Our year in focus: Looking back on 2022

In the final days of 2022, we look back at the key events and projects we have been able to deliver in collaboration with our longstanding supporters, as well as new partners from the creative sector, business, NGOs, the diplomatic corps and public institutions. Recall with us what were the main points through which we experienced design in its various forms.

We are on the verge of sending off a calendar year in which we have managed to continue our activities despite the challenges. For a small independent organisation like ours, building long-term activities in the cultural sector requires perseverance, flexibility, openness and uncompromising attention to detail. But most of all a trust in collaborations, trust and cohesion with the community. We are grateful to everyone we have met and worked with. This reciprocity has enabled us to build on the varied MELBA design initiatives and engage in new meaningful projects. Here’s what has come our way in 2022.

VISITING PRAGUE

One of the significant steps in 2022 was the first trip of the annual group exhibition REVIEW OF BULGARIAN DESIGN. In March, its fourth edition, The Value of Design (2021), visited the gallery of the Bulgarian Cultural Institute in Prague, where we showed the work of 11 Bulgarian designers and studios. With this event we came closer to one of the bold goals of MELBA Design Festival – to connect the Bulgarian with the international design scene.

Review of Bulgarian Design 2021, Bulgarian Cultural Institute, Prague

SUSTAINABLE PRACTICES IN DESIGN AND FASHION

Another highlight of our program for the past year was a series of events dedicated to diverse practices in design and fashion that articulate an important shift in the industry towards more environmentally friendly production and consumption. In a series of five discussions and presentations in five Bulgarian cities – Ruse (28th May), Burgas (7th June), Gabrovo (25th June), Varna (24th September) and Plovdiv (22nd November), together with experienced speakers  from various European countries, we put the spotlight on responsible attitudes and environmental practices that are increasingly necessary in the current context of serious climate change. The selected cities hosted presentations and discussions as well as a travelling exhibition with 24 examples of sustainable fashion and design brands from the Visegrad Group countries. The events took place on the initiative of the Liszt Institute – Hungarian Cultural Institute in Sofia, and we had the pleasure to curate and host the programme.

Sustainable practices in Ruse

10 DAYS OF CULTURE IN DISTRICT SIX and finalizing INTERREG CINEMA

One of our most important experiences as an organisation in the context of Europe’s creative and cultural sector was the Interreg CINEMA project, within we tested approaches and tools for the revitalisation and positive transformation of Gabrovo’s District Six together with the Municipality of Gabrovo. After two and a half years of active work, the end of 2022 marks the closure of Interreg CINEMA. Among its more important phases was the realisation of ten days of cultural interventions in Gabrovo’s oldest district in June 2022. The programme was dynamic and varied: we immersed ourselves in Vox Populi’s documentary theatre with authentic stories from the inhabitants of the Sixth District, experimented with waste materials to create a new identity for the place, held activities with children, discussions on sustainable design practices, exhibitions with social posters, literary tours. In this way we were able to involve local and international institutions and cultural operators, initiate creative change, awaken interest and draw attention to the potential of the central Gabrovo district. We believe that in doing so we have been able to highlight the power of the creative sector to fuel ideas and occasions for beneficial change, and to reveal the potential of the district to attract visitors and be a hub for diverse activities and cross-sector collaborations.

10 days of culture in District Six

DESIGN SEMINAR FOR RUSE

The Kolektiv Foundation invited us to lead a workshop to collect ideas for the long-term development of the Danube coastline and its better connection to the central urban fabric through the involvement of citizens and their active participation in these important processes. The half-day design marathon brought together 30 students and active community representatives from Bulgaria and Romania. Organized by the European Parliament Offices in Sofia and Bucharest, the event aimed to showcase and instigate ways of civic participation on the current topic of a “New European Bauhaus”. It was a valuable experience for us and the six concepts proposed as a result of the workshop gave us faith in the potential and success of public-private partnership as a necessary way to make positive changes for the environment we inhabit.

MELBA: website and archive

Five years after launching melba.bg, the dynamic archive for contemporary Bulgarian design, it was high time to update the visual identity of the platform. NEXT-DC, the creative agency behind MELBA’s visual identity to that point, logically took on this task and built a unique colorful MELBA webpage in summer 2022. Participants in the archive such as existing and new profiles have also been updated and we are proud to have been able to add another 30 names. The extension of our archive continues.

