HFDA launched its mentor program titled design SPEED together with the renowned Italian Istituto Europeo di Design (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 Barnabás Szakács and Viaplant.
Barnabás started his studies at an art school, but graduated as a landscape architect. He considers the creation of Viaplant the fusion of these fields, which is the effective output of working and experimenting with plants.
He has been managing a landscape architecture office for fifteen years: in addition to their professional projects, they have also expanded their portfolio with land creations under the name “Tájék Art Group.” When Pilsen was the European Capital of Culture in 2015, they were invited to implement a monumental outdoor installation project displaying the shapes and props of the natural environment, in the course of which Barnabás examined the relationship of the landscape created by man and art – he created land sketches composed of parts of plants. He wanted to portray the land (literally) by transforming into an image at the main square of the city, next to Saint Bartholomew Cathedral. Unfortunately, the “creation” did not come through, however, Viaplant was born.
It started off as an art project, then in the meantime, they started developments and manufacturing different products at the same time, so today they manufacture this plant-based creative material and they build its brand.
Recording a given moment in time
The obvious character of Viaplant is the plant itself – its details, color and texture record one moment of the plant’s development, may it be a summer blossom or a fall leaf. They reinvented the utilization of the plant parts generated in the course of the maintenance of urban green areas. They also saw the beauty and potential in not only the fall leaves and cut-off grass blades, but also in the aggressively spreading invasive species, like Canada goldenrod or ragweed, too.
With the careful selection of plants and the special technique, they created a versatile material with a unique value, the specificity of which lies in the fact that each and every panel is completely one-of-a-kind. It is important to them that the entire work process takes place in Hungary: 100% of the natural raw materials of Viaplant come from Hungarian sources.
Nature and geometry
“If we zoom in on a piece of plant, we get precise and recurring patterns: fractals, which are endlessly complex, but can be defined with mathematical means. The composition of a flower is also described with functions, based on which its taxonomic identity can also be determined. Function, order, regular forms… This train of thought led us to dive into the basic forms of the quadrangle, the triangle and the cube, and to create our first products, the Quadrum, the Columna and the Hedron lamp family” – told us the designer.
Viaplant and design SPEED
“With the Viaplant team, we aimed to create an internationally renowned Hungarian brand. The course is very useful, because it gave me insight into areas and knowledge that I could not acquire either in the course of my artistic or my engineering studies. We listened to attitude-shaping modules, and could learn about a set of analytical, developmental and planning tools that helps us understand our own company, building our brand as well as the communication related to it. It is a true gap-filler” – told us Barnabás.
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.