Only few days are left until the sixth edition of MELBA Design Festival in Sofia. Between 2 and 12 November, we welcome prominent representatives of the European design scene in a one-day symposium with lectures, focus on the collaboration of Bulgarian designers and manufacturers over the past year and engage the audience in exhibitions, discussions and classes. Check out all the details about the programme and participants on our festival website and be sure to add some of the activities to your calendar:
Opening of the exhibition Object of Relationships. Review of Bulgarian Design 2023 on 2 November at 6:30 PM at KO-OP (17 Yanko Sakuzov Blvd.): the exhibition focuses on the interaction between designers and producers, carefully examining the specific potential and documenting the production process of creating new design objects through dialogue and collaboration. Curated by Dima Stefanova, a designer and cultural entrepreneur committed to projects in design, art and social innovation. She is the founder of the educational platform Know-How Show-How, which promotes knowledge exchange and alternative learning methods. Philip Boyadjiev is the author of the exhibition design and visual layout. Free entrance. The exhibition will be on view until November 12.
Like every year the festival is focused on its International Symposium with outstanding design specialists, presenting a mix of different fields in one day. Read more about this year’s speakers on our website. The Symposium is taking place on 4 November at 11:00 AM live in Hall 1 at Toplocentrala or online.
Tickets for the symposium can be purchased here. All lectures are held in English.
This year MELBA is also offering a diverse mix of EXTRAS:
For the second year in a row, the international design festival MELBA includes in its program the exhibition Diploma Project, which presents the diploma works of students in various fields – from sculpture, through design and illustration, to scenography and fashion. The exhibition aims to present both the diversity in techniques, media and themes that excite the young generation of today, and to look at the way they make sense of tomorrow.
This year the exhibition focuses on Radina Yotova, a visual artist in the field of digital arts. As part of the Graduation Project exhibition, Radina will present the video installation Now You See Me: Re-Appropriating the Visual Landscape of Our Digital World, with which she graduated in Graphic Design from the Royal Academy of Arts, KABK, in The Hague in 2022. The interactive video installation invites visitors to enter a sensory-engaging space and engage in a provocative experiment exploring the absurdity that arises in trying to mimic human perception with algorithms.
The exhibition can be seen between 2 and 12 November at the UniCredit Studio Gallery (7 Sveta Nedelya Square, Sofia) on weekdays between 8:00 AM and 6:00 PM. The official presentation of the exhibition will be on Tuesday, November 7, at 6 PM.
For the first year MELBA Design Festival includes in its programme a design residency organised by Komplekt in partnership with the Hungarian Cultural Institute Liszt in Sofia. The residency programme is committed to creating more space for research, thinking and critique in the field of design, providing conditions for the creation of a new design project inspired by Sofia as a base, working environment and laboratory for new ideas. The Design Residency provides an opportunity to meet and exchange and make sustainable contacts with colleagues from Bulgaria and the local creative community.
After a careful selection of young, contemporary Hungarian designers from various fields, Komplekt has settled on Budapest-based graphic designer and illustrator Kata Moravszki, who will immerse herself in an exploration of the local context together with graphic designer Richárd Lakosi over the course of three weeks. The result of her working stay will be presented in an exhibition that recreates her impressions in a new visual project during the sixth edition of MELBA Design Festival. The exhibition will open on Friday, November 3, at 5 PM in the gallery of the Hungarian Cultural Institute in Sofia (16 Aksakov Street) and will be on view until November 12 on weekdays between 10 AM and 5PM.
The exhibition Just Once: Selected Works of Studio Najbrt traces the path of visual language and explores the changes, diversity, innovative approaches and freedom of expression that mark the work of Studio Najbrt, one of the most famous and successful Czech graphic design studios, founded in 1994 by Aleš Najbrt and Pavel Lev in Prague. It recaps some of their key work and visual principles, looking at their inspiration from art, the typefaces they designed, and their collaborations with photographers such as Josef Koudelka. The exhibition also looks at the sustainability and broad impact of Studio Najbrt’s vibrant, distinctive and colorful work, and brings together a wide range of logos, posters, book designs and other projects.
