CINEMA 2.5

In the last two and a half years, we had the great chance to work on the European project CINEMA (Interreg Danube Transnational Program). The huge challenge of generating ideas for the beneficial transformation of a central area in Gabrovo through the involvement of creative industries was accompanied by upgrading knowledge, long-term partnerships and networks of contacts and testing the possibilities of public-private partnerships. At the very end of the project, we make a brief overview of the success stories, approaches and results and what we bequeath to District 6, Gabrovo for the near future.

A WELL FUNCTIONING NETWORK OF PARTNERSHIPS

The CINEMA project gathered over 50 participants from 22 partner organizations from 8 countries with different professional profiles – municipalities, enterprises, business support structures, creatives and academic circles. We have been through a lot together – from the first wave of Covid-19 with remote working meetings and online events, to intensive seminars, sharing experience and knowledge live in Ljubljana (Slovenia), Košice (Slovakia), Timisoara and Resita (Romania). We will certainly keep in touch in the future and look for opportunities to collaborate once again. In a national context, we strengthened the fruitful and excellent relations with the Municipality of Gabrovo, proving that the public-private approach in such large initiatives is the way forward for successful interventions and sustainable development processes of the urban environment.

CONCEPTS AND INSTRUMENTS

The challenge to find and test suitable solutions for the revitalisation of dilapidated sites in inner city areas with the help of the creative industries resulted in a package of 20 tools, policy briefs, videos, guidelines and road maps etc., as well as new contacts in municipalities and government organisations that contribute to the project’s results being sustainable and transferable over time.

DEVELOPMENT OF DISTRICT 6  

In cooperation with the Gabrovo Municipality team, we launched a series of processes to awaken the neighborhood’s potential. After extensively researching locations, businesses, stakeholders, brainstorming and engaging various collaborators, together we successfully implemented and tested tools (the voucher system tool and the culture cooperation tool) which brought attention to the District 6 and three new businesses . Our work has been repeatedly presented to institutions and various organizations with local and international influence. The challenge for the future development of District 6 was set as one of the five tasks at Gabrovo Innovation Camp, and the suggested concept was accepted by the mayor of Gabrovo as a realistic and possible one for application in the municipal policy in the next six years.

We thank our partners, stakeholders and colleagues for their participation, support, interest and contribution in the last years.

6 Ideas for District 6

One of CINEMA’s pilot locations – District 6 in Gabrovo, Bulgaria – was put on the spotlight as part of the seventh edition of Gabrovo Innovation Camp 22 (19 to 21 October 2022). Organised by Gabrovo Municipality in partnership with the JRC and European Committee of the Regions, the initiative, titled Resilient Cities, gathered in person at the Humour House Museum 60 participants from Gabrovo, Bulgaria and Europe. Thanks to the support and with the participation of representatives of the European Committee of the Regions (CoR) and the Directorate-General for Research and Innovation of the European Commission, the Camp combined a conference with several lecture and discussion panels followed by 2 days of intensive work. The ethos of knowledge exchange and cooperation served as a capacity building element for the participants. The ideas marathon was structured in 4 thematic challenges: Bauhaus in re-/co-designing the cities, Mission-based climate neutral transition, Youth Entrepreneurship for digital future and Innovation and inclusivity for Gabrovo S3 implementation.

The legacy of CINEMA found a worthy continuation in the first challenge of the camp –  Bauhaus in re-/co-designing the cities. Different stakeholders and specialists were provoked to think about District 6 in terms of its future development and how the efforts for its transformation could be continued in a persistent and successful way.

The working group comprised of about 15 people with different professional backgrounds from Gabrovo, Sofia, The Netherlands and Italy. Two of the active leaders in the group were CINEMA’s partners Milka Kehayova of Gabrovo Municipality and Adriana Andreeva of Studio Komplekt. As insiders for the challenge they were steering the group to think in terms of community, entrepreneurship and collaborations. The result was a most detailed and plausible concept for the restoration of District 6 and turning it into a vibrant urban spot for new businesses and creative interventions.

