SMAJ product – Windows for European history from Lazarevo Selo
The company SMAJ PRODUKT is almost certainly not among those that are known to the general public. However, their windows adorn historic castles in France, villas on the shores of Lake Geneva, as well as buildings in exclusive locations across the Old Continent.
Their furniture is part of the interior of villas in Dedinje, while prefabricated houses receive awards for quality in Switzerland. All this, from the humble beginnings of the family workshop of Slaviša and Marina Đorđević, founded thirty years ago in Lazarevo village, near Niš, where the production facilities run by sons Jovan and Aleksandar are still located today, while nephew Stefan manages production of panel furniture. A family story.
– My brothers and I have been in this business since childhood, we literally started with a broom. We cleaned production, went to assembly, learned every segment of production. Even today, I can make a window on my own, but probably a little slower than my masters – says Jovan Đorđević, the director of the company, with a smile. – Father always taught us to take jobs that others can’t or won’t do. Precisely thanks to this attitude, we became one of the largest manufacturers of windows and wooden joinery in Europe and one of the three privileged partners of the French construction company VINCI.
VINCI became famous in Serbia with the purchase of the Belgrade Nikola Tesla Airport. It is the largest construction company in the world that employs over 150,000 workers. Doing business with them is a challenge. However…
– Wherever exclusive carpentry is required, we are the first suppliers – explains Jovan. – At the moment, we are engaged in a construction site in the center of Paris, where 27 buildings are being built, close to 15,000 windows that we need to deliver within 8 months. Our current capacity is 150 windows per day, we work in 3 shifts, we have about 200 employees and we try to resist all the temptations of the market in order to get the job done right.
What makes the products of SMAJ PRODUKT truly unique is the fact that, in addition to modern windows for new buildings, this company also makes replicas of windows for historical buildings.
– We are one of the few companies that specializes closely in the production of windows on buildings that are protected as cultural assets. In this field, we have many years of rich experience that we have gained all over Europe. We are currently working on a restoration project of a shipyard building from the beginning of the 19th century located in Frankfurt. The condition for getting the job was to make windows identical to those originally on the building, with all patterns, profiles and capitals, so that it would preserve its original form. All drawings and prototypes were first sent to the appropriate institutions in Berlin for approval, which we received – the young director of the SMAJ PRODUKT company points out with pleasure.
Jovan is 24 years old, and he is already the head of a company that exports windows worth over 10 million euros from Niš to Europe. In what direction will the development of this company go?
– We tend to slowly introduce new products, but we also constantly try to improve the existing ones in accordance with modern trends. We currently offer 29 types of windows, which is not small, but even so we have to find a way to add one or two new constructions every year – believes Jovan Đorđević. – Previously, the market demanded that the constructed building have standardized windows. Today, the building is designed on the basis of windows. Large size windows are in trend, we recently had a request for glass sliding doors 9 m wide and 3 m high, which is a challenge in terms of construction, logistics and everything else, but we have to follow the market. In order to round off the offer, we also opened a production plant for the production of panel furniture, which is managed by my uncle Stefan, so now, in addition to quality windows and prefabricated houses, we can also offer customers complete interior fittings.
Mr. Đorđević sees the production of windows for historical buildings as another direction of his company’s development, but he is also aware of the challenges ahead.
– Whenever we think that there are no more investments, that we have acquired all the necessary machines and mastered the production technology, it turns out that it is not so. From year to year, new requests arrive that need to be followed up. The latest example of this is the order for windows to be installed in three castles not far from Paris, which requires the use of a “wolf’s mouth” construction, which is so specific that only a few companies in Europe can make it. We see our great opportunity in this segment of the market and want to continue to invest in improving our knowledge in this sensitive field, so that our windows will continue to be the first choice when the time comes for the restoration of such historical buildings – says our interlocutor.
For Jovan and his family, working with wood is not just a job. They are proud of their work and the country where their products come from.
– During the restoration of the building in Frankfurt, it was fascinating to me how much the Germans try to preserve every detail. Rails, cranes, transport chains have been preserved on that shipyard building, when a person touches something so old, he somehow feels all that history. But when I look and see my window, made in Serbia, in little Lazarevo Selo, I like it even more, and that feeling is indescribable. We from Serbia, and especially from the south, are often underestimated by people, people think that everything is dying out here, and we are renovating and restoring the cultural heritage of one Germany, people from all over Europe value our work. That gives me great hope – proudly emphasizes Jovan Đorđević.
BIESSE technology in the service of productivity
– Previously, we based production on manual work and one machine on which we could only work straight elements.
With the purchase of a new CNC BIESSE WINLINE machining center, we have the opportunity to machine arches and to process specific elements that require drilling at an angle. We used to do all these things by hand, and it took us 3-4 hours per piece to drill, while processing the onions took a whole day. With the introduction of BIESSE WINLINE in our production process, the drilling time per piece has been reduced to ten minutes, while in five minutes we process the arc piece, which is incomparably faster. As for the service support, I have nothing but praise for it. In cases where the machine stops, after reporting the failure, it often happened that the TOP TECH WOODWORKING technicians came within 2-3 hours and started solving the problem, so production stoppages are really minimal – says director Jovan Đorđević.
The wolf and the wooden house
– Part of the production of wooden houses is managed by my brother Aleksandar. Here in Serbia, people are skeptical when prefabricated houses are mentioned, because they seem to believe in the story of the three little pigs, then a wolf comes, blows and demolishes the house. That’s what almost all customers think, until they come to our production and see how the wood is laminated, how the beams are installed, only then they start to think differently because they understand what it is that we produce.
Those prefabricated houses have walls up to 40 cm thick, where basically one light bulb is enough to heat one room in the house, without additional heating elements.
We received the award for the best project for the first house we built and assembled in Switzerland, which is completely passive in the environment. All those standards that we apply abroad, we also use in our country. We are currently working on the construction of ten prefabricated houses in Niš, where the price per square meter includes a solar power plant, arranged parking spaces, a tidy yard, fence, interior, underfloor heating, all that is rarely offered to buyers in Serbia.