The exhibition opens on Friday 3 November at 6 PM in the Czech Centre Gallery (100 Rakovski Street) and can be viewed during the festival on weekdays between 1 PM and 6 PM.
World Kindness Day has been celebrated every 13 November since 1998. The Italian typography studio Zetafonts celebrates it with an exhibition of posters collected after an open call. This year 180 designers, typographers and illustrators from around the world are joining in their appeal for meaningful messages that stand for goodness. The initiative earns Zetafonts a 2023 Gold Indigo Design Award in the category of Integrated Graphic Design for Social Change. Fight for Kindness in Sofia showcases a selection of inspiring work by local and international artists.
The exhibition can be viewed during the festival (02 -12.11.2023) at Coffee Syndicate (3 Moskovska Street, Sofia) from Monday to Friday between 8:00 AM and 8:00 PM and on Saturday and Sunday from 10:00 AM to 8:00 PM.
A part of our partnership content is the exhibition Croatian Design X, presenting the best of contemporary Croatian design over the last decade. It arrives in Bulgaria thanks to Zagreb Design Week. The curatorial concept (Tina Marković and Daniel Tomičić) is to present products not yet available on the Bulgarian market. Twenty-one exhibitors have been selected to offer a fascinating insight into the vibrant and dynamic world of Croatian design.
Opening: 1 November, Wednesday, 6:30 PM | Espace PORT A, Triaditsa 5 Str.
The exhibition can be viewed until 12 November inclusive every day between 3:00 PM and 7:00 PM.
The exhibition, organized by the design, interior and architecture magazine MD, presents real products by some of the most talented contemporary Bulgarian designers working in Bulgaria and abroad since 2000. Some of the products shown in the exhibition have been awarded the most prestigious international design award Red Dot. The objects are part of those included in the first book on contemporary Bulgarian product design in the 21st century, published by Bismarck Publishing House and released in April 2023.
Our MELBA SCHOOL series continues with an educational class for proactive designers with presenters Maja Lalić, architect, founder of the multidisciplinary cultural platform and festival Mikser, and co-founder of Young Balkan Designers, a regional platform that aims to discover, develop and promote creative talent from the Balkan region in the field of sustainable design; and Jelena Matić, furniture and interior designer and co-founder of Young Balkan Designers.
The class is suitable for students and/or professionals in furniture/industrial/product design or architecture. Participants will explore design as a strategic and dynamic discipline that requires proactive thinking, adaptability and a holistic approach. The thematic focuses within the workshop are:
- Design competitions: in-depth review and analysis of various international design competitions: categories and criteria in selecting finalists; building skills to research and identify appropriate competitions based on interests and experience;
- Creating a persuasive portfolio: strategies for putting together and presenting a winning portfolio (with personalized guidance);
- Concept development: techniques for generating unique and innovative design concepts;
- Opportunities to collaborate with international industry professionals;
- Building strategic design thinking;
All details for registration and a detailed class schedule (Friday, November 10, 10:00 AM – 4:00 PM) can be found HERE.
Within the sixth festival edition the shared space for hand screen printing Sito Studio organizes:
- Advanced Screen Printing Workshop with Diego Mena (Spain): designer, illustrator and founder of MULTIPLE EDITIONS, a screen printing and art production studio specialising in high-end limited edition prints by contemporary artists;
- A risograph printing workshop with Oscar Ginter from the Parisian studio Qiuntal Atelier. Oscar will talk about the intricacies of this print, the training explores new possibilities in the field of art printing and is aimed at artists, designers and illustrators with an interest in printing technology.
We can’t wait to share with you what we’ve been working on over the past months!
With many thanks to all our partners!