It has been agreed that in order to continue what has been started as a process during the CINEMA project, the following 6 step project has to be adopted:

  • a long-term commitment by the local government to further support the already inaugurated urban revitalisation of District 6;
  • the nurturing of private-public collaboration through existing or new incentives (EU programs, Municipal programs, International open calls, etc.);
  • establishing a hub in District 6, run by a specially appointed community manager and supported by a designated team of specialists comprising of municipal staff (legal advisor, accountant, architect, etc.), independent experts (communication, visual identity, content creation) and an advisor board;
  • securing a convenient location for the hub in District 6 as a source of information and first-hand communication with locals, interested parties and visitors; 
  • building a strong and sustainable year-long program (pop-up events, workshops, markets, festivals, community dinners, etc) involving various stakeholders, inside and outside of Gabrovo collaborators, regulated by the opinion of the people living and working in District 6;
  • securing a communication campaign dedicated to District 6, advertising its opportunities and events; visual identity – easily recognisable and adaptable to different content, message carrier and situation; 
  • ameliorating the urban environment (street furniture, well thought artistic interventions, etc.) and the walkability within the neighbourhood without hampering the services of the existing businesses and taking into consideration their and the citizens’ needs; 
  • specific agreement between Ministry of Culture, National Institute of Cultural Heritage and Gabrovo Municipality in order to restore the dilapidated and in ruins privately owned houses in District 6; subsequently offering these to new tenants (SMEs);
  • cross-sectorial, transnational and international collaboration on a larger scale in order to inspire and trigger reciprocal activities in other neighbourhoods and to further strengthen the position of District 6 as a most potent ground for innovative experiments.

Following the presentation, the Mayor of Gabrovo Tanya Hristova pledged to adopt the idea and implement it in the Municipality’s next year budget and plans. We will follow eagerly this promised development.

A CULTURAL PROGRAM ENLIVENED DISTRICT SIX

Is it possible through collaborations with local and international cultural producers, independent organizations, municipal structures and institutions to bring out the potential of an urban area so that it falls under the radar of representatives of the business, creative sector and tourism?

After wrapping up “Ten Days of Culture in District Six” last week, our response would be a positive one. The central neighbourhood District Six briefly became a field area for exploratory and experimental activity. The amalgamation of different themes and approaches, combined with the dynamic networking between the participants and the audience, gave rise to various visions and left the door open for speculations, references and ideas in the coming years. The culture cooperation program produced not answers but rather discourse on possible future developments. 

EXPLORING THE NEIGHBOURHOOD AND ITS POTENTIAL

Dima Stefanova, Ivelina Gadjeva and Filip Boyadzhiev, the trio leading the independent educational platform for art and design Know-How Show-How, arrived first in District Six, Gabrovo, to gather impressions, highlight its possibilities and transformed the wonderful space of the “Buditelite” Community Centre. Over the next 10 days together with the ten participants in their creative workshop they embarked on a mission to find ways forward for the place and its inhabitants through respect for heritage and in collaboration with local producers and companies. Through the methods of design research and interdisciplinary learning, they collected data, visited the production bases of several large local companies, compiled visual maps and experimented with waste materials to prototype ideas for future development and proposals for the needs of the neighbourhood. Among the more long-term interventions presented were a visual indication of the boundaries of the urban area, including the creation of a specific typeface, pimping up the garden furniture of the local beer bar, interventions into the space of the community centre and a general creative uplift and stimulative provocation. Among the conclusions of the study were the needs of the local community to have a place of attraction to gather, to communicate, to exchange ideas and have a good time together.

STORIES FROM THE HEART OF GABROVO

The documentary theatre studio Vox Populli presented in three different evenings the site-specific performance Six Scenes from District Six in collaboration with actors from Gabrovo Drama Theatre. The walk through the neighbourhood streets introduced the viewers to the stories of its residents in interesting and unexpected memories of some iconic Gabrovo people and their culture, personal family stories and inherited wisdoms. 

REIMAGINING NATURAL MATERIALS 

Еtar is a unique open air museum not only for the region, but also for the country and it was part of the cultural program with a photo exhibition and a workshop. By preserving national traditions in craftsmanship and customs, the museum explores local natural materials such as corn husks and applies them in regenerative design practices through new forms. The museum’s team demonstrated and taught the audience how to easily weave decorative flowers from the dried leaves of the corn husk. They also showed options for using the material in a more practical way such as, for example, weaving carpets and mats.

