Designed in Hungary
Hungarian-born László Moholy-Nagy (1895–1946) was a pioneer of modernism. He moved to Berlin in 1920 and he was a part of the influential Bauhaus school in the twenties and finally moved to Chicago in 1937, where he founded his own School of Design. In Budapest, the Moholy-Nagy University of Art and Design bears his name. Known as MOME, the university started out as a single wood carving class in 1880, becoming the Independent School of Applied Arts, winning medal after medal at the various world fairs around the fin du siècle. The successes of the university can be measured by the incredible vitality of the Hungarian design and fashion scene and the recognition of the many talented young designers at home and abroad. Most recently Réka Bucsi, whose graduation project, the animated short Symphony no. 42 has been nominated for an Academy Award. Another Hungarian who played an important role in Bauhaus was architect Marcel Breuer (1902-1981), who designed one of the most iconic chairs in design history - the tubular steel chair inspired by the bicycle handlebar. In Pest District XIII, Újlipótváros has the most Bauhaus style residential buildings, while in Buda, private villas represent this distinctive style. Hosszúlépés and Bupap both organise walking tours to these locations uncovering the architecture and the secret histories of the buildings.
To learn more about Hungarian design history the first port of call is the Museum of Applied Arts, which presents temporary exhibitions and a permanent collection of furniture and home design in a building that is itself an Art Nouveau masterpiece. To delve deeper, visit the Nagytéteny Palace Museum, which is part of the Museum of Applied Arts and houses some of its collections. The 18th century late-baroque building is home to a permanent exhibition of furniture history from the Gothic to the Biedermeier, a rich tapestry collection, and Precision and Luxury, a unique collection of clocks and watches. If you are interested in product and packaging design, the Museum of Trade and Tourism offers superb exhibitions.
While the past is illustrious, innovation never stops, whether it's big or small. For example, Hungarian-developed Prezi has completely reshaped video presentations around the world, achieving that highest of accolades when the brand name becomes synonymous with the product category. To get an insight into the contemporary design scene immerse yourself in the talks, walks and exhibitions of Budapest Design Week, held in every October.