HFDA launched its mentor program titled design SPEED together with the renowned Italian Istituto Europeo di Designnal (IED) at the end of the summer, for six stable Hungarian designers possibly having some foreign experience who are committed to the further development of their companies. Each week until the end of January, you can get to know another protégé a little closer here, at HYPEANDHYPER – this time it is Éva Hargitai, i.e. the Multifelt Factory.
The only felt factory in Hungary operates as the joint venture of two families since 2016, and is lead by the two mothers: mathematician Éva Hargitai and economist Ilona Fodor. The factory processes felt brought by ancient Hungarians to Europe, which forms part to our unique cultural heritage.
It primarily targets a wide range of Hungarian designers, and the future of the factory depends on effective and successful collaboration with such designers. They also welcome hobby artists, schools, as well as children and adult communities. They would also like to provide opportunities for them to create in the spirit of slow design.
With the help of Multifelt Factory, the designers can work with Hungarian and natural raw materials. The main element of their strategy is to provide opportunity for individual production, complete realization of plans and producing the material that is the most suitable for the target area (which is a unique possibility in Europe).
They participated in several exhibitions in the past three years, and every time with the products of the designers supported by them. They have contributed to the creation of many interior design ideas, unique pieces of furniture and design objects, they have mentored 6 diploma and one doctorate projects, and they work hard to make the valuable properties of wool felt spread in the widest possible scope.
They support the implementation of plans that could serve as inspiration for others, too. In 2017, the unique felt pieces of Lilla Pápai that have won the Design Award of the Hungarian Design Council were created with their help, and they also participated in designing the Dealogic office – with an acoustics wall cladding, by involving the team of Mashroom Design – that was awarded the first prize of the “Office of the Year in 2018” award.
The most important acknowledgement of Multifelt was the Design Management Special Award won in October 2019, which they received in the framework of the Design Week.
Tradition and diversity
Multifelt Factory does not have an in-house designer, but they have established fruitful work relations with several designers in the past couple of years. They would like to maintain this kind of operational model so that a modern, yet diverse style can characterize the product palette carrying the materials of Multifelt. Perhaps the most iconic objects created in the framework of the creative tender announced by them are Hintabirka (Márk Nagy-Mihály), and the Vivoid acoustics carpets (Zsana Kalácska). Several other pieces were also made that they are very proud of. They also work on common projects regularly with the Association of Carpet Designers (SZETT), too.
The factory is managed by Ilona Fodor and Éva Hargitai, and they divide the tasks amongst them. “The most important part of my job is business development, but I also spend a significant amount of time with organizing and supervising production processes. My favorite is marketing, and I try to dedicate time to it regularly. I try to address our extremely diverse target audience every day with some felt-related content, I consider it very important to be inspiring. We spend 3-4 days in the factory in shifts with my partner. I love seeing how the cut material is born from the raw wool, it’s a true creative experience. I also love negotiating with designers and interior designers, too, where the solutions of creative tasks can be outlined. The scope of tasks is quite diverse: it ranges from selecting the wool raw materials through the maintenance of machines to brainstorming about complex design tasks. We are watching quality carefully, the improvement of which is also a continuous task, and we also work on recovering waste materials. We take part in the work of professional organization and we continuously nurture our relationships with secondary and higher education institutions, who are training the designers and creators of the future” – told us Éva Hargitai.
Two years ago, Éva created a range of workshops in cooperation with some artists. Designers, professionals of the industry or complete laymen can also visit the factory in operation, which they can inspect in the form of a guided tour spiced up with interesting stories, and at the same time they can also get an insight into the processing of wool. Each workshop’s theme includes the creating of a cool felt object. They also make bags, felt paintings as well as benches upholstered with felt and toys. These workshops reflect the motto of the operation of the factory well – building a bridge between traditional ancient textile and modern design.
In the future, they would like to bring the buildings of the factory into a good condition, this is what they are looking for resources for. They work on establishing a creative workshop fit for comprehensive manufacturing and a manufacturing methodology, with which they can grant the complete on-the-spot implementation of projects for the artists. For this, they also plan to create an inspiring accommodation possibility that can support the creative flow. At the same time, they would also like to support the creative potential of the country, to save the fantastic factory that is part of the industrial history, and to help Hungarian designers realize their dreams.
Multifelt Factory and design SPEED
They plan to pursue conscious and effective marketing activity on the Hungarian and international design market, this is why they applied for the mentor program. “I received many useful tips during the program, but the most important practice for me was how to analyze the communication activity of well-prospering brands, and how to integrate the good solutions into the building of our own brand. Design SPEED might provide good advice for any designer, I can only recommend it! It is quite motivating to see that impossible does not exist if one applies methodological and conscious communicational strategies. This is particularly useful for Hungarian designers, and may boost their confidence” – added Éva Hargitai.
In our article series titled HFDA design SPEED X HYPE published each week on HYPEANDHYPER, you can read about the design works of the six protégés of design SPEED and their experiences related to the mentor program.