WASTE MATERIALS INTO GALLERY OBJECTS

The third stop of the project Sustainable Practices in Design and Fashion, realized in collaboration with , highlighted the options of up-cycling discarded materials and products into unique and beautiful objects. Petra Svejdarova and Klara Vaculikova from the Czech duo PRASKLO and the young Hungarian designer Katalin Huszar walked us through their process of work. PRASKLO creates boutique and one-off gallery vases, assembled from scrap crystal or glass from the big factories, thus giving consumers food for thought and a reason for sustainable choice. Katalin Huszar’s curious approach of collecting plastic straws from the garbage, washing them and after thermal treatment turning them into “sheets” of a new material actually turned out to be a not so successful experiment. Even though looking attractive and stylish, the recycled straws exhaust too much energy and water to be processed and transformed. But these are important lessons contributing to the overall knowledge about sustainability in the design industry.

POETRY IN A SMALL SUNNY TOWN

“Leave all your prejudices for this literary walk here and take them back again at the end, when we will return to the same spot.” Thus began this particularly emotional experience, saturated with carefully chosen and wonderful words, which gently fed the audience with the most valuable – strong food for the soul. The literary tour by Reading Sofia Foundation has invited the poet Albena Todorova to lead us around and highlight some parts of District Six, which have made a strong impression on her and which she magnificently addressed through the words of Kristin Dimitrova, Nataliya Ivanova, Nadezhda Radulova, Petya Heinrich, Ran Bosilek, Atanas Dalchev and others. The unusual lyrical experience touched everyone, making us feel the authenticity of life in the neighborhood – from its hidden streets, through the noisy Saturday market to the calm of summer in a small town.

DESIGNERS ASK AND PROVOKE

The house of NoPoint Atelier is situated just a few kilometres above Gabrovo in the small village of Balanite, where the view of the mountains takes your breath away and the place is the perfect backdrop for artistic inspiration. Within the framework of the project and with the support of Gabrovo Municipality Culture Program, the hosts – Miroslav Zhivkov and Yana Nikolova – gathered four designers from different parts of the country to work on the design of social posters with the theme Question of Time. In just four days of intensive discussions, work and creativity, Albena Limoni, Denislav Golemanov, Zahari Dimitrov, Kostadin Kokalanov and Miroslav Zhivkov managed to create over 200 posters. Called “social” because their role to sell or advertise was taken away, they appeared on the streets of District Six to spark curiosity-inducing visions and questions. All the variations of the designs were collected in a pop-up gallery in the neighborhood, where they could be viewed for several more days.

We’d like to extend our gratitude to all participants, organizations and institutions that joined the program and attended the events. 10 Days of Culture in District Six took place on the occasion of the European project Creative Industries for New Urban Economies in the Danube Region (with the acronym CINEMA), funded by the Danube 2014 Transnational Cooperation Program -2020″ INTERREG), in which Studio Komplekt and the Municipality of Gabrovo are partners for Bulgaria.

All pictures are by Dragomir Minkov, except the NoPoint Atelier ones which are by RadLab Studio.

LIFE HACKS

The year begins strong with the possibility to participate in this year’s edition of the regional competition Young Balkan Designers. Concepts by young designers are expected until January 20, 2022 in response to this year’s theme “Life Hacks for health & wellbeing”.

The competition is open to teams and individuals up to 35 years of age, from the following countries: Albania, Austria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Greece, Hungary, Macedonia, Montenegro, Romania, Slovenia, Serbia and Turkey. Applicants may be individuals or groups of creators. Each applicant may submit more than one entry.

The selected winners of the Young Balkan Designers 2022 competition will participate in the international talent exhibition “Salone Satellite” at the world’s most prominent design event – the International Furniture Fair in Milan 2022, which will be held from 5 to 10 April 2022. After its world premiere, the awarded works will be presented to the regional audience in Belgrade in October 2022, at the Mikser Festival, one of the Balkan’s most relevant regional festivals of creativity and social innovation.

