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design LAB | Connecting manufacturers and designers

The Hungarian Fashion and Design Agency established an incubation program under the name design LAB to promote collaboration between Hungarian manufacturers and creative experts of the design industry, while also aiming to alleviate the consequences of the economic situation caused by the pandemic in addition to the strategic objective of production development. The manufacturers and designers can apply with a proposal developed and elaborated together for monetary support primarily for implementing furniture, home decoration and textile products. HFDA facilitates the easier establishment of partnerships with organizing an online business meeting called Speed Dating.

The launch of design LAB was preceded by a roundtable discussion of experts, in the course of which the sectoral representatives pointed out that there is a need for project-based collaborations in which the professionalism of manufacturers and the creativity of designers can manifest in the form of competitive products. HFDA developed its program design LAB taking into consideration the sectoral feedback, setting the promotion of successful collaborations between the participants of the sector as well as the strengthening and modernization of Hungarian manufacturers as primarily goals. In addition, the program also aims to increase the competitiveness of production development and to encourage the export activity of the sector.

These ad-hoc partnerships have gained even greater value in the economic situation caused by the pandemic, as the market players are forced to rethink their business processes and activities to create a demand for their goods.

The Agency promotes contact creation by organizing an event called „Speed dating” – now implemented online due to the current situation. In the framework of the virtual event, the manufacturers and designers can get to know each other and assess the potential of their collaboration in 15-20 minute webcam interviews, so the participants can choose their preferred partners already on the day of the interview. The manufacturer-designer pairs formed this way will have approx. 2 moths to prepare their joint proposal.

The documentation submitted must contain the professional description of the manufacturer and designer taking part in the project, the schedule of implementation, the professional program also entailing the related budget, visual documentation, the list of necessary machines and equipment, and the market potential of the product suitable for series production to be developed in the framework of the project. In order to reach the widest possible scope of applicants, the call for tender does not specify the categories of materials. With regard to the economic situation brought on by the pandemic, the support framework covers a pre-determined part of the costs of production, wages, designer’s fee, procurement of equipment and materials as well as other elements related to the project.

The proposals will be evaluated by an Evaluation Committee consisting of experts of the given industry, paying particular attention to originality, feasibility and exportability. The members of the jury will examine the issues of viability of series production, the feasibility of duration and budgeting as well as matters of sustainability, and they will also ask their questions in the framework of personal consultations. The winning applicants can use the non-refundable support for finalizing and manufacturing the products suitable for series production.

“In Hungary, there are only a few (yet quite remarkable) examples for project work between manufacturers and designers so far. The aim of the Hungarian Fashion and Design Industry is to make as many market players seize the opportunity of collaborations between the side of manufacturers and that of designers as possible, as this could be a key of succeeding domestically. With the successful partnerships implemented in the framework of design LAB, we would like to encourage market players to also initiate similar collaborations in the future on their won, realizing the advantages of cooperation between manufacturers and designers, which are even more important now than even before – said Zsófia Bata-Jakab, the leader of HFDA.

The Agency will monitor the production process in the form of monthly factory inspections carried out by involving experts of the field, in the framework of which they will track all phases from preparations, through work processes to the finalisation of the product.

The design LAB program is implemented in collaboration with French design institute VIA (Valorisation de l’Innovation dans l’Ameublement), therefore, VIA will also participate in the evaluation of proposals as a professional partner.

The details of the call

The manufacturers and designers interested in design LAB can apply jointly between May 7, 2020 and July 3, 2020 with their documentation, in line with the information published on the official website of HFDA

The Agency will organize the online Speed dating event on June 10, 2020. Designers and manufacturers can pre-register for the event by sending an e-mail to the designlab@hfda.hu e-mail address.

The details of the call for tender are available on the official website of HFDA.

About the Hungarian Fashion and Design Agency

The Hungarian Fashion and Design Agency was founded as a subsidiary of the Hungarian Tourism Agency in 2018, with two key divisions: fashion industry and design industry. The aim of the agency is to increase the visibility and recognition of the Hungarian fashion and design industry, and thus to strengthen the country’s image. In addition, its most important tasks include the increase of export activity, the strengthening and developing of the Hungarian manufacturing sector, and developing traditional creative and professional knowledge. As an integrative organization, one of its key objectives is to realize effective professional coordination between Hungarian and international entities of the fashion and design industries, forming an essential part of long-term success.

Source: press release

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