In 2019, eight young designers and design theorists could participate in the six-month Moholy-Nagy László Design Grant, managed by the Hungarian Design Council and financed by the Hungarian Intellectual Property Office and the Ministry of Human Capacities. In the course of the program, the grantees could implement their self-developed projects or projects developed in collaboration with manufacturers. Learn more about them here, on HYPEANDHYPER. Júlia Oravecz – Living. Design and social innovation for livable and affordable micro flats – In professional cooperation with Flying Objects Design Studio
Unfortunately, the exhibition presenting the works of the grantees scheduled to the end of March was cancelled due to the coronavirus epidemic. As a way of making up for this event and complementing the remarkable catalogue already published or “making it more alive,” we will present you their projects in the next eight weeks.
Júlia Oravecz obtained one of her degrees at the department of Liberal Arts of ELTE with a specialization in art history, and the other one at the department of Design and Art Management of MOME with a specialization in design and art theory in 2013. Since then, she has been working as a curator and design manager on the fields of design, architecture and urbanism, primarily as a member of the Kultúrgorilla collective, with whom they have been responsible for several grand exhibitions and international events. She worked with the utilization of unused urban spaces for community purposes until 2017 at the Hungarian Contemporary Architecture Center. From 2016, she has been working for the company ABUD (Advanced Building and Urban Design) offering consulting in the field of sustainable architecture and urban planning, where she is currently responsible for idea, product and services development as an innovation manager.
The necessary time and resources
In the framework of the Moholy Grant, Júlia could work with Flying Objects, one of the coolest Hungarian design studios. The feedback provided by András Húnfalvi and his team served as important guidance for her, and they would also like to put the findings of her research into practice in the future. “The grant is the best possible platform for allowing a research with design in focus to reach the true target audience, which is simply invaluable. On top of that, it provided the necessary time and resources that allowed me to bring out the best of the six-month project” – the design theorist told us.
The project – Living. Design and social innovation for livable and affordable micro flats – In professional cooperation with Flying Objects Design Studio
In her professional project, Júlia examined the designer’s tasks related to urban micro and small apartments (especially in Budapest), as a result of which a publication illustrated with infographics was also published under the title “Mini homes– What can design do for livable small apartments.”
The aim of the publication is to help designers realize the broader context of small apartments and find the trigger points where design can help make these flats livable in the most effective manner possible. Amongst others, she looked to answer questions like: is it possible to determine a minimum flat size? How does autonomous housing, sustainability and the issue of mental health correlate with the size of apartments? How did the volume of small apartments in Budapest come into existence, and how did the global trends related to this topic appear in Hungary? Who live in small apartments today and how?
The basis of her research was provided by the summary of the literature available on the topic, the detailed analysis of various statistics, in-depth interviews with members of society with the most diverse demographic backgrounds, followed by consultations with experts of the real estate market, sociology, psychology, design and architecture. At the end of the research, they organized an international conference with Kultúrgorilla. In the framework of the public event, the issues raised could be discussed by the representatives of the professions, and in the framework of a pilot designer workshop, they could see how the findings can be used in educational practice.
“Building small apartments are virtually the classic answer to urban apartment shortage, but the design and construction of livable and healthy small apartments have been a constant challenge for both city management as well as architects and designers. In the past decade, the practice of designing small apartments was significantly influenced by the climate crisis, the global economic crisis of 2008, and the integration of different tech solutions into our everyday lives, amongst others. And we can see it already that the current pandemic will influence how the fields of urban planning, architecture and design change their approaches, how they incorporate the various adaptation solutions into their practices, which will inevitably affect the policy and design practices related to small-sized spaces” – Júlia added.
The future plans of the design theorist include launching a product development workshop for university students, as well as further researching the specific sub topics, such as migration to the countryside and the relationship between community spaces and small apartments.