The respectful jury is comprised of stellar names:

Marcus Fairs, founder and editor in chief, Dezeen.com, UK
Ana Kras, artist & designer, Serbia / USA
Vasso Asfi & Loukas Angelou, founders, StudioLav, Greece / UK
Jovana Zhang , founder, Pinwu studio, Serbia / China
Denis Leo Hegic, designer & curator, founder Supermarket Lab/Unblock Art Fair / Museum of Now, Germany

Young Balkan Designers (YBD) is a regional talent platform founded in 2011 with the aim to identify, promote and develop creative potential of the Balkan region in the field of design. The initiative also aims at unifying the regional design scene, bringing it closer to the international audience, strengthening its potential by providing additional education and practice, while at the same time contributing to the restoration of multi-cultural cooperation in the Balkan region.

We encourage you to participate. Learn more about the competition –> https://ybd.mikser.rs/
And fill in the application form –> https://ybd.mikser.rs/form/

TRANSFORMING DISTRICT 6

The European project CINEMA, in which, together with 16 other partners from 8 countries, we are looking for solutions for the transformation and revitalisation of abandoned central urban areas through the power of the creative industries, is entering its last and most active stage. Together with the Municipality of Gabrovo we are working on the development of the District 6. This is the oldest neighbourhood of the city, which has been at the heart of Gabrovo for centuries. The place has a huge potential to become a vibrant and valuable spot for all locals and visitors.

An important step forward in the implementation of the project is the recently announced by Gabrovo Municipalityopen call for the lease of four sites in District 6 through a public-private partnership. The initiative is in support of business and creative activities. Each location has its own distinctive look – two of them bear the marks of authentic Revival architecture, and the others are clean and with generous facades. Their biggest advantage is the opportunity to be part of a transformation of the city centre and turn them into active and lively spots.

The open call aims to select proposals for sustainable use of the four sites in District 6 for a period of two years. Applicants are invited to use the premises for small business, retail, creative activities, creating services and products specific to the creative industries, studios, offices, galleries and more. The requirement for them is to fill in a participation form in which to present their business, to sign a lease agreement and to start operations no later than September 30, 2022. The winners will be signing partnership agreements with the Municipality of Gabrovo, through which they will receive free consultations of choice on marketing activities and advertising, website and online store development, interior design or window layout.

One-year incentives are provided for all start-ups. These include free parking in the paid area of District 6, free internet, membership in the Gabrovo Chamber of Commerce and Industry and a one-time service of up to BGN 100, distribution of advertising materials from the Tourist Information Center, promotion of business through the channels of the Municipality of Gabrovo.

Applications for the call are accepted until January 31, 2022 by e-mail projects@gabrovo.bg. See full information about the four locations and download the application documents here. Let’s transform District 6 together!

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. 

BATTLE OF THE YEARS

Everything is going to be alright. This year as well. The conveniently timed days and months move us conveniently forward and give us an appropriate and supportive reason to be optimistic, to anticipate the coming and to analyse with a slight indulgence and peace the past. Here is what we were able to accomplish (of course, with the help of valuable associates and partners) in 2019, to close the year in peace and to step into the new decade with a foreseeable faith that we will crack those ambitious dreams and urgent tasks.

The Self-Initiated Projects

MELBA

Back in 2017 our professional life got a bit sweeter when we launched the design initiatives MELBA. In its full second year of existence we managed to enrich the dynamic Archive with new profiles of contemporary Bulgarian designers, managed to realize five events under the label Melba Live, two of which were outside of Sofia – in Plovdiv and in Burgas, as well as saw the second edition of the festival with stellar international participants.

The five editions of Melba Live welcomed great creatives presenting their inspiring work in various fields of design and sharing benevolently professional experience and insight. Those we were memorable ideas from the world of graphic design, illustration and animation, interiors and architecture, fashion and product design, typography and artistic installations. Every time the audience took away home a small present-memory from the event created by one of the lecturers and made possible by our partner Fashion Days.

Very soon we will announce the first for the year edition. In order to keep track of everything exciting around Melba – make sure to subscribe to our carefully curated and totally unobtrusive newsletter at melba.bg

The second edition of Мелба – Sofia Design Festival expanded its program with new formats such as film program (6 documentaries on design, architecture and art) and parties, moved the symposium to a larger hall in the National Palace of Culture, and saw a selection of 32 projects from the last year in the group exhibition Bulgarian Design Review 2019.