MELBA MEETINGS

This year we continued to implement MELBA MEETINGS, the already established as a favorite format of many of you, presenting Bulgarian designers from different fields and their strong ideas. In 2022 we introduced you illustrators, graphic designers, typographers, graffiti artists, product designers and social activists. We believe that the mix of their stories and creativity as a pulling force managed to inspire the audience that each of us carries the potential to change and develop the environment for the better with our deeds.

MELBA MEETINGS #16

MELBA SCHOOL

In 2022 we managed to bring to life another MELBA initiative – the so-called MELBA SCHOOL educational classes, which aim to encourage professional development and creative thinking through the acquisition of new knowledge and specific skills. Led by professionals and aimed at designers and visual artists, the classes create sustainable knowledge and skilful approaches among students, young or established professionals and visual artists with a bias towards acquiring new qualifications. Invited speakers in 2022 were national and international recognizable names in their field, with proven track records and contributing not only to the development of their discipline, but also to society at large. Topics included screen printing (with Nadezhda Georgieva, founder of Sito Studio), vintage furniture and 3D printing (with Delcho Delchev, founder of Smart Fab Lab), (un)personal insights into graphic design (with Dima Stefanova and Filip Boyadzhiev from the independent educational platform Know-How/Show-How) and inclusive design (with Ivelina Gadzeva from the independent educational platform Know-How-Show-How) enriched the attendees and gave them new horizons for professional expression. We are already preparing next year’s editions.

MELBA SCHOOL Vol. 1

FIFTH EDITION OF MELBA DESIGN FESTIVAL

The fifth edition of MELBA Festival offered ten days full of valuable and captivating content on different locations in Sofia. The event introduced to the Bulgarian audience fascinating foreign speakers, reviewed the most interesting and significant Bulgarian design of the past year, included classes and discussions for professionals and offered six exhibitions on different topics. This year we had the opportunity to hear the stories of seven great European speakers who talked engagingly about their creative visions and professional paths to over 200 people at Toplocentrala and to many more who joined us online. The traditional highlight of the programme, the exhibition Review of Bulgarian Design, had its own external curator this year. Marina Dragomirova from Studio Furthermore developed the concept of Local Beauty through specific interpretations in the form of jewellery, fragrances, lighting bodies, textiles, ceramics, food, fountains and recycled car headlights. For the first time we organized a national T-shirt illustration contest with the theme TIME in collaboration with our long-time partners Fashion Days. The interest was huge and the results – surprising. Our winner got the chance to replicate her artwork on T-shirts for sale during the festival and 18 other runners-up got to see their ideas in large format. We offered five exhibitions specially arranged for the festival on different locations. We held two fruitful design classes and two discussions aimed at professionals. Charged with many impressions, we look ahead to the next edition of the festival, which will take place between the 2nd and 12th of November 2023.

MELBA Design Festival 2022

THANK YOU.

None of this would be possible without the designers and artists we work with, without you, the audience that follows us and gets excited about design, architecture and visual culture, without our partners and supporters. In 2022, we were financially supported by the National Culture Fund and the One-Year Grant programme. Thank you for being with us along the way. With a great deal of optimism for all the moments we are about to share with you in the year ahead, we wish you a healthy, inspiring, fulfilling and meaningful 2023.

HAPPY HOLIDAYS! ?

Local Beauty. Review of Bulgarian Design 2022.

Studio Komplekt continues its series of reviews of the current state of Bulgarian design, which has become a traditional annual practice since the first edition of the festival. The group show brings together some of the notable manifestations of the discipline through projects in various fields of design. For the first time the show is curated by Marina Dragomirova, Studio Furthermore.

