javier mariscal

A couple of days ago, the 5th edition of Sofia Design Week – international festival of design and visual culture – was oficially ended in the Bulgarian capital. The event with a theme THE BALKAN DATE  took place at 50 venues throughtout the city from 21st to 30th June. Whithin these hot 10 days, an impressive number of lectures, exhibitions, workshops, installations, screenings and music performances was held. We were at the spot, visited some of them and at the same time explored this lively and friendly place. Here we bring a series of reports from our most favourite program parts.

national palace pf culture
According to the organizers, the main objective of  Sofia Design Week is to start a discussion about Balkan design, to stimulate cultural exchange between countries from the Balkans and to promote a more tangible presence of projects from the region on the world map. Thus the most important item in purpose of this goal was the professional FORUM held on June 22nd and 23rd.

javier mariscal

The first panel called RE-DESIGNING THE FRAME and located in the Sofia National Palace of Culture presented 8 amazing lectures by renowned designers and studios from all around the world. We especially apreciated the outstanding performance by Spanish comic artist Javier Mariscal (ES). The others, but not less interesting, were Glithero (UK), Gerard Unger (NL), Company (FI),  Formafantasma (IT), Jaime Hayon (ES), Reto Wettach from IxDS (DE) and David Carson (USA).

Within the second panel a round-table discussions  THE BALKAN TALKS  were formed in the venue of Central Architects House with the representatives of some emerging design events in almost all Balkan countries such as Istanbul Design Biennial, Mikser Festival in Serbia, Skopje Design Week or Croatian Designers Society as well as several progressive designers on the Balkan design scene. See the complete forum program here.

In the recent couple of years a number of emerging design events throughout the Balkan can be watched. Although their organizational level varies, their dramaturgy seems to be similar: the most famous design stars from the western world are invited to take part either giving a lecture or setting up an exhibition, while at the same time the local education in design ends in the step of computer visualizations with no possibility of even prototyping. All representatives of such events talk about the same trouble – the projects are run by civic organizations and volunteers and it is very hard to ensure sufficient funding. Although it is very tricky to talk about design in these countries today, let’s see in a few years. But for sure, events such as Sofia Design Week build good foundations to start at least to think of design in Balkan.

For more information visit the Sofia Design Week official website.
Images on courtesy of Sofia Design Week and DESIGNEAST.