 


 

TAKE AWAY PLOVDIV

Over the last two years, we have been actively engaged in a challenging adventure with an unexpected end – the creation of new souvenirs by Bulgarian visual artists for the city of Plovdiv on the occasion of the title European Capital of Culture 2019. The invited creatives are covering different fields of artistic expression such as fashion, architecture, illustration, graphic design, photography… The project proved to be an important lesson and an interesting experiment for us – can we meet the requests of a typical souvenir format (small, portable, cheap, mass produced) and enrich it with a strong content and unique personality. The objects have been in distribution since April 2019 and can be viewed on the project site, as well as in selected locations for sale in Sofia and Plovdiv. The souvenirs also provoked an unintended and heated conversation in the national media over the lollipop, which mimics the Alyosha monument and is created by the duo Missirkov / Bogdanov. It provoked a discourse on the status of  the monuments from socialist past and their heritage in our society nowadays. It is with Take Away that we are nominated for the annual WhAT Association Architectural Awards in the category “Normality of the Year”. Our attempt to set a new format for the stereotypical souvenir image continues in our future initiatives.

 


 

COLLABORATIONS

GABROVO MUNICIPALITY

It is important for us to participate, encourage and support with all our might the attempts to make our living environment more meaningful, more understandable, more enjoyable, dignified and humane. The Municipality of Gabrovo invited us at the end of 2018 to initiate a long-term process of updating the visual communication of the municipality. The multilayered images and phrases associated with Gabrovo link the city to humour, to its industrial might in the past and to its central geographical location. Still undisputedly valid, however they are in need of reform and update in order to transform the image of the city into an adequate and attractive one for the current requirements of the times and addressing citizens, visitors and potential investors. In the first phase of this demanding and responsible process, we made an analysis of the attitudes through an informal survey and live meetings with citizens, an official national survey and a summary of the results, and set clear guidelines for the second step. You can find out more about it here.

 


HAVAS / BAUMIT – FACADE OF THE YEAR

The advertising agency Havas Worldwide Sofia invited us to work together on the grand-scale annual gala for their client Baumit Bulgaria. The bright and vibrant ceremony Facade of the Year celebrated and awarded the achievements of local architects, construction companies and investors and secured their subsequent participation in the international competition of the brand. We have selected a stellar team of contributors (thank you Georgi Tenev, Eva Ventova, Formatik, Plamen Bossev, Ivan Tsutsumanov, Kalin Nikolov, Milen Dankov, Beloslava and band, and to the presenters Stanislava Ivy and Dimitar Pavlov) for a true star finale of the year.

 


PARAGRAPH 42 / CANON BULGARIA

Canon Bulgaria and the PR agency Paragraph 42 invited us to lead the special launch of the brand’s large-format digital printing machines in front of a selected audience. It was our pleasure to work with arch. Mariana Sarbova, who presented one of her projects as an example of the possibilities of personalizing a creative idea through the technology on beautiful and still of limited popularity surfaces. In an article and live we talked about the attractiveness and uniqueness of such design and interior solutions.

 


PARTICIPATIONS

See It Be It Bulgaria

The female empowering format SeeItBeIt Bulgaria had us as their February lecturers. Following the leading theme “Women and culture”, we tried to present our position in the context of juggling and balancing professional dedication and personal life. The focus was the creative impetus behind our work, the visual culture as a platform for social uplift, the strong and independent women who raised us and obliterated the idea of gender inequality, and what we will pass on to our children (all girls) as an invisible code of valiant and dignified behavior.

Open Art Files: Notes and Footnotes

Culture had its momentum in Plovdiv last year and we are proud to have been part of it with both our self-initiated Take Away Plovdiv and with our selection in the group exhibition of Open Art Files: Notes and Footnotes at the Kapana Gallery. Our contribution was with the Bulgarian Design Review 2018, which we prepared for the first edition of Melba Festival. We thank the curator, Vera Mlechevska, and the organizer – Open Arts Foundation, for their collaborative and multidisciplinary look at issues related to our contemporary visual culture.

DARIK – 40 up to 40

Here we are among the selected Bulgarians with a positive contribution to society in season 6 of the initiative of the private national media DARIK – 40 up to 40. This undeniable honor is also accompanied by the unwavering responsibility of how we complete our work and how we develop it so that it makes sense for more people and makes a positive impact in their lives. We suggest you watch Boyana Gjaurova’s interview on the occasion here.

