BATTLE OF THE YEARS
Everything is going to be alright. This year as well. The conveniently timed days and months move us conveniently forward and give us an appropriate and supportive reason to be optimistic, to anticipate the coming and to analyse with a slight indulgence and peace the past. Here is what we were able to accomplish (of course, with the help of valuable associates and partners) in 2019, to close the year in peace and to step into the new decade with a foreseeable faith that we will crack those ambitious dreams and urgent tasks.
The Self-Initiated Projects
Back in 2017 our professional life got a bit sweeter when we launched the design initiatives MELBA. In its full second year of existence we managed to enrich the dynamic Archive with new profiles of contemporary Bulgarian designers, managed to realize five events under the label Melba Live, two of which were outside of Sofia – in Plovdiv and in Burgas, as well as saw the second edition of the festival with stellar international participants.
The five editions of Melba Live welcomed great creatives presenting their inspiring work in various fields of design and sharing benevolently professional experience and insight. Those we were memorable ideas from the world of graphic design, illustration and animation, interiors and architecture, fashion and product design, typography and artistic installations. Every time the audience took away home a small present-memory from the event created by one of the lecturers and made possible by our partner Fashion Days.
Very soon we will announce the first for the year edition. In order to keep track of everything exciting around Melba – make sure to subscribe to our carefully curated and totally unobtrusive newsletter at melba.bg
The second edition of Мелба – Sofia Design Festival expanded its program with new formats such as film program (6 documentaries on design, architecture and art) and parties, moved the symposium to a larger hall in the National Palace of Culture, and saw a selection of 32 projects from the last year in the group exhibition Bulgarian Design Review 2019.
TAKE AWAY PLOVDIV
Over the last two years, we have been actively engaged in a challenging adventure with an unexpected end – the creation of new souvenirs by Bulgarian visual artists for the city of Plovdiv on the occasion of the title European Capital of Culture 2019. The invited creatives are covering different fields of artistic expression such as fashion, architecture, illustration, graphic design, photography… The project proved to be an important lesson and an interesting experiment for us – can we meet the requests of a typical souvenir format (small, portable, cheap, mass produced) and enrich it with a strong content and unique personality. The objects have been in distribution since April 2019 and can be viewed on the project site, as well as in selected locations for sale in Sofia and Plovdiv. The souvenirs also provoked an unintended and heated conversation in the national media over the lollipop, which mimics the Alyosha monument and is created by the duo Missirkov / Bogdanov. It provoked a discourse on the status of the monuments from socialist past and their heritage in our society nowadays. It is with Take Away that we are nominated for the annual WhAT Association Architectural Awards in the category “Normality of the Year”. Our attempt to set a new format for the stereotypical souvenir image continues in our future initiatives.
It is important for us to participate, encourage and support with all our might the attempts to make our living environment more meaningful, more understandable, more enjoyable, dignified and humane. The Municipality of Gabrovo invited us at the end of 2018 to initiate a long-term process of updating the visual communication of the municipality. The multilayered images and phrases associated with Gabrovo link the city to humour, to its industrial might in the past and to its central geographical location. Still undisputedly valid, however they are in need of reform and update in order to transform the image of the city into an adequate and attractive one for the current requirements of the times and addressing citizens, visitors and potential investors. In the first phase of this demanding and responsible process, we made an analysis of the attitudes through an informal survey and live meetings with citizens, an official national survey and a summary of the results, and set clear guidelines for the second step. You can find out more about it here.
HAVAS / BAUMIT – FACADE OF THE YEAR
The advertising agency Havas Worldwide Sofia invited us to work together on the grand-scale annual gala for their client Baumit Bulgaria. The bright and vibrant ceremony Facade of the Year celebrated and awarded the achievements of local architects, construction companies and investors and secured their subsequent participation in the international competition of the brand. We have selected a stellar team of contributors (thank you Georgi Tenev, Eva Ventova, Formatik, Plamen Bossev, Ivan Tsutsumanov, Kalin Nikolov, Milen Dankov, Beloslava and band, and to the presenters Stanislava Ivy and Dimitar Pavlov) for a true star finale of the year.
PARAGRAPH 42 / CANON BULGARIA
Canon Bulgaria and the PR agency Paragraph 42 invited us to lead the special launch of the brand’s large-format digital printing machines in front of a selected audience. It was our pleasure to work with arch. Mariana Sarbova, who presented one of her projects as an example of the possibilities of personalizing a creative idea through the technology on beautiful and still of limited popularity surfaces. In an article and live we talked about the attractiveness and uniqueness of such design and interior solutions.
See It Be It Bulgaria
The female empowering format SeeItBeIt Bulgaria had us as their February lecturers. Following the leading theme “Women and culture”, we tried to present our position in the context of juggling and balancing professional dedication and personal life. The focus was the creative impetus behind our work, the visual culture as a platform for social uplift, the strong and independent women who raised us and obliterated the idea of gender inequality, and what we will pass on to our children (all girls) as an invisible code of valiant and dignified behavior.
Open Art Files: Notes and Footnotes
Culture had its momentum in Plovdiv last year and we are proud to have been part of it with both our self-initiated Take Away Plovdiv and with our selection in the group exhibition of Open Art Files: Notes and Footnotes at the Kapana Gallery. Our contribution was with the Bulgarian Design Review 2018, which we prepared for the first edition of Melba Festival. We thank the curator, Vera Mlechevska, and the organizer – Open Arts Foundation, for their collaborative and multidisciplinary look at issues related to our contemporary visual culture.
DARIK – 40 up to 40
Here we are among the selected Bulgarians with a positive contribution to society in season 6 of the initiative of the private national media DARIK – 40 up to 40. This undeniable honor is also accompanied by the unwavering responsibility of how we complete our work and how we develop it so that it makes sense for more people and makes a positive impact in their lives. We suggest you watch Boyana Gjaurova’s interview on the occasion here.
In its January issue 2020 the popular and well established magazine EVA selected as one of the 20 Bulgarian, “who in the next 12 months … will fulfil their dreams in 2020 and will change the situation in Bulgaria for the better.” We humbly thank the editorial team and hopefully meet these high expectations.
Studio Komplekt is proud to enter a new decade with the strong support and collaboration of our extended family and friends. Best wishes for the new year, and a sincere thank you to our 2019 creatives, collaborators, participants, members, supporters, and friends.
To you. Your interest in our work is the food that gives us the strength and motivation to move forward.
To all our associates, participants and creators who embark with us on professional adventures with desire, patience and confidence. Without their participation in commissioned projects or exhibitions and lectures, our content would be meaningless.
To our funding supporters and friends. Your input is invaluable.
We are looking forward to what’s coming next and we will be happy to grow together.
Adriana Andreeva and Boiana Gjaurova | Studio Komplekt