and other citizens were presented with the project that Trogir made as the first city in Dalmatia. After a year and a half of work involving more than a hundred people in various ways, Trogir has become the first coastal destination to begin branding at such a serious and professional level.

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The aim of the project was to identify the features that distinguish Trogir from other cities and to shape them into a new slogan, logo and narrative that will be talked about primarily by the residents of Trogir, those who work in tourism, residents of this Dalmatian region, local and foreign tourists, and the media. The idea is that by using heritage and local specialities in a contemporary context and by enhancing authentic values, the city can be positioned not only as one of the most desirable Croatian destinations, but also Mediterranean destinations. The project is modelled after many European destinations, such as Glasgow, Eindhoven, Bologna, Berlin..., which, after branding, recorded a number of positive economic effects, all of which Trogir also wants to achieve.

Ana Tomić i majstorska tura.jpg

“We decided to embark on this project because, by looking at foreign examples, we realised the positive impact that quality branding has on the lives of local people. We’re also aware that the market is changing and that only those who respond to the needs of today's tourists will be able to continue to develop without compromising the quality of life of local people. We wish, through branding, to profile ourselves among a number of similar destinations in the Adriatic and to become recognisable by the range of special features we have. Trogir deserves it primarily for the people who live here and create it, its beauty and heritage and the fact that it has been on the UNESCO list for 22 years,’’ said Mayor Ante Bilic, adding: 

‘’We want to stop Trogir from becoming a fast food destination. I’m proud that we, and on such a high level, were the first in Dalmatia to launch such a complex project which is based not only on new and beautiful visuals, but on a strategy that should guide us in the coming years, and, I repeat, bring great benefits to Trogir and to our fellow citizens. There are still many steps ahead of us and we’ll certainly be learning as we go, but I hope that we will soon become a positive example and that other cities will follow us.’’

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The project was worked on by the internationally award-winning Zagreb-based Fabular, a member of the REBRAND Hall of Fame™ Professional Association, among the top 25 brand consultants in the world, led by branding strategy director Anja Bauer, author of the proprietary "8 Branding Ingredients" formula and leading branding expert in Croatia.

In a process that lasted for more than a year, an extensive interdisciplinary survey was conducted on the perception, potential and challenges of Trogir, which analysed historical material, conducted surveys with locals and tourists, and talked to all meritorious people in the city - from historians, craftsmen, caterers, museum staff, City, Tourist Board, tourist guides…

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"Working on Trogir’s branding was interesting, intriguing, invigorating, instructive. Trogir is a place that fascinated us with its beauty and its depth of meaning and we all enjoyed creating its story. Through our research, we’ve identified three key things, impressive features that make up the identity of Trogir. These are the continuities of life over 3600 years, then the great masters who have been operating there since the Middle Ages up to this day, and the indelible traces that these masters leave. These are the three main elements, the so-called sweet spot of Trogir, based upon which we created the strategy,’’ said Anja Bauer, owner and creative director of Fabular.

The author of the new visual identity of Trogir is Maja Bagic Baric, one of the most respected Croatian designers. Fabular found the signature of 13th-century master Muscardell in the interior of the Cathedral of Trogir. Nikola Đurek, Faculty Professor in Split and Zagreb, who is otherwise the most famous Croatian typographer, created a new font. In the creative process, a new city slogan was created: "Marked by Masters".

Posjet ture koraljaru Marinu Miši.jpg

"The new visual identity of the city of Trogir outlines traces carved in stone and unique, world-class art. Inspiration was found in old traces, signatures and notes left by the medieval masters at the Cathedral of St. Lawrence and the Church of St. John the Baptist. 

It is a trace of a mark in time that bears witness not only to the supreme creativity, but also to life and play - a prayer - a sailboat and a permit and the completion of construction of Radovan’s stamp. The logo depicts a the lines for a traditional game called Trlja (Mlin) carved in stone; it is one of the common clues left by the masters at St. Paul's Cathedral. St. Lawrence and the Church of St. John the Baptist.