EVA Magazine

In its January issue 2020 the popular and well established magazine EVA selected as one of the 20 Bulgarian, “who in the next 12 months … will fulfil their dreams in 2020 and will change the situation in Bulgaria for the better.” We humbly thank the editorial team and hopefully meet these high expectations.

 


Studio Komplekt is proud to enter a new decade with the strong support and collaboration of our extended family and friends. Best wishes for the new year, and a sincere thank you to our 2019 creatives, collaborators, participants, members, supporters, and friends.

THANK YOU

To you. Your interest in our work is the food that gives us the strength and motivation to move forward.

To all our associates, participants and creators who embark with us on professional adventures with desire, patience and confidence. Without their participation in commissioned projects or exhibitions and lectures, our content would be meaningless.

To our funding supporters and friends. Your input is invaluable.

We are looking forward to what’s coming next and we will be happy to grow together.

Adriana Andreeva and Boiana Gjaurova | Studio Komplekt

AWAKEN CREATIVITY by VICKY KNYSH

The incomparable and multitalented visual artist Vicky Knysh is holding her first design class at the beginning of April in Generator. As organisers of the event for Generator, we from Studio Komplekt, are thrilled and excited to be part of this creative adventure. Expect to learn some behind the scenes moves about her characteristic drawings and how they come to life in various situations and formats – pictures, short animation, motion graphics, mobile applications, showcases and various products. Minushka – Knysh’s personal brand – embodies her colourful and full of heroic world and will be present as well at the end of the event to take away some of her wonderful goodies.

Currently Vicky is based in Dublin, where she is professionally balancing between illustration, animation and commercial design. In Sofia she will delve into the subject of how one can master the art of keeping their creativity awaken. She has also invited two special guests, equally successful and inspiring designers – Assya Koleva and Mila Lozanova

Follow Vicky Knysh in Instagram
For more information about her Design Class at Generator – visit the Facebook page of the event here.

While we sharpen our pencils for April, read some personal thoughts from Vicky about various topics:

Ireland_Minushka.com

How do you like to start and end each day? I love my day starting slowly, with a little yoga and planning the tasks. But in reality my mornings are not at all quiet. However, yoga is happening.

What’s your view on design and illustration? My look on the design totally changed as I moved to Dublin. The difference between Bulgaria and Ireland is enormous. What I’m still learning here is that design is not just beautiful, but also solves problems. The illustration has unlimited possibilities and is a very flexible means of work. With the improvement of digital media, she will have more and more life and she is going to develop in new directions.

Who and what are your biggest influences?  The difficult projects which I managed to realise despite the fact that my legs were trembling, but I still managed to do them. My family and friends, and living in 3 different countries.

You have a well curated Instagram profile. What’s your relationship to social media and your audience?
I really love Instagram and I find it the perfect platform for a creative person. Social media is a super tool, but as with the case of sugar, one must consume it carefully. My audience is creative people who work as such or simply seek inspiration.

Do you have a philosophy or motto that you live by? I believe it is important to keep your inner child awake because you can create through it.

What makes you laugh? Children and Irish people after having a few drinks.

Currently listening to/reading/watching: I listen to podcasts, read TWO CARAVANS by Marina Lewycka and watch a lot of animations.

Do you have favourite tools for your work? I’ve been drawing more and more with Procreate on iPad lately, I’m just addicted to it.

What great things did you discover in 2017 and what do you expect most for 2018? In 2017 I worked in an advertising agency and I remember how every day I wanted to find a way to be a freelancer. Also, in order to create, you do not need many techniques and schemes, you must use whatever you have and just go with it. In 2018 I expect to run my first class in design and meet many new wonderful people.
Geshka_Minushka.com
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Kukeri_Mug_Minushka.com

download FlexiPPL_Minushka.com Geshka_Minushka.com IL_Minushka.com Ireland_Minushka.com

TAKE AWAY PLOVDIV

SOUVENIRS as a topic and their removal from the context of the widespread perception of embodying cheap commercialised nostalgia without artistic value or functional sustainability has excited us for several years now. Through various self-initiated activities and by involving contemporary Bulgarian visual artists in the topic to add good design and meaningful interpretation, we are looking for an alternative to the low quality range of souvenirs in the tourist shops.

