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Balázs Mohai - Hungarian Design Council | Budapest Design Week 2023

Celebrating 20 Years of Budapest Design Week

The festive series of Budapest Design Week’s (BDW) programmes marking its 20th anniversary has concluded. This anniversary presented an opportune occasion to look back on, evaluate and celebrate the design events held in Hungary in the past decades. And so we did at the central events of BDW, as well as at our partners’ programmes. A good number of players on the Hungarian design scene were invited to participate and to join the celebration, who, like us, started to spread their wings in the 2000s or earlier and have remained major players on the domestic or international market since then.

What designers shared in the lectures, roundtable discussions, Open Studios programmes, tours of buildings, workshops, and interviews organised by BDW was that Hungarian design had undergone significant changes and development in the past decades, when new paths and opportunities opened up to support designers’ careers.

Visitors had the opportunity to see this in person on several occasions, given that, in addition to the retrospection and celebration of the past decades, the programme series also focused on the events and achievements of the present, as well as the link between the future and design.

The talents of our time were celebrated at the traditional opening event of the festival, when the Hungarian Design Awards and the Design Management Awards were conferred. All in all, 17 young talents, groups of designers, as well as professionals, design businesses and business organisations that have been shaping the progress of Hungarian design for several years were awarded, including designers of fashion, furniture, objects of use, medical diagnostic products and movement therapy devices.

Open Studios, the most successful programme of BDW, afforded a glimpse into events of the present and into developments shaping the future. Its popularity is no coincidence: visitors have the opportunity to meet and talk to the designers in person, getting a sneak peek behind the scenes, which is rarely available to them otherwise. This year, 20 studios opened their doors to audiences interested in and open to the latest events in design.

Given the dynamic development of technology and the emergence of artificial intelligence in our everyday lives, it was inevitable that the programme of this jubilee BDW should focus also on the subject of futurology, while the role of design in shaping the future and the impact of forward-looking developments on design were similarly discussed in the presentations and roundtable discussions. Accordingly, the programme series hosted guest speakers from the fields of futurology and artificial intelligence.

This year, more than 60 professional partners joined the festival’s own programmes to celebrate design and the design community with over 150 colourful programmes not only in Budapest but also in the cities of Pécs, Szombathely and, for the first time, Szeged.

The celebrations will not come to an end with the offline programmes offering opportunities for personal encounters, as festive contents will be continuously posted on the website and the festival’s social media platforms. Besides recollections of the significant events of the past twenty years by designers and theoreticians who have followed or joined BDW from time to time, the website also features world-famous Hungarian objects and their designers, as well as interviews with creative professionals who have shaped the Hungarian design scene. News and information focusing on the topic of business development are available to support (budding) entrepreneurs, while those looking to further their education can browse content shared by educational institutions.

For those who are after light reading, our website features some of the favourite objects of creative professionals, among others.

Several programmes presented at Budapest Design Week are available to the audience also beyond the festival dates:

  • Exhibition: With Textile and Wood, open until 19 November
    Contemporary Hungarian upholstery design will be showcased in this exhibition in the building of the Goldberger Collection of Textile Industry.
  • Exhibition/All-Arts Events: Design Without Borders – Reflections, open until 26 November
    To mark the 100th anniversary of Hungarian composer György Ligeti’s birth, the audience can look at and listen to objects inspired by the composer at the international sound object exhibition and all-arts event series in FUGA Budapest Center of Architecture.
  • Exhibition: In Circulation, open until 7 January 2024
    Located in the György Ráth Villa the exhibition by Russian designer Buliash Todaeva, who focuses on sustainability in her work, reflects now on the subject through her pieces inspired by the Centaur furniture set by István Szilvássy, at the invitation of the Museum of Applied Arts.

This year’s Budapest Design Week was organised by the Hungarian Design Council and curated by Daniella Koós.

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