Report of the Hungarian Design Council for the year 2004

Report of the Hungarian Design Council for the year 2004

Foreword by Dr. Miklós Bendzsel, Chairman of the Hungarian Design Council and President of the Hungarian Patent Office.

On the Road to Success
We have passed a long way and can proudly establish that the past three years have been a success. The Government set up our council so that more and more people in our country, now a member of the most developed Euro-Atlantic region, realise the social, economic and cultural role played by design in the developed market economies of the new millennium. We have never had an easy task regarding that the shift to market economy has fundamentally changed the status of the Hungarian designer community. After the restructuring of our economy, the traditional big industrial clients disappeared while the increasingly capitalised medium-size and small enterprises, which are the typical new clients for design, have not fully realised yet the great potential hidden in the traditions of Hungarian design and the talent of the new generations of designers.
It is our very task to create the institutional framework of design, promote modern design values, support and regularly award young designers, and to encourage the documentation of our heritage in design culture thereby drawing the attention of potential Hungarian and international investors and clients to the national treasure represented by our design traditions which, if revived in an innovative way, are capable of boosting the domestic economy as it happened in other European countries, for instance in the United Kingdom.
There is no doubt that the biggest achievement in the last year of our first mandate was the foundation of Design Terminál Public Benefit Company.; this new organisation provides a solid background for the Council's strategic activity which was clearly evidenced by the Design Week event organised by Terminál in the autumn. The cause of design has never been given such publicity in Hungary before. The successful exhibitions, specifically the exhibition presenting the 25 years of the Hungarian Design Award at the Museum of Applied Arts, design tours, book and magazine presentations, various conferences and meetings have given evidence to the young and "great old" designer generations as well as to the public that design is an important part of our culture. The achievements of the past, the talent of young designers, and the perspectives offered by our renewed international relations reinforce our mission to actively develop our competitiveness and quality of living.

1. Network of Institutions
We are convinced that we need appropriate institutions for furthering the cause of design.
Therefore we renewed the entire institutional network of Hungarian design in the past three years.

  • The Office of the Hungarian Design Council (HDC) can be contacted through the home page of the Hungarian Patent Office (HPO) at, and it publishes regular reports on the HDC's operation in line with the principle of transparent operation expected from government offices set up for social or economic purposes in a democratic society.
  • Among HDC's three-year objectives, priority was given to renewing Hungarian design awards and scholarships.
  • To that end, the Hungarian Design Award was established replacing the previous Design Niveau Award and the Moholy-Nagy László scholarship was successfully continued under new terms and conditions.
  • In order to promote the development and implementation of collection policies relating to contemporary design works, an analysis was prepared on the viability of a Hungarian contemporary design collection, and the document was discussed by the Council and invited experts.
  • Last spring, Design Terminál Kht, a non-profit organisation, was set up. This is meant to be an institution promoting Hungarian design which can further the cause of design in an international context in line with the current European practice providing professional and operative assistance to the Council's work, the efficient cooperation between Hungarian designers and entrepreneurs and the organisation of exhibitions and competitions facilitating design culture. At the end of the year, the Prime Minister's Office announced a tender for the reconstruction of the proposed location of the Design Terminal, which is the former bus-terminal at Erzsébet Square.
  • Among the professional events in the year 2004, we should highlight the exhibition organised at the Museum of Applied Arts for the 25th anniversary of the Hungarian Design Award which became the main event of the Design Week event series coordinated by Design Terminál Kht. The Council announced the Moholy-Nagy László scholarship in January 2004 and organised an exhibition of the demonstration works created by the previous year's recipients at the Museum of Applied Arts.

2. Economic relations and incentives
We are convinced that design has the potential to boost the economy.
Therefore we have been working for the last three years on a government strategy promoting the development of Hungarian design culture.

  • The economic impact and innovative role of design is a commonplace in the industrialised countries yet there is an awful lot to do here in Hungary. That is exactly why the Council placed great emphasis on this aspect during its work and organised major events in the year 2004 in cooperation with Design Terminál. It is a very important development that the responsibilities of the Minister for Economy and Transport have been expanded so as to cover the Hungarian design strategy as well.
  • At the Council's mandate, Design Terminál Kht. prepared a study entitled Preparing a government strategy for promoting the development of the Hungarian design culture in which, following the successful international - primarily European - predecessors, they proposed competitive programs for small and medium-size enterprises to facilitate the use of design and enhance its economic role.
  • The subsidy programs offered for Hungarian SMEs, certain strategic directions of the GVOP (Economic Competitiveness Operative Program) and the proposed use of the Innovation Fund are all meant to support design-related activities.

3. Social Awareness
We are convinced that design should be a public issue in Hungary.
Therefore we have been doing our best in the past three years to make more and more people aware of the importance of design.

  • Communicating the importance of design to the public is regarded by the Council as one of its most important tasks which is realised, on the one hand, through the coordination of press coverage of our main events by a communication agency and, on the other hand, by means of supporting professional publications.
  • Last year the HDC supported the publishing of the book ArtDesigner by Péter Lelkes, and also the book entitled Hungarian Applied Art at the Turn of the Century was published by the Hungarian Academy of Arts Foundation, with sponsorship from the Hungarian Patent Office and the HDC. During the Design Week the publishing house Vertigo came out with a promotional design album 150 Years of Hungarian Design, which was sponsored by the HDC as a key project. As the last similar publication came out over a decade ago, this album was long overdue.

