The seventeenth Budapest Design Week revolved around the circular economy and sustainable design. Domestic businesses and designers had the opportunity to explore an approach that shows a positive vision of the future, improves effectiveness, and may grant competitive advantage to the domestic actors on the design scene. Held between 1 and 11 October 2020, the most significant design event in Budapest offered over 160 programmes, most of them online.
Short films on design solutions responding to the pandemic situation, inspirational videos on the issues of sustainability and the circular economy, virtual exhibitions, webinars, business development programmes: Budapest Design Week expected its audience with more online content and events than ever before. Curated and financed by the Hungarian Intellectual Property Office and organised by the Hungarian Design Council, the festival was held in a hybrid form, due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Out of the programmes, almost a hundred were held in the virtual space, while over seventy in the traditional form. A highlight of the latter was the opening event of Budapest Design Week, where the Design Management Award and multiple categories of the Hungarian Design Award were conferred, available for anyone to follow via online streaming. In full compliance with the current epidemiological requirements, each of the offline programmes of this year’s Open Studios was held with a full house.
Owing to its online presence, this year’s Budapest Design Week attracted audiences across borders. The festival’s social media pages were followed from the United Kingdom, Germany, Italy, Austria and Romania, in addition to Hungary, and hundreds from the United States of America also joined the programmes. In the past one month, the event website, social media pages, online events and newsletters have reached over 350,000 people, while Budapest Design Week was mentioned by hundreds in their story on Instagram. Festival events organised by the 120 external partners reached nearly 100,000 people, too. Accordingly, the online and traditional programmes and activities attracted close to half a million people to this year’s Budapest Design Week.
This year, too, the series of events consisted of two main programme types: contents and programmes of our own development, on the one hand, and events organised by external partners in connection with Budapest Design Week, on the other hand. In the spirit of the motto “Join the circle!”, the models in the focus were ones demonstrating what tools design can contribute to building a more sustainable future. During the festival, the two video series by Budapest Design Week had nearly 36,000 views. The short films, which are still available, present Hungarian design and community responses to the Covid-19 pandemic, as well as the businesses and initiatives where the circular economy plays a strategic role.
On the upgraded website of Budapest Design Week, online exhibitions attracted the most attention. The event’s own interactive exhibition No quitting! Circular design presented the possibilities offered by the circular economy through Hungarian examples. This year, the recipients of the Hungarian Design Award and the Design Management Award, along with the works of the most outstanding entrants were also showcased at an online exhibition. Participating as a professional partner to Budapest Design Week, the Hungarian Fashion and Design Agency held an exhibition entitled 360 Design Budapest, where products of twenty contemporary Hungarian design brands were presented in a studio in Budapest downtown and online through 360-degree videos.
With the development of the Hungarian creative and design industry in mind, a number of business development programmes were included in Budapest Design Week. An online workshop was offered to the audience to familiarise them with sustainable service design, and a whole day worth of series of online programmes called Service Design Day presented the results and trends of service design in Hungary. Highly successful projects of the Hungarian Design Council included the Start Up Guide, an annually refreshed publication tailored particularly to the needs of micro enterprises in the creative industry, available to anyone online for free downloading. Based on an abundance of trademark-related, legal, marketing and business information, a webinar in four sessions was held during Budapest Design Week to explore the possible responses of Hungarian creative industry businesses to the crisis situation caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Numerous programme items and contents of Budapest Design Week’s own development remain available on the upgraded website of the series of events even after the festival, where the column My favourite object keeps refreshing, and news from the Hungarian and international design and creative industry scene awaits visitors.