Hungarian Design Council 2008

"The way out of the present crisis leads through sustainable and environmentally conscious design. This concept might lend itself to various interpretations but it will definitely challenge designers in new and complex ways."
Dr. Miklós Bendzsel

In 2008 the Hungarian design profession was characterised by increased proactivity and environmental consciousness. HDC took steps to assist and promote the activities of institutions training design professionals and to raise the interest of potential clients.
In May 2008, HDC's third three-year period commenced. The organisation's work plan stated again that the role of design in the economy is necessary since it also strengthens corporate innovation. The council believes that the work of designers - contrary to public belief - not only involves colours, forms and textures. Ergonomic, psychological, cultural, technical, economic and ethical aspects of design jointly embody the notions of function and beauty in products.
Green topics prevailed in the 29th Hungarian Design Award with its 203 entries. The six award-winners and the five special prize winning projects prove that the environmentally conscious approach is gaining ground among Hungarian designers. Partly owning to that the award was covered extensively in the media. As part of the ongoing revision of the award, the council has set up a work committee to draw up a design management award programme.
In 2008 HDC presented the prize-winning projects of 2003-2007 in a travelling exhibition to display the achievements of the new design award (it was modernised in 2003) regionally and attract the attention of potential manufacturers. In order to meet this objective, the council organised professional forums and guided tours to accompany the exhibition, in conjunction with local companies and training institutions.
Nine young designers were awarded the László Moholy-Nagy Grant this year, bringing the total number of those that were helped at the start of their careers to 133 over the two decades of the programme. The grant system was improved jointly by the programme's manager, HDC, and the three financing institutions: the project duration became shorter, the amount of the grant was raised, and designers were allowed to submit projects in partnership with manufacturers.
At the end of 2009 the grantees will give an account of the work they did in 2008, after which the new system will be evaluated. To expand the business knowledge of young designer entrepreneurs, in 2007 HDC compiled an electronic publication called Start-up Guide, the new, third edition of which can be freely downloaded from the council's homepage. The guide containing information about enterprise, law, communications and the protection of intellectual property was extended in 2008 with a chapter about pricing as well as new interviews, and the sections on PR and sponsorship were updated. The 4.0 version is expected to be ready at the end of May.
The Hungarian Design Council continued its active international participation. In October 2007 Director Judit Várhelyi entered her new - and last - two-year term as Board Member in the world organisation of design (Icsid). A tangible result of her work is that in November 2008 Hungary was able to participate at the International Design Casa in Turin, the World Design Capital of 2008. Icsid will hold its spring board meeting in Budapest in May 2009.
The successful action of the European design organisation BEDA could raise the economic profile of the design profession. In February 2008 the leaders of BEDA agreed a three-point action plan with Günter Verheugen, the vice-president of the European Commission. The organisation hopes that their cause will be embraced by the EU and then the process will trickle down and the importance of design, which also improves competitiveness, will eventually increase at a national and corporate level. The process is expected to gain momentum in 2009, the European Year of Creativity and Innovation.
HDC is the patron of the Design Week, organised for the fifth time in 2008, which reaches an ever-increasing audience each year. It also participated in other important design events: for example in the Budapest Home Trend and Design fair, together with HPO, the jubilee design workshop in Zsennye, the Children-Toys exhibition organised by the Association of Hungarian Artists, and in the InnoLignum fair of the timber industry in Sopron.
The council also participated in international events, in partnership with other design professionals: in the New Hungarian Design exhibition staged by the Hungarian Cultural Centre in Brussels in the Liége Glass Tower, together with the Studio of Young Designers Association, and in the foreign exhibition programme of the Association of Hungarian Fine and Applied Artists.
In summer 2008 the Made in Hungary travelling exhibition presented the history of Hungarian design from 1900 to 2000, organised in conjunction with the Association of Hungarian Fine and Applied Artists. The best works of Hungarian design, including a cover from 1911 of the legendary periodical Nyugat (The West), Prime Minister István Bethlen's luxury Cabriolet from 1931, one of Andor Goy's first ballpoint pen designs and the world famous Rubik cube from 1977 are displayed through emblematic objects or posters made of them. The exhibition welcomed visitors in three Romanian cities (Timisoara, Cluj and Bucharest).
HDC is proud of the professional recognition of its logo. A recent book, titled Image and Identity has included the logo among twenty outstanding image design projects. The logo won the coveted Best of Nation award at the Eulda competition in 2006.