The exhibition LOCAL BEAUTY will open on November 3. at KO-OP Gallery (17. Yanko Sakuzov Blvd.) at 7.00 PM and will run through MELBA Design Festival 2022.

with: Dimitar Stankov, Maria Jekova, Raya Stefanova, Nikoleta Nosovska, Lyouba Assadourova, Milen Radev, Neva Balnikova, Yana Yunakova and Dani Yordanova

Curatorial text:

The exhibition LOCAL BEAUTY gives an overview of different, authentic Bulgarian localities. We are invited to see them through the eyes of nine artists who have created works with regional materials, resources and traditions especially for the occasion. Each of them works with different textures and a unique personal handwriting – be it the deep pitch of the bagpipe, captured in the form of a jewel by Dimitar Stankov, or the taste achieved through an old Rhodope wheat storage technique, which Maria Jekova recreates. Raya Stefanova builds two fountains based on the typical Bulgarian roadside fountains, using beeswax instead of concrete, while the dancing “kukeri” superheroes of Nikoleta Nosovska bring new life to the ceramic plates from childhood. Lyuba Asadurova creates a contemporary trail-carpet of sheep’s wool. Milen Radev’s lighting bodies are carved from stone he found in the Rhodope Mountains. The experimental reuse of car headlights by Neva Balnikova was inspired by a local car component recycling company. Yana Yunakova unravels an old mountain technique from glass beads, which she interprets in a new ceramic form, while Dani Yordanova literally bottles the essence of the region in a flavor extracted from nature. In each of the works we find something familiar, but seen and rethought through an unfamiliar perspective.

About Marina Dragomirova

Marina Dragomirova was born in Plovdiv, Bulgaria. After completing her bachelor in Graphic Design followed by Interior design at New Bulgarian University, she continued her education at the Royal College of Art in London. There she met Iain Howlett and in 2015 they cofounded Studio Furthermore in Shoreditch, London.

* The exhibition is realized with the kind support of the National Culture Fund – Program Visual Arts.

REVIEW OF BULGARIAN DESIGN TRAVELS TO PRAGUE

The works of 11 Bulgarian designers and studios travels to Prague following the invitation of the Bulgarian Cultural Institute in the Czech capital.

One of the more ambitious goals of Melba Design Festival, whose fourth edition we celebrated at the end of 2021, is to connect – the Bulgarian with the international design scene, as well as to initiate collaborations between local designers, curators and organizations from the Bulgarian design scene.

That is why the first trip of the annual exhibition Review of Bulgarian Design is a significant step for us. From March 15 to April 8, the group exhibition will be presented in Prague, following the invitation of the Bulgarian Cultural Center in the Czech capital.

It has become a traditional annual exhibition since the first edition of the festival, which brings together some of the remarkable manifestations of design through projects in various fields (graphic, product, social and interior design, printing, fashion, etc.).

For the fourth edition of the exhibition, the leading theme is “The value of design”. Again, representatives of various design fields were deliberately invited, with some of the authors already established and known as specialists, while others are just starting out professionally.

The exhibition was presented for the first time in Sofia at KO-OP gallery as part of the Melba Festival in November 2021, and was viewed by hundreds of design fans.

10 DAYS OF DESIGN IN SOFIA

MELBA delivered what it promised. A full 10 days program with creative activities, bringing to the capital local and international design heroes as participants.

The fourth edition of the festival put on focus valuable and exciting content that engages audiences and reveals the power of design to contribute to the development and transformation of society for the better. The program included:

An International Symposium live in a hall (The Steps) and online via a direct streaming. The six incredible experts from Europe, Aiden McCall, Hector Ayuso, Claudia Schwartz, Mila Lozanova, Patrick Harjey, Edward Hermmann and Matthew Coufal immersed us in their fascinating professional stories about how design highlights and archives changes in society, about the power of emotions, about projects changing fashion, ecology and the choices we make every day, about the artistic approach and the ensuing collaborations, about heritage in graphic signs and logos, as well as about the production of furniture in different models and with personal participation.

This year we embarked on perhaps one of our favourite and most important curatorial projects – the exhibition “REVIEW OF BULGARIAN DESIGN”. We try to present the current state and direction of development of the discipline in our country through very different as a field, but equally valuable as a reflection projects. The leading direction in our selection this year was the topic of the value of design and what actually lies behind the creation of a product – from the origin of an idea, through the long journey of prototyping and experimentation, to reaching consumers. We invite you to view and get acquainted with the stories of the 11 participants here.

Three more exhibitions, located in central Sofia galleries with open access, involved visitors in a dialogue about the impact of design in everyday life – through the trend of do-it-yourself furniture in “NOMAD.Herrmann&Coufal” (Czech Center), important production trends of local character, thinking about the environment and preserving the high aesthetics in “SUSTAINABLE DESIGN AND FASHION in the countries of the Visegrad Group” (Opening Soon) to trends in product design in “THE FUTURE OF LIVING“. Contemporary Slovenian design” (SKLADA). 

