Erida Curraj

XXIX Cycle - (A.A. 2013-2014)

Home Institution: Polis University Tirana
Without Scholarship
Curriculum: Architecture (ICAR13)
Research Topic: Furniture Design
Tutor DA-UNIFE: Giuseppe Mincolelli
Tutor Polis University: Gezim Qendro
Nationality: Albanian



Erida Curraj is an innovation designer and architect with an extensive professional work experience both in Albania and abroad, particularly in Europe and China. Drawing from diverse fields of practice throughout her career – product design and development, human-centred design, business strategy, organisation change, research and learning – she blends in one both business and academic profiles. She has graduated with excellence as an Architect from the Polytechnic University of Tirana and has recently completed her PhD Studies jointly at Ferrara University, Italy and Polis University, Albania. Her doctoral research project explores the transformation of home furniture design and development process from communism to mass customization. Ms Curraj has thus set up and made available to businesses and academics two original and comprehensive databases: (i) home furniture design in communist Albania (1945 to 1990); and (ii) Do-It-Yourself home furniture designs in post-communist free market in Albania. Currently she works as an innovation designer and consultant for various local and international entrepreneurs investing in Albania. In addition, she teaches a master course in Industrial Product Development at the Department of Art Design at Polis University. Finally, she is highly involved in societal challenges such as youth by working as a mentor and project manager for civil society organisations. Ms. Curraj a critical thinker, a challenger and success-driven person with excellent creativity skills and strategic foresight.

Research skills
Design research | Creativity | Analytical & Critical Thinking | Project Management

Scientific activities



Doctoral research

Reinventing Furniture Design in the Post-communist Era in Albania: Towards the Mass-customization Paradigm.

The dynamics of the Albanian market and society in lieu of the multifaceted transformations following the collapse of the communist regime and moving towards free market economy deeply impact the ways in which home furniture products are designed, developed and produced. This study explores the transformation of home furniture product design in Albania from communism to post-communism. Furthermore, the study looks into ‘Do-it-yourself’ (D-I-Y) product design as an emerging pattern in home furniture in Albania responding to both the consumers’ needs as well as global trends. This constitutes an under researched area in Albanian scholarship as a thorough, systematic and comparative study on the furniture design process and development in two different time periods has not been conducted earlier and studies on the ‘D-I-Y’ market in Albania have also been scarce. The central aim of the study is to explore in what ways and to what extent the home furniture design and development process has been transformed from communism to post-communism. This is done through a qualitative research approach, which is flexible, inductive and exploratory. A single case study is analysed and archival research, interviews and systematic observations are the key data collection methods. This doctoral study puts forward the hypothesis that the impact of moving from mass production in a centralized economy to free mass customisation in market economy has not radically transformed the fundamental properties of home furniture but has affected the design, development, delivery and materiality of products. This doctoral study demonstrates that the most outstanding feature of furniture design during communism was the “purity of design”, which comes as the result of an entire well-organised and performed furniture design process. It was based on the principle of rationality and necessity interlinked with the socio-economic and political contexts during communism in Albania. During the first decade of free market economy, furniture design process and products in Albania can be characterised as “turbo design” affected by socio-economic factors such as: mass emigration of population; internal migration from rural to urban areas; mass constructions without proper architectural planning; land occupation and construction of private houses and large apartment buildings in the main cities. D-I-Y home furniture design after 2000’s in Albania rapidly emerged and consolidated. Local D-I-Y companies like Megatek succeeded because they managed to adapt to the needs and cultural attitudes of Albanian customers as well as the global trends on furniture design process and products, but at the same time they worked to educate the Albanian customers towards D-I-Y products. By developing their own prototypes in furniture design there was also a nationalistic dimension of Made in Albania products. This thesis provides a clever and interesting proxy to study the overall development and transformation of Albanian society in the past 25 years and to show how domestic conditions and international pressures have interacted to change the behaviour of Albanian consumers through the development of home furniture. Also, the thesis provides a novel framework for examining home furniture development in emerging economies and post-communist countries. In addition, the thesis provides also a potentially suitable framework to examine similar countries to Albania and also rely on the development of home furniture as a proxy for studying consumers’ behaviour.

Product Design | Mass Production | Mass Customisation | Post-communism | DIY