Hungarian Design Award

The objective of the Hungarian Design Award is to display and propagate the achievements of Hungarian design, to acknowledge the prominent figures of Hungarian design, and to improve the competitiveness of Hungarian products in the international arena with the tools of design. The award is announced by Károly Molnár, the minister in charge of research and development, in conjunction with HDC. Special prizes are awarded by the Ministry of Education and Culture, Office for National Research and Technology, the Hungarian Patent Office and the Hungarian Design Council.
The legal predecessor Industrial Design Niveau Prize was first announced in autumn 1979, so in 2008 it was at the 29th occasion that it invited and awarded outstanding performance. Throughout the years the prize competition and the exhibition presenting the winning projects have become one of the key events in the design profession. The changing projects from one year to the next well reflect the situation of Hungarian design. The six award winning and the five special prize-winning projects of the 29th Hungarian Design Award reveal that the environmentally conscious approach is becoming a key issue for Hungarian designers. A total of 203 projects were entered in the competition.
The award-winning projects were exhibited in the Museum of Applied Arts, as the opening event of Design Week. The travelling exhibition, FormaTúra, which presented audiences with the award- and special prizewinners of the previous five years, was staged at the same time.


An exhibition of the winners of the Hungarian Design Award (2003- 2007)

In 2008 the Hungarian Design Council presented the best works of the Hungarian Design Award between 2003 and 2007 at the FormaTúra exhibition, which travelled to Hungarian regional centres. Design and creative form has become an integral part of everyday life but it is also an essential driving force behind science, the economy, and technological development.
The exhibits included objects of everyday use as well as innovative ideas and concepts committed to paper but still seeking a manufacturer. These five years are of great importance because in 2003 HDC extended and modernised the award competition, which earned the reputation of being the greatest recognition in the Hungarian design profession. The reform seems to be a success - the public had the opportunity to see the results of this at the seven venues of the travelling exhibition. In spring 2009 the exhibition will be hosted by Pécs.
In addition to keeping the public informed the objective is to rejuvenate the economy of regional centres with development potential, as well as the economy of the regions. If well planned and targeted, design has the power to grant Hungarian businesses entry into the global market as well as to ensure the competitive advantage of products and services, which could act as an economic booster. In order to realise the above objectives, professional forums, roundtable talks, lectures and guided tours accompanied the exhibition, organised in conjunction with the local companies as well as technical and economic training institutions.

Venues of the travelling exhibition:

  • March 2008 Design Centre of the Applied Arts Institute of the University of West Hungary, Sopron
  • April 2008 Széchenyi István University, Győr
  • May 2008 Kölcsey Convention Centre, Debrecen
  • August 2008 International Ceramics Studio, Kecskemét
  • September 2008 Gallery of the University of Miskolc
  • October 2008 Museum of Applied Arts, Budapest
  • November 2008 József Attila Study and Information Centre, University of Szeged

László Moholy-Nagy Design Grant

The László Moholy-Nagy Design Grant turned twenty years old. Over the two decades a total of 133 talented designers received grants to help them start their careers. The grant programme's objective is the same: to raise the profile of Hungarian design, to integrate it into innovation and to promote the professional development of talented young designers.
The grant programme for young designers was established in 1988 by three ministries. At present it is jointly financed by the National Office for Research and Technology, the Ministry of Education and Culture, and the Hungarian Patent Office. Applications can be submitted by designers under 35 years of age with a degree in design, who pursue their career in Hungary. The grantees must give an account of the work they accomplished over the given year in writing and at a public exhibition. The exhibition of the works by the 2008 grant holders will open on 19 February 2009 in the Museum of Applied Arts.
The jubilee year prompted the Hungarian Design Council and the three funding organisations to take under review and renew the grant system. The major changes included the reduction of the project duration, the increase in the grant money and the opportunity to submit projects in partnership with manufacturers. It is planned that the 2009 call for entries will place special emphasis on defining themes proposed in advance by manufacturers in addition to the usual, independently submitted projects.

HDC in the international arena

The Hungarian Design Council actively participates in the work of the European (BEDA - Bureau of European Design Associations) and world (Icsid - International Council of Societies of Industrial Design) organisations of design, thus representing Hungarian design internationally.
BEDA, established in 1969, took a giant step towards having design recognised by the European Union. After several years of preparation, in October 2007 the delegation of BEDA met with José Barroso, then the president of the European Commission (EC). At the meeting the necessity of co-operation to enhance the impact of design was discussed. The organisation hopes that if the cause of design is embraced by the EU, the importance of design at a national and corporate level will increase.
In February 2008, Michael Thomson, the president of BEDA, and vice-president Jan Stavik met with EC vice-president Günter Verheugen, the commissioner in charge of enterprises and industry. Verheugen stated that the Commission "was in full agreement with positioning design as a vital element in European competitiveness." They also accepted three action points:

  • The EC will launch communication about design in 2009, the European Year of Creativity and Innovation, to support the development of the creative industries.
  • A knowledge fund will be set up to promote European design, and a comparative analysis will be made about European design and its management.
  • A permanent body will be set up to ensure a dialogue about the guidelines of design, which is seen as the main element in innovation politics.

