Romanian Design Week 2016 Impresses

We headed over to Bucharest for the fourth annual Romanian Design Week with no real expectations – Romania was a blank canvas in our minds, ready to be informed, inspired and educated – and Romanian Design Week delivered in bucket loads. Under communist control until 1989, the country’s design industry is now blossoming.


The Vertical Garden by Agnes Lukacs enables you to grow plants in small spaces inside and out. Hexagonal frames made from painted metal wire hold multi-colored plant posts, which can be customized to suit your interior – or exterior – design scheme.


Flip is a series of wooden trays by Ruxandra Sacalis for Bucharest-based design brand Ubikubi which explores the tactile character of wood. They can be used to chop or serve, or simply displayed on the wall.


Multidisciplinary artist and art director, Nicu Duta grew up in a small city near Bucharest and graduated from The National University of Arts in Bucharest in 2012, establishing his design studio Kitra. This collection of ceramics is one of a number of collaborative pieces he produced working with designers from other disciplines.


The Octav Armchair by Ciprian Andrei and Atelier Mustata is a Danish-inspired chair designed for relaxation. It is made from solid ash and upholstered cushions available in a range of colors.


The playful C# Sideboard by Ana Barbu is designed for both adults and children – its sliding panels can be combined and recombined to create different patterns and effects. “Anybody can become a designer in their own right,” says Ana. “Everybody can try out the many unique layouts created by the juxtaposition of different colors and textures.


In the background, Dare to Rug’s collection is called Romanian Moods and was conceived as a mood board of feelings expressed through regional Romanian weaving patterns. In the foreground, Ciprian Manda’s Minimalist Collection is made from solid oak with traditional dovetail joints and is intended as multifunctional furniture that seems to defy gravity.


The Good Sheets by Ana Botezatu is a reinterpretation of the traditional wooden cabinets a bride’s dowry sheets would be kept in. “They are a kind of mystic totem, rich in symbols, meticulously embroidered with familiar and fantastic imagery,” she says. “This is the way the soul, hope and faith are expressed through one of the most intimate accessories of the family.”


These Faug Stools, by Cristian Branea for his own brand Materia, are charred and brushed reclaimed oak beams, with solid brass geometric details that lift them beautifully.


Finally, Dragos Miotica’s Bend Tables for Ubikubi is a family of occasional tables with ash or oak tops and powder-coated bent metal tubing for legs.

Katie Treggiden is a purpose-driven journalist, author and, podcaster championing a circular approach to design – because Planet Earth needs better stories. She is also the founder and director of Making Design Circular, a program and membership community for designer-makers who want to join the circular economy. With 20 years' experience in the creative industries, she regularly contributes to publications such as The Guardian, Crafts Magazine and Monocle24 – as well as being Editor at Large for Design Milk. She is currently exploring the question ‘can craft save the world?’ through an emerging body of work that includes her fifth book, Wasted: When Trash Becomes Treasure (Ludion, 2020), and a podcast, Circular with Katie Treggiden.