ТАС 2016

<the eight prototypes from TAKE AWAY SOFIA – photo by Missirkov / Bogdanov>

In 2016 we were able to realize TAKE AWAY SOFIA – new design for the Bulgarian souvenir. Eight Bulgarian designers created a prototype of souvenir for the capital. After the presentation of the ideas at an exhibition in Prague, at the DesignBlok Design International Festival and in Sofia with a series of public and open meetings on the topic of visual identity, the project moved to Plovdiv with the ambition to adequately enrich the performance of the Bulgarian city as the European Capital of Culture 2019.

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<current examples of national souvenirs: the picture on the left is taken from Nedko Solakov’s Facebook profile and depicts the presents given in Brussels as part of the Bulgarian Presidency of the Council of the EU>

TAKE AWAY PLOVDIV aims to break the overwhelming cliché of the typology of the souvenir and its role as a conveyor of the image of the city, concealed in the superficial, collectively adopted and unoriginally outlined history, way of life and culture. We have invited six visual creatives and given them the freedom to rethink ubiquitously spread city values and reference images by expecting from them to offer their author’s understanding of a souvenir. Their limitation is the format – it should be a souvenir prone to a spontaneous purchase, financially accessible, globally portable and easy to associate with Plovdiv.

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<Artelie>

ARTELIE – textile souvenir: the Bulgarian brand, led by fashion designer Elena Vladimirova who has graduated in Germany, is distinguished by high quality and made in a limited number of unique models of scarves, skirts, dresses, outerwear and accessories.

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<Neva Balnikova>

Neva Balnikova – accessory souvenir: with her distinctive, radiant and unmistakable works, Neva can interpret exquisitely and courageously with a diverse arsenal of materials from a bicycle seat, through a keychain to a bracelet, necklace and ring.

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<Teodor Georgiev>

Teodor Georgiev – illustration souvenir: Teo is the youngest participant in the project. Currently he studies Visual Narrative at Aalto University in Finland, but the distance to Bulgaria is shortened due to his origins – he is a native of Plovdiv and knows the place for his future souvenir quite well.

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<Missirkov/Bogdanov>

Missirkov/Bogdanov – artistic object: the well known duo is  among the most recognizable Bulgarian names in the sphere of photography and documentary. Their bright images seal invaluable emotions in beautiful and long-lasting visual threads. They will work on the theme of an iconic symbol of Plovdiv reincarnated in an object.

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<PS architects>

Penka Stancheva – architecture and game souvenir: Penka Stancheva was born in Plovdiv, but currently is based in Sofia. Her work appears on the covers of interior magazines and takes prizes for her eclectic and appropriate approaches to treating space. Architect Stancheva has the task of dealing with the theme of play in architecture, by incorporating Plovdiv streets, buildings or natural elements.Screen Shot 2018-02-28 at 10.37.54 AM

<ТЕЗГЯХ>

ТЕЗГЯХ is a conceptual studio with a strong design approach that will develop a souvenir for Plovdiv in a modern ceramic object.

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<UNIT>

The visual identity of the project is entrusted to UNIT, a studio for graphic design and visual communication, led by Boris Bonev (Sofia) and Mihail Mihaylov (Oslo). They have to pack the project in the most appropriate and attractive way so that its messages can be intuitively understood by both Plovdiv residents and visitors to the city.

Together with the invited team we undertake an active preparation of the project with the following plan: preparation of 6 prototypes for new souvenirs on different topics in the first half of 2018; presentation to the public in autumn 2018; building a common visual identity and a bilingual web site and producing the ideas in larger quantities by the end of 2018. As part of the implementation of the project is the distribution of a poll by asking the general public what they expect to see as a realized theme for a Plovdiv souvenir. In 2019. TAKE AWAY PLOVDIV will be distributed to specially selected ten different locations in the city.

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We will give updates on the project here.

The project is part of the program of Plovdiv – European Capital of Culture 2019

Generator

After more than two years of working on a concept with a focus on design, where diverse teams combine skills, professional experience and dreams, we are happy and proud to share that it is already a fact. A few days ago, we opened Generator – center for design, innovation, culture and creativity in Sofia, located on 300 square meters on the top floor of the Vitosha factory in central Sofia.