The International Council of Societies of Industrial Design (Icsid) is a global not-for-profit organisation that promotes better design around the world. Today, Icsid counts over 150 members in more than 50 countries, representing an estimated 150 000 designers. Icsid members are professional associations, promotional organisations, educational institutions and corporations.
Currently, there are four members from Hungary: besides HDC, the Association of Hungarian Fine and Applied Artists, the University of West Hungary and the Moholy-Nagy University of Art and Design. Director of HDC, Judit Várhelyi will serve on the Icsid Board until the next General Assembly in 2009.
Icsid announced World Industrial Design Day (WIDD) as an international day of observance in recognition of the profession of industrial design. First declared on June 29, 2007 on the occasion of Icsid's 50th anniversary, WIDD has been established as an occasion to mark the development and evolution of industrial design throughout the course of its history. WIDD seeks to highlight the contribution designers and academics made to the advancement of the profession as well as to offer a window of opportunity to address key issues. Through a series of international events on June 29, WIDD provided designers and design enthusiasts with a channel to engage with one another. HDC celebrated WIDD at the WAMP design street fair.
Icsid also runs the World Design CapitalT (WDC) project, a biennial international designation created to identify and recognise cities that have effectively used design to revive the city and improve its quality of life.

Turin - World Design Capital 2008

The World Design CapitalT (WDC) is a city promotion project celebrating the merits of design. Held biennially, it seeks to highlight the accomplishments of cities that are truly leveraging design as a tool to improve the social, cultural and economic life of cities, throughout a yearlong programme of design-related events. As the first municipality to hold the title, the City of Torino accepted the designation as the 2008 Pilot Project. In 2010 Seoul will follow, and applications for the 2012 designation can be sent until 31 March.
Turin welcomed design enthusiasts with a rich selection of programmes throughout the year. As part of this a two-day design conference, entitled Shaping the Global Design Agenda, was held, complemented by a series of events with venues involving a number of galleries in the city. The "International Design Casa" project opened up a comparison between the design culture of Torino and Italy with that of other cities and countries around the world.
The organisers in Turin requested the Hungarian Design Council to co-ordinate a shared Design Casa of the Central European region. The Artintown Gallery of Turin was transformed with a graphic installation created especially for this event, depicting five iconic design objects from each country. A complementary brochure provided background information on the installation.
During the event, a selected program of short animations was screened daily. Between 6 and 13 November two thousand visitors saw the region's Casa. Regional partners: Estonian Association of Designers, the Latvian Design Information Centre, the Lithuanian Design Forum, The Association of Industrial Designers in Poland, The Silesian Castle of Art and Enterprise and the Slovak Design Centre.
Since 2004, when HDC organised a Central and Eastern European regional meeting in Budapest, it has participated in a number of regional programmes; in addition, with the help of its network of connections it maintains a unique public database on its homepage, where the institutions and the press organs of the region's architectural and design professions are listed.

Calendar of events 2008

  • 14- 15 January APCI Challenges of Design Promotion conference in Paris
  • 4 February Annual report of László Moholy-Nagy Design Grant holders
  • 21 February First meeting of the Hungarian Design Council (HDC)
  • 29 February- 16 March Exhibition of László Moholy-Nagy László Grant holders in the Museum of Applied Arts
  • 6-9 March Home Trend and Design exhibition on Erzsébet square, Budapest
  • 14-18 March Icsid board meeting
  • 20 March- 4 April FormaTúra travelling exhibition in Sopron
  • 28-30 March BEDA general assembly in Ljubljana
  • 11-26 April FormaTúra travelling exhibition in Gyôr
  • 26 April World Intellectual Property Day
  • 17-19 April Regional design competition and assessment in Cieszyn
  • 8 May- 13 June FormaTúra travelling exhibition in Debrecen
  • 22 May The second meeting of HDC, which is also the inaugural meeting of the third cycle
  • 28 May Made in Hungary exhibition opening in Timisoara
  • 30 May- 1 June Icsid board meeting
  • 26 June Made in Hungary exhibition opening in Cluj
  • 29 June World Industrial Design Day
  • 11-31 August FormaTúra travelling exhibition in Kecskemét
  • 10-26 September FormaTúra travelling exhibition in Miskolc
  • 5-14 September Design workshop and conference in Zsennye
  • 12 September InnoLignum innovation conference in Sopron
  • 17 September Mid-year consultation for the László Moholy-Nagy Design Grant holders
  • 26 September- 19 October New Hungarian Design exhibition in Liége
  • 30 September Made in Hungary exhibition opening in Bucharest
  • 1 October HDC's third meeting
  • 3-12 October Design Week in Budapest
  • 7 October Hungarian Design Award gala
  • 8-26 October Hungarian Design Award and FormaTúra travelling exhibition opening in the Museum of Applied Arts
  • 15-20 October Icsid board meeting
  • 3-15 November FormaTúra travelling exhibition in Szeged
  • 6-13 November International Design Casa in Turin
  • 3 December HDC's fourth meeting
  • 18 December 3rd Children-Toys National Competition announcement of results and exhibition opening in the House of Hungarian Artists