If you think nothing ever happens in the field of Slovakian design, you are quite wrong. Many exciting and interesting projects are taking place in our neighboring country that are worth paying attention to. In addition, the Slovaks have something we Hungarians lack: a proper design magazine. And this is only one out of many.
We discovered it approximately one and a half years ago that a magazine titled Designum exists. We subscribed soon: the minimal image, the exciting typo associated with the different articles, and, all in all, the publication as such convinced us. We are not quite sure whether we should refer to it as a periodical instead of a magazine, as Designum is somewhere between the two: it is sufficiently informative, but not dry, it is full of exciting images and cool topics (not only of current trends and creators, but of design history studies and critics, too.) It has been released quarterly, for 25 years now. That is something, isn’t it? It is published by Slovenské centrum designu, that is, the Slovakian Design Center since 1993, and each and every issue is available online. The only flaw of the magazine is that it is only written in Slovakian language, but the summary of the articles can also be read in English at the end of the publication. The same thing pops into our minds every time we hold it in our hands: why don’t we have such a fantastic magazine?
The clothing pieces of Buffet Clothing have nothing surprising about them. We could even say that they are dull and boring, because we are so used to having to look for something extra in everything. We feel that this three-person design team did not overthink it, they were not about flashing something big, they only wanted to create a correct and plain collection. And they managed to do so. They insisted on the best quality, but got rid of everything that was not essential. They design both for men and women, and their pieces are most often in a single shade or range on a monochrome palette, and somehow the entire brand feels like it came from overseas, at least. If we had to point out a Hungarian brand of similar style and spirit, it would be INQ concept, which we adore, as well.
Crafting Plastics Studio
Specs frames can be made out of Bakelite or cork – a good example of the former in Hungary is Tipton Eyeworks, and Moonshadesfor the latter, which is sufficiently flexible and light enough to float on the water. However, a spectacle is (in addition to having a practical function) a fashion accessory, which also dresses its wearer, and as such, changes with fashion. This is especially why it is so cool that the designers of Crafting Plastics Studio, Vlasta Kubušová and Miroslav Král, use 100% biodegradable materials for creating their specs frames. No metal mountings, and the lenses are also reusable. Compared to other bio-plastic materials, the one developed by them (PLA – Polyactic Acid, PHB – Polyhydroxybutyrate) is less fragile and is more resistant against higher temperatures (110 Celsius). The spectacles are made for order, customized to the needs of the client. And what is especially good about it is that it degrades over 90 days. Their motto: “Enjoy your plastic without oil”. Designers, attention! If you are interested in these fantastic materials, but don’t want to invest in a new pair of glasses, you can order sample materials, as well.
Martina Klbečková graduated at the VŠVU in Bratislava (Vysoká škola výtvarných umení), i.e. the academy of fine arts and design. We did not manage to learn anything else about her, but dwelling on biography data would make us no use: let her jewelry speak for her. Martina, aka Minka makes a complete zoo wearable: farm animals, fairytale unicorns and dinosaurs are all included in the palette. Humorous and elegant pieces made out of porcelain. Brooches, rings, necklaces – it doesn’t matter. We would love to wear any of them, to spice up our everydays a bit. Our favorite is the pearl necklace with a unicorn, but the gold-dotted dachshund brooch isn’t bad, either.
Slovenské centrum designu
We only noticed it in the past couple of years, but the truth is that the Slovaks started to systematically process their object culture two decades ago. And if we were to consider them “late bloomers” because of that, we would not be wrong. Nevertheless, the approach how they started to discover and explore their relationship with design, everyday objects and visual culture (and, of course, their own identity) can serve as a source of inspiration for us, too. The “Design Center” of the Slovaks was brought to life in 1991 by the Slovakian ministry of culture. The aim of the institute is to explore and introduce the Slovakian design to the general public: this is why they publish Designum magazine on a quarterly basis, this is why they organize exhibitions (Slovenské múzeum designu, SCD Satelit gallery), and they are the ones announcing the most important tenders (Národná cena za produktovy design, Národná cena za komunikacny design – the Slovakian equivalents of the Design Award). They hold workshops for children and adults and they also organize presentations and events with design in the focus. They have recently opened their exhibition titled “100 years of design” organized for the 100th anniversary of the foundation of the Czechoslovakian Republic and the 25th anniversary of the Slovakian Republic, where we can get an insight to the history of (Czech)Slovakian design through more than 500 objects. Do not miss if you are ever in Bratislava!
In our weekly series, we present the Czech, Slovakian and Polish brands and design spots that we consider worthy of being placed on our mental design map. It is a guide for those looking for something other than usual tourist sights.