Involving the general public in the topics of reuse and smarter use of materials was realized through two workshops open to everyone. The Czech award-winning duo Herrmann & Coufal personally showed the participants in Do It, Use It how to assemble a lamp, and the Bulgarian designerNeva Balnikova redesigned old vinyls into memorable and attractive new bags.  

The festival was happy to organise and host a very special edition of the global creative formatCreativeMornings Sofia. For the first time, the local team was the author of the monthly theme both as a concept and as a visual, the latest by the talented and versatile artist Sevda Semer. November was marked by the theme Liminal – a Latin word for threshold, and its interpretation. Other 224 cities in 67 countries were discussing the theme and using Sevda Semer’s artwork. As an additional gesture, we also produced cards with her visual interpretation of Liminal as a souvenir.

We were especially happy and proud for the opportunity to hold an open panel on “Sustainable Design Practices”. We introduced the audience to three European companies that are leading an important change in the industry towards greener production and consumption. Combining science, design and technology, they offer new, closer to tradition, local resources and nature models for the use of raw materials. Sara Kele (Hungary), Josh Brito (founder of MakeGrowLab, Poland) and Atanas Enev (founder of Biomyc, Bulgaria) presented their work. There was also a special demonstration of B2N’s Ultimaker S5, the 3D printer used by Biomyc. We recommend that you watch a video of the lectures here.

In collaboration with the mobile payment app Settle for the first time, we launched an open invitation calling for everyone with interest and courage to visually interpret the theme “The Money of the Future” to get involved. The competition gathered over 70 participants, and the awarded 21 projects received both cash prizes and the opportunity to present themselves on the festival website. You are able to view this surprising digital exhibition here and read more about the concept of the selected designers.

We pay special attention to the festival website and overall visual identity. NEXT-DC team surpassed themselves in imagination and realisation to give a strong language and memorable design to this fourth edition. The jars filled with the much loved and famous pickles sour salad appeared in digital and printed form and captured the hearts and eyes of all.

 

Our work would not be possible without the support of partners and like-minded people who find meaning and value in our initiatives. We thank them equally as the participants and the audience. We are proud to have met up close and worked with wonderful people who helped make the 10 days of design in Sofia particularly invigorating. Until next year.

 

THE MONEY OF THE FUTURE

Settle and Melba Design Festival are inviting you to participate in the open call with a visual interpretation on the topic – The Money of the Future.

Have you been wondering what the future of money will be? Will they still exist on paper in the years to come? Will they become part of us and our imprint? Is there the chance that we will exchange money only for actions and experiences?

We are looking for new and innovative interpretations of the topic without any limitations in the visual discipline. The only condition is that the artwork is exposed in a digital format. 

The selected works will be presented in a digital format online in the exhibition The Money of the Future on the 10th of November as part of the Melba Design Festival program 2021 – on festival.melba.bg.

Тhe awards are provided by Settle – 20 recipients will receive 200 lv and big prize of 1000 lv. All prizes will be delivered through Settle’s application. 

How to participate.

Every candidate has the right to submit one proposal in the following ways till 11.59 pm on the 5th November:

  • Publish a story with your project on Instagram and send a message to @melbainitiatives with info about the artist, title of the work and a short idea description. The only valid submissions are the ones with tags @settlebulgaria и @melbainitiatives
  • Send an email to hello@studiokomplekt.com with subject The Money of the Future and your project with a short description in the following format: JPG or PDF up to 2 pages and not more than 3 MB. The email should contain the artist’s name, title of the work and a short idea description. 

The organizers reserve the right to disqualify entries with obscene content. 

The winners are giving the organizers the right to exhibit their works online on the official Melba Design Festival 2021 website festival.melba.bg. 

The four members of the jury are: Adriana Andreeva and Boiana Gjaurova from Studio Komplekt, Detelina Momcheva from Settle and Momchil Zahariev from NEXT-DC. 

