Sunday, June 12, 2011


Since I started yesterday's post about the first seminar day of Sofia Design Week with a small fashion review, I thought I'd continue the pattern and do this again today. Day 2 was the day of scarves and iPhones. You're bound to wonder why I'm referring to the iPhone as part of my so-called "fashion review," and my answer is that at this point I believe that for many people the iPhone is more of a fashion statement than anything else, or at least a kind of statement that doesn't have that much to do with functionality. Of course, from a design standpoint, the iPhone is a great choice, so I guess what I want to say is that I'm not judging but merely observing a trend. I loved all the scarves, of course, since I am a scarf person myself, and also the handmade earrings, again for the obvious reasons.

The seminar day started with a lecture by Michael Marriott, who talked about objects, what they mean, and the stories they tell. He talked about the idea that the way people put together objects tells an even more complex and rich story, which I found to be something that I can agree with. He talked about the poetry of the "misuse" of objects, or the beauty and humor that can be seen in the way people use objects outside of their original purpose - rubber boots as door stops, bottles as chairs, and so on.

The second lecture was focused on creating visual identities for companies and institutions and was presented by Walter Bohatsch and Julia Krauth from Bohatsch und Partner. The projects that they presented were great illustrations of excellent design that employs the grid system, careful selection of type, and very successful use of patterns that are especially created for their clients with the specific project in mind. Even the logos that they design are usually formed in such a way that they can be used and stacked to produce a pattern, which I thought was very interesting. I especially enjoyed their work on Schulzentrum Krems and Bad Radkersburg.

Photobucket Photobucket
It's a pity that the website of Bohatsch und Partners doesn't work at the moment, but hopefully in the future you would be able to browse through and see all the work they did for the school center - from wallpaper through pictograms and maps to outdoor signage - as well as their work of other clients, such as the mountain resort Arlberg.

Krassen Krestev's lecture on the Bulgarian Cyrillic alphabet was definitely one of the high points of the day. Krassen is an excellent presenter, and his lecture was exciting both visually and intellectually. He presented some very interesting characteristics of the Bulgarian Cyrillic alphabet in comparison with the Russian Cyrillic and the Latin alphabets that I had never thought about before. It turns out that the Bulgarian Cyrillic alphabet is more readable and dynamic than its Russian counterpart, even if it is not as efficient in terms of the space it uses. A curious tidbit to learn was that the letter t, or "m" in the Bulgarian Cyrillic alphabet as compared to the "т" in the Russian Cyrillic alphabet, is the one that makes the text take up more space. The conclusion was that the Bulgarian Cyrillic alphabet has a strong identity that has to be protected by all of us; it is the kind of legacy that should not be left in the past.

Here is one of Krassen Krestev's fonts called DTL Paradox BG, which is an example of Bulgarian Cyrillic alphabet.

Nelly Ben Hayoun
's lecture about interactions design was so much fun, not only because of the projects themselves, but also because of the amazing enthusiasm of the artist. Nelly focuses on recreating thrilling experiences - seeing a volcano erupt in your living room, living through a liftoff into space by sitting on a special chair, experiencing a sonic boom in a balloon tunnel that mimics the Kamioka neutrino observatory.

"The Other Volcano"
"Super K Sonic BOOOOum"

Dessislava Vardjieva-Eckhardt took us through some design projects that her students at the School of Visual Arts in Leipzig are working on, followed by the guys from Rich Brilliant Willing, who talked about some of their designs using ready-made components. They use off-the-shelf and ready-made parts to design their furniture and just tweak these components to create design objects. It was DIY turned into a design business, which I thought was a very nice idea.

The seminar concluded with a lecture by Konstantin Grcic that contained lots of images of chairs:). It was a nice overview of the evolution, or rather the life and variety, of chairs throughout the years, followed by some of his designs of chairs.

All in all, this was definitely a great, informative, and fun day of design lectures. Still, Sofia Design Week is just beginning, so there's lots more to see in the coming week. I am also looking forward to its conclusion next Saturday with a "Sofia Breathes" day of design workshops on Shishman Street, which will be closed for traffic. See you all then!

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