The space will offer self-initiated projects and carefully curated program, it will be a field of experiments and collaborations, hosting a library, a café, offering office surfing or renting. Everyone is welcome to come up with an idea or just visit us. From September – we will have fixed working hours and a working web site (fingers crossed). Until then – you can follow us on Facebook or Instagram.

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<photos: Under The Line>

The beginning: Motivated by the desire to expand our work and contribute more fully to the relationship between the creative industry and the business and public sector, we, Studio Komplekt, Creative Shower, Martin Zaimov and Ioanna Mitova (metta) joined forces in this partnership to have a stronger impact and realise some of our wildest professional dreams.

The place: In place of a former tailoring workshop, architect Iva Platikanova managed to create an interior that is comfortably adaptable to the needs of the program and flexible to the requirements of future visitors. The team of SKLADA (bar and the space around it), DontDIY (desks), Cactus Lab (green area), Artelie (exhibition details), and others, contributed to the process. We are hosting Design Bookery, which will continue to develop and enrich with new editions and magazines thanks to our mutual efforts with Next DC. We are proud that even before the start, IKEA trusted and supported the furnishing of the space, and we are already working on collaborative initiatives to reveal more from the lab and the “behind-the-scenes” processes of the largest furniture maker (studies, collaborations, experiments, environment, health, new materials, social, etc.). The ecosystem of the Vitosha factory – from our neighbours (White Place Studio, Harmonica, Puzl) to all new ones – is a serious argument for our positioning here.

Design as the guiding light: Generator is a field for meaningful experiments and new adventures. The design and its applications to solve different challenges is leading in shaping the program, developing projects and planning our collaborations. Generator is open to like-minded people, to open discussions and expand views on the world, and turn one form of energy, ability or talent into another, be it practical or inspiring one.

Before the summer vacations: We are launching with some seriously engaging and good quality program. Check it below:

 

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Know-How/ Show-How Podium – The building as a material

2 – 2:30 p.m. / Welcome coffee and registration
2:30 p.m.- Official opening and Introduction by the moderators – Adriana Andreeva and Boyana Gyaurova (Studio Komplekt)
2:45 p.m.- “Material resource efficiency in construction” / Dr. Rumyana Zaharieva, Associate Professor at UACEG, Sofia
3:30 p.m.- “Fail” / Georgi Manassiev (BG) and Els Woldhek (NL) Studio ODD MATTER, Amsterdam
4:15 p.m.- “Earth construction: Materials, techniques and building maintenance”/Varvara Valtchanova, architect Zemnostroitelstvo
5 p.m. – coffee break
5:30 p.m. – “Тhe emergence of form“/ Maria Blaisse (NL), research and education in textiles and flexible design Maria Blaisse, (NL)
6:15 p.m.- “Slow research: particle and universe” / Carolyn F. Strauss (USA/NL), curator and educator Slow Research Lab
7 p.m – / Creative discussion with all participants

 

 

 

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Daniel Charny is our first guest speaker in the public series of meetings with respected design innovators from around the world called DESIGN IS and inaugurated by Generator.

The format reveals the various aspects of the discipline and how it supports a better quality of life. Through lectures, exhibitions and workshops, both professional and general public have the opportunity to learn more about important stages of historical evolvement of the discipline, its remarkable revolutionaries, contemporary implementations, bold and imaginative experiments, ethical and sustainable trends, upcoming innovations and more. The format DESIGN IS encourages the creative process and the development of a more meaningful future that we all want to be a part of.

* Supported by the platform PROTOTYPE – developed and hosted by Societe Generale Expressbank Bulgaria.

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WATER CULTURE: RESOURCES is a long-term initiative by Generator for deconstruction and research of important natural resources of the city. WATER CULTURE is the first project on the topic, which aims to inform and provide solutions for a fuller and more conscious use of the mineral springs in Sofia. How can these springs be used, why a large part of them spill into the canal and remain unused, where they are at all, who is responsible for them, what their potential is for balneology and tourism. These will be part of the questions we will ask during WATER CULTURE. We will look at the plausible answers together. The project is divided into several parts and the first one is DECONSTRUCTION “WATER” (information event) on Thursday, 20.07.2017 from 17.30 to 20.30. More info тук.