The organizers of the contest:
Studio Komplekt

Settle

NEXT-DC

 

ANNUAL REVIEW

The beginning of the new year naturally encourages a revision of the past and throwing an optimistically realistic look at the future. Inevitably, we are reviewing what happened to us professionally in 2020. What a year! Among the worries and partings – alas, we had to close GENERATOR and empty our office – we somehow rode a lucky wave and joined in some truly amazing and meaningful professional adventures as well as continue our work on MELBA design initiatives.

HOMO FABER

This is a new online platform for European crafts, galleries and museums, which pays tribute to talent, preserves traditions and carries them into contemporary handmade objects. We have the responsibility and pleasure to offer and take care of the Bulgarian participants’ presentations and places, and their number is expected to continue to grow in 2021.

CINEMA

Or Creative Industries for New Urban Economies in the Danube Region is a two-year project of the Danube transnational program Interreg, in which the focus lays on finding methods and tools for renewal and active development of abandoned central urban areas through the involvement of creative industries. Studio Komplekt is a partner on Bulgarian side, along with the municipality of Gabrovo. We are working together to find suitable and long-term opportunities for the development of the District 6 in Gabrovo.

TEACH FOR BULGARIA

The popular and unique platform for the development of Bulgarian education “Teach for Bulgaria” marked its 10 year anniversary in 2020, which gave a serious reason for rebranding. We were invited to propose and communicate with a graphic design studio, which would transform and open new opportunities for the visual communication. The result is a dynamic, flexible and attractive identity that combines a variety of elements and meets the growing ambitions of the organization. Its authors are studio PUNKT.

<photo: Michail Novakov>

MELBA LIVE

This year we continued to hold meetings with local design heroes, albeit in an online format. Taking advantage of the imposed trends for ZOOM events, we presented exceptional specialists not only from Bulgaria, but also some based in other parts of the world, reaching a wider audience and archiving the lectures in our You Tube channel.

THIRD EDITION OF MELBA FESTIVAL

The lack of live interaction with the audience and the big halls filled with people was gravely missed, especially for the happening of the international symposium. But this did not make the third edition of the festival less valuable or uninteresting. Five great speakers took part in a live online session to openly and fascinatingly delver presentations about their creative path, visions and professional flashes. The Sofia audience was able to take a live and very real walk through the three exhibitions, specially arranged for the festival. – “Review of Bulgarian Design 2020 – New Models of Everyday”, “Illustrated Constitution” and “TestPress”. We were also able to realise an online class for creating a digital product.

We’ve said it before and won’t tire of repeating it – THANK YOU. To you – the audience – who follow and are excited about the topics of design, architecture and visual culture. To all participants and to our partners and supporters – Sofia Municipality Culture Program, National Culture Fund, Fashion Days, SiteGround, Next DC, Spanish Embassy, Irish Embassy, Czech Centre, Goethe Institut, Polish Institut, Bulgaria Air, IKEA, VIJ! Magazine, MD, Boyscout, UnderTheLine, Artakcia.

2021

It is safe to say that 2020 brought changes that are here to stay, especially in the sphere of organising hybrid events and its growing digitalisation. We hope to be able to continue to getting you in contact with the irreconcilable creative force that inspires the spirit and helps in difficulties, encourages us to be more humane, open to innovations and tuned in to the beauty around.

A THIRD MELBA, PLEASE

One thing we know by now is that making plans is an unpredictable and uncertain business. 2020 might (still) have surprises in store, but we are trying to keep adequate to the challenges. The third edition of MELBA is different from the previous ones. Hybrid and reformatted in order to make the events accessible and live (online and live-live) even in COVID-19 times.

MIXING GOOD DESIGN MEANINGFULLY

MELBA keeps on mixing good design meaningfully in a one-of-a-kind experience that boosts the creative profession, brings valuable ideas on the spotlight and triggers beneficial impact. Here is the quick overview of the program. Make sure you visit the cool website we have this year (courtesy of NEXT-DC).

MELBA PROGRAM | 5-15 Nov 2020

SYMPOSIUM | Online live | 7.11, Saturday – get your early bird ticket for 20 BGN until 30.10 from here.

Chris Haughton, Lucie Koldova, Max Siedentopf, Paula Zuccotti, Verònica Fuerte / Hey

THREE EXHIBITIONS, welcoming visitors in open door galleries and free access: Review of Bulgarian Design 2020 with the participation of ten magnificent projects that nourish our environment beautifully and meaningfully, Illustrated Constitution and TestPress.