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It tells us about the simplicity and beauty of living in Trogir, and points out that in addition to magnificent buildings, the beauty of everyday life in Trogir is equally inspiring. A system of pictograms has been developed, inspired by the urban and artistic heritage of the city of Trogir, as well as outlining everyday life through the traces and graffiti left by the medieval masters builders, sculptors and stone-cutters who lived and created things here, who, centuries later, still vividly testify to the intertwining of the sublime and the living,’’ explained Anja Bauer.

The project has also seen a new promotional video of Trogir created, and behind the footage is the multi internationally award-winning Split cinematographer Milan Latkovic. The shooting lasted for 30 days, with five hours of footage, the first of which was created in a series of videos showing Trogir in a new light.

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The video is special in that it involves many people, with an emphasis on craftsmen (masters), both those who created it, and many contemporary craftsmen - sculptors, painters, coralers, tanneries, as well as children from Trogir’s schools and kindergartens, athletes, grandmothers from the market and many others, olive growers, beekeepers, winemakers, chefs ..., all the people who make the city what it is.

"The filming was interesting and fun, and sometimes even dangerous, such as when we went into the apiary in shorts. There were also ankle twists along Trogir’s cobbles, the clouds knew how to cover the sun when it was not needed, but we still managed to capture everything just as we’d imagined.

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There were days when we were filming at 12 o'clock, which at 35 degrees and when the sun is at its most fierce can be quite exhausting, but in the lives of me and my colleague Ratko Ilijic, this is common. All for a good shot. We met a lot of great people from Trogir and learned many things we didn't know about the city, even though we’d been there so many times before. We were most impressed by the craftsmen who work there and who haven’t been influenced by the negative effects of mass tourism, but who instead stick to tradition. It was challenging to reduce five hours of material don to just three minutes, but modern trends want short forms. Fortunately, we have so much great stuff captured that the plan and desire is to make a series of small videos in the next year in which we’ll show everything we filmed. It would be a shame not to see all that, too,’’ said Milan Latkovic.

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Many heads of tourist boards, tour guides, hotel and agency managers and other tourism professionals had the opportunity to visit the city for the first time today in a so-called masterful tour through which all the special features of the new branding of the city were shown, and the tour was led by an experienced guide, a Trogir native, Ana Tomić. The famous Trogir chef Robert Predrag Žmire also joined the project, not only as a face in the video, but also as the author of a special, modern menu made up of traditional Trogir dishes. For this occasion, children from kindergartens in Trogir worked on a project to play traditional games such as Trlja, with the aim of preventing them from escaping collective memory.

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‘’The branding of a destination is very important, especially when it comes to tourist cities, for which tourism is one of the main branches of the economy. I really liked what I saw in Trogir and this is the direction that all Dalmatian cities should go in in terms of developing their brand, and I can say that Split is going in that direction as well,’’ said Alijana Vukšić, director of the Split Tourist Board.

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In the coming years, the implementation of this project will follow, aiming at what everyone wants - to attract the more affluent, the so-called cultural tourists who stay longer and spend more through the revitalisation of neglected and hidden locations, both in the core and beyond, then the lengthening of the season, holding ‘’master’’ workshops, organising various events which encompass Trogir’s new brand throughout the year, cooperating with universities, hosting art colonies, and sports competitions.

Nove majice s novim vizualnim identitetom.jpgLjubo Jelavić (vina Kairos) i Marija Rožić.jpgDanijela Raguž, Ivica Profaca i Paul Bradbury.jpgRuža Kovačević Bilić, Ante Bilić i Viktor Novak.jpgRobert Predrag Žmire.jpgAlijana Vukšić.jpgAlijana Vukšić i Ante Bilić.jpg

Find out more about Marked by Masters and Trogir's branding by watching the video below:

Follow our dedicated travel page for more information on Trogir, Marked by Masters and much more.