4. Education and theory
We are convinced that education is the guarantee of our future.
Therefore we took steps to harmonise the Hungarian design education with the international requirements as quickly as possible.

  • One of our main goals last year was to complete the accreditation of the Faculty of Art and Design Theory to be launched at the Hungarian University of Art and Design (MIE) but the Accreditation Committee postponed the decision for the time being. On the other hand, the series of cooperation agreements with MIE, the Budapest University of Technology, the Applied Arts Institute of the Western Hungarian University (AMI), and the Advisory Office for fine Arts was a clear success offering an opportunity for the universities and professional organisations involved to coordinate their development efforts. The cooperation enables, among others, that universities may issue diploma catalogues and implement lecturer and student mobility programs. Another success story is the DLA-scholarship financed by the Council which enables a doctoral student of the MIE to lecture at the AMI.
  • The accredited industrial rights course coordinated by the HPO and the HDC was also successfully integrated into the program of the said universities last year.
  • The Lectorate of Fine and Applied Arts developed an archiving system with the support of the HDC for archiving the documents of the former Applied Arts Council which therefore became searchable for professionals from this year on.

5. Protection of Intellectual Property
We believe that the knowledge society of the new millennium was created on the foundations of intellectual property.Therefore we did our best in the past three years to make designers know more about the protection of intellectual property.

  • As a body operated by the Hungarian Patent Office, HDC declared its primary mission to facilitate the development of a secure and attractive environment for artists, users and investors by promoting the means of industrial property rights and copyrights. To that end, HDC's office has been present at the information service points operated by the Hungarian Patent Office as well as at every major professional event carrying on a continuous promotional activity to encourage applications for industrial property right protection and to expand the knowledge-base related to copyright issues.
  • Relying on its relations with public services, customer service and contacts with educational institutions, the HPO has made substantial efforts to make people aware of and widely use the tools offered by the national industrial rights protection system, with particular respect to the segment of small and medium-size enterprises. Hungary has also been the host of many international conferences and training courses.

6. International Relations
We are convinced that international relations are a key to success these days. Therefore in the past three years we revived our international ties that became loose by the end of the millennium.

  • From the aspect of improving our international relations, last year's most important event was the regional meeting in Budapest, organised by HDC within the program of the Design Week in October. The International Council Of Societies Of Industrial Design (ICSID), of which the HDC is a member, endorsed the meeting. Executives of the German, Polish, Czech, Austrian, Slovakian, Romanian, Estonian, Latvian, Lithuanian, Croatian and Slovenian design organisations attended the successful workshops.
  • The professional forum entitled Value creating design in the light of British experience was also a major event organised by the Council together with the British Council and UK Trade & Investment. It is widely known that the public communication and government promotion of British designers and design activities are extremely effective. At the seminar, Hungarian experts were introduced to several examples that have worked for a long time in the UK so that they can also promote the cause of Hungarian design more successfully.
  • HDC continued this year to promote the international introduction of the young designer generation. The oh! - Objects from Hungary exhibition introduced by the HDC last autumn in Berlin was opened in Trencin as part of the Slovakian Design Days and then in November it moved on to Vienna, into the Designzone Loos Haus. It was also a big achievement that the students of AMI, first from our country, set up a booth at the Milan Furniture Fair with the support of the HDC.
  • In building our international professional relations, the most important step for the HDC was to join the Bureau of European Designers' Associations (BEDA). BEDA undertakes to liaise between European designer organisations and the Union's administrative bodies in legal and business issues. "Our objective is to stress the economic importance of design and to make the executive bodies of the Union aware of how important it is to promote design. At the same time we request permanent support for market acquisition by drawing the attention of decision-makers to the role of design as a driving force in economy" - so summarised President Stephen Hitchins the objectives of his organisation which focuses on the legal and economic aspects of the European design industry, in other words: its management, rather than the issues of design itself in the stricter sense.


26 February 2004
The first session of the HDC

4 March 2004
Professional day at the Lakástrend (Home Trend) exhibition with the participation of HDC.

9 March - 11 April 2004
Exhibition of the winners of the Moholy-Nagy László Design Scholarship at the Museum of Applied Arts.

19 March 2004
Value creating Design - In the light of British experience, a seminar organised by the HDC, British Council and UK Trade & Investment with the participation of Stephen Hitchins and Paul Brennan.

29 April 2004
The second session of the HDC.

5-6 July 2004
Red Dot award presentation ceremony in Essen, Germany where the HDC signs a partnership agreement with the organisers of Red Dot.

23 August 2004
The HDC's website is launched.

9 September 2004
The oh! objects from Hungary travelling exhibition opens in Trencin, Slovakia.

18 October 2004
The gala of the Hungarian Design Award. The 25 years of the Hungarian Design Award exhibition opens.

21-23 October 2004
ICSID regional conference organised by the HDC.

3-7 November 2004
The HDC opens a booth at the Bútorvilág (Furniture World) exhibition for the recipients of the Moholy-Nagy László scholarship.

15 November - 11 December 2004
The oh! objects from Hungary travelling exhibition opens in Vienna, at the Adolf Loos Haus.

2 December 2004
The fourth session of the HDC.