DESIGNATHON CLASS thinking creatively about the digital product. Tickets for the class are limited to only 15. Hurry up!

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LOVE AND THANKS to all our supporters, partners and friends in this endeavour.
Stay healthy, keep safe and let’s see each other soon for a MELBA.

 

HOMO FABER

Homo Faber will return to celebrate the best of European and Japanese craftsmanship in the beautiful premises of the Fondazione Giorgio Cini in Venice. In light of this, to ensure the health and safety of you all, our cherished crafts community, we have taken the decision to postpone the second edition of Homo Faber: Living Treasures of Europe and Japan to 2021.

Homo Faber is the premier event organised by the Michelangelo Foundation for Creativity and Craftsmanship, an international non-profit organisation based in Geneva, Switzerland, which was set up to celebrate and preserve master craftsmanship around the world and strengthen its connection to design. Rooted in a tradition of culture and excellence and in the realities and challenges of today’s global economy, the foundation aims to support those who dedicate themselves to the pursuit of master craftsmanship and to foster a new cultural movement built around the values that are essential for their work.

The new date for the second edition of Homo Faber: Crafting a more human future will be confirmed soon. The month-long event will host 17 exhibitions and installations presenting the work of European master artisans and also welcomes Japan as a special guest. Exhibitions will spotlight the country’s venerated craftsmanship traditions and honour its influence on European craftsmanship. Together, the exhibitions showcase a wide array of materials and expertise, from traditional skills in danger of being lost to the most cutting-edge contemporary techniques. 

The world-class curators, designers and architects creating the 17 exhibition spaces are: Italian architect Michele De Lucchi, London-based fashion exhibition designer and curator Judith Clark, Japanese designer, professor and curator Naoto Fukasawa, French museum director and porcelain expert David Caméo, Belgian-Italian gallerist Jean Blanchaert, acclaimed architect Stefano Boeri, American director and visual artist Robert Wilson, German designer Sebastian Herkner, vintage car broker, expert and collector Simon Kidston, Japanese museum director Tokugo Uchida, renowned Japanese photographer Rinko Kawauchi, French curator and porcelain specialist Frédéric Bodet, Italian university professor and craftsmanship expert Stefano Micelli and French interior designer and scenographer Sylvain Roca. 

Visitors will be able to discover the excellence of European craftsmanship through a series of showcases which reveal European master artisans, their techniques, traditions, workshops, innovative methods and the creativity of their individual crafts. Spectacular exhibitions will explore the human element at the heart of fine creations, the cherished savoir-faire, the unique narratives, territorial influences, and diverse materials which enrich each masterpiece, for an authentic celebration of European exquisite artisanship. 

From Europe’s treasure trove, the exhibition will broaden its horizons to explore the entwining cultural relationship between Europe and Japan, the special guest of honour. Homo Faber 2020 honours the official recognition that Japan gives to its finest masters, designating them as keepers of important intangible cultural properties. It is considered a great honour to be a National Living Treasure, as they are known. Visitors will have the possibility to see some of the magnificent objects they have made – exquisite porcelain, a lacquered harp, hand-dyed kimonos and much more – as well as a photographic exhibition that shows them in their ateliers. 

The event brings visitors diverse, immersive experiences, including the chance to meet master artisans as they create something extraordinary in front of visitors’ eyes. Evocative images and video installations will transport spectators to master artisans’ workshops across Europe, affording them intimate views into the world of fine craftsmanship. Discover the craftsmanship behind the world’s most prestigious luxury brands and journey through a rendering of an iconic staging of Puccini’s opera, Madama Butterfly. 

“Homo Faber 2020 offers a unique window into what is possible when the heart and mind finds expression through the hands”, says Franco Cologni, co-founder of the Michelangelo Foundation. “Once again, in the glorious venue of Venice, and with our guests from Japan, we are pleased to showcase extraordinary talent and offer a new perspective on creativity.” 

Beyond the walls of Fondazione Giorgio Cini, a series of “satellite” exhibitions will take place around the city of Venice, in a multi-location exhibition entitled Homo Faber in Città. A unique itinerary winding through the streets of Venice mapping key locations for the metiers d’art, will allow visitors to keep investigating the beauty of craftsmanship beyond Homo Faber. Discover Venice’s rich artisanal heritage with visits to Venetian artisans’ workshops, the Fenice ateliers, Vivaldi’s violins exhibited in the church of Santa Maria della Pietà, the Domus Grimani exhibitions and much more. 

NEW MODELS OF EVERYDAY LIFE: RAZGAR

Thanks to all designers who are responding to our invitation to submit their idea or prototype in the initiative New Models of Everyday – a selection of these would be presented in the third edition of the exhibition Review of Bulgarian Design Now in November 2020 as part of the festival MELBA.

Proud to present our second participant – Zahari Radev with his portable grill and fire pit – RAZGAR. It was created with the idea that it can be easily and conveniently transported anywhere, without the need for unnecessary fuss or maintenance. Especially suitable for camping, which does not leave a mark. We find a special charm in the personal story behind the creation of the product. RAZGAR takes us back to the 1970s, when the great-grandfather of the industrial designer Zahari Radev made his first barbecue grill out of an old metal drawer. The present sees an improved and perfected version of his idea.

The product also bears the mission to support small crafts and enterprises, to pay tribute to crafts and the tradition of transmitting such valuable and masterful hand skills. Following the example of the industry of this past, RAZGAR is created to be used for a long time, to be extremely durable and even made of natural materials. Its author Zahari Radev shares:

RAZGAR has been developed in the last two years to reach the current look. The starting point is the inspiration and admiration I have for my great-grandfather. This product shows respect for him and his family of industrial revolutionaries. RAZGAR was invented, tested and put into production with the idea to be produced in Bulgaria by craftsmen and master specialists in this field, to support small productions, studios and workshops, as it was during the times of my great-grandfather and his family.

Follow RAZGAR or order one for yourselves at the product’s web site here or in Instagram.

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New Models of Everyday is a project by Studio Komplekt and part of our design initiatives Melba. Participate with your creative idea, prototype or realisation. The frames are wide and welcoming all forms of creativity and design. You will find more detailshere.

NEW MODELS OF EVERYDAY LIFE: MISSMETODAY?

This week we launched the initiative New Models of Everyday Life – an invitation to designers from all disciplines and creative dedications to send their idea, prototype or a realized project that gives a solution to a specific problem, offers a better approach, provokes reflection and expands our worldview, or gives us courage, hope and joy. Some of the received projects will be included in the annual exhibition Review of Bulgarian Design, scheduled for November 2020 as part of the annual Melba Festival.

We are happy to present the first participant who accepted our invitation to open and inaugurate the initiative. This is Maria – an independent illustrator, founder of “Missmetoday?”, a lover of unicorns and chocolate. She sincerely loves her job and tries to find as much time for it as possible every day. The work “Mariana”, shown here, is part of the long-planned project “City Heroines”, which is currently being implemented with the support of Sofia Municipality, under the initiative “Solidarity in Culture”. “City Heroines” focuses on the unexpected and not well recognized champions and Maria has already prepared a long list of most diverse ladies, where the personal story always leads the way.

“Today, a special emphasis is placed on women’s rights and their support for each other. But what impressed me is that the focus is mainly on ladies from the past or those who have already succeeded. These examples are wonderful and inspiring, but I find it much more motivating to draw inspiration from someone who is available and you can meet every day. I myself am constantly looking for such examples and I am extremely interested in how each of us copes with the hardships of life. I want to shift the perspective to the present and the unexpected heroines of everyday life.”

Here is what Maria shares about Mariana: at her small place you can find everything – from meatballs, through french fries, to burek peppers. I love the neighbourhood pubs and small bistros, where it is not shiny and is often unsightly, but it is insanely delicious and you can talk to any customer as if you were childhood friends. Mariana saved my life when my daughter was still a small baby. We ate with her regularly. Later, when my daughter turned 2, she started eating her meals. For a long time we accepted Mariana almost as a member of the family. Today, Mariana continues to work on the front line. You can find her on Hemus, opposite the 102 bus stop.

Follow Maria for other stories in charmingly detailed illustrations in Instagram and in Facebook.

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New models of everyday life is a project of Studio Komplekt, part of our Melba design initiatives. Participate with your creative idea, prototype or realization. The frames are wide and welcoming all forms of creativity and design. You will find more details here.