A designer from Hungary attracts attention with unusual designs.
Zsófia Beliczay discovered her passion for designing early in her childhood. “I think I was five years old”, she says. “I made some little sweet projects for my parents. I cut and folded things and there was already so much pleasure in creating something new at that age.” Now, her projects are of a larger extent.
It was only in January this year that she won the “Young Creations Award: Upcycling” for her room concept “Fix Textile”. The award is devoted to the principle of sustainability and was awarded by the fair trade happening called “Heimtextil” in Frankfurt.
Among 32 submissions which were submitted by designers all over Europe, the jury picked Zsófia as the winner of this young award in the category “room concepts”. It was Zsófia’s first international competition and therefore it was a beautiful moment when she received the letter that she had won.
“I have been already glad that my work was chosen for the nomination. I didn’t dare to believe that I could win the contest.” Although she regrets the fact that she couldn’t take part in the award presentation Zsófia enjoyed watching the ceremony live on the Internet.
“Fix Textile is a system which illustrates the relationship between woven and concrete structures”, Zsófia explains. “The parts can be pushed on steel wires and the system can be interactively used for both shading and segmentation.” She only needed six weeks to realize this concept.
Zsófia prepared the basic elements in a special way. “I had plunged the weft yarn in concrete before I started to weave. That’s why the pattern remained visible after the tissue had become hard.” Weft yarn is called a thread which proceeds in the cross direction of a textile.
“Not only for ‘Fix Textile’ I use a weft yarn made of cotton-waste”, she explains. Zsófia started her experiments with cotton of thrown away carpets or pullovers. “At the end, I chose cotton bed linen because they are available in big quantities”, she says. Domitories and similar institutions don’t use their bedsheets for a long time. “That’s why I can collect and reuse them.”
Resource-conserving work is of enormous importance to Zsófia. “Waste is not trash but a secondary raw material”, she says.
Made of worn out bedsheets “Fix Textile” is a design based on the recycling principle. “Thanks to the chosen materials the structure of ‘Fix Textile’ is weatherproof”, Zsófia states. The aspect of sustainability is particularly clear at this point.
Zsófia is 37 years old and lives in Budakeszi which is a small suburb of Budapest. By having her own studio, she has enough space to work on her designs there. She acquired the skills for this among others during her studies. While doing her bachelor’s degree in Ceramics she learned the ins and outs of the use of clay, porcelain and cement.
In general, it seems Zsófia wants to broaden her horizons again and again. “In order to have a broader spectrum of basic materials for the implementing of my creative ideas, I decided to complete my master’s degree in Textile Design.” Right now, designing is her main job but she wants to go back to university.
“If I can manage it I will become a student in September again”, she says.
Zsófia sent her application to the “Moholy-Nagy University of Art and Design” in Hungary to study how to teach visual arts and design. “I still have to learn how to teach. Nevertheless, I feel some abilities concerning teaching and I’m ready to share my knowledge with others.”
Only a short time after winning the award for her room concept, Zsófia won the “Silver A’ Design award” in the “Jewelry, Eyewear and Watch Design” category with her jewelry made of synthetic sponge. Thus, her collection called “Spongla” was awarded as one of the best jewelry designs world-wide. Not just because of that Zsófia is particularly proud of this collection.
It is a very unusual design, not only because of the material the jewelry is made of. The pieces often consist of individual colorful pieces of sponge in different shapes. Sometimes in one piece the colors are change into each other which makes the jewelry even more special.
“By designing ‘Spongla’ I wanted to prove that jewelry can be made of waste. My purpose is to show that renewed used materials are as good as new ones”, Zsófia explains as she shows some pieces of the collection by wearing them by herself.
Zsófia used old foam mattresses to create the individual ornaments of her “Spongla” collection. Foam has even become her favorite material. That’s why she hasn’t created only jewelry but also several foam plastics and space partition systems made of foam.
Zsófia’s style changed and developed over the years. After she had finished high school she started to learn plastic art privately. The creation of sculptures exited her at that time. “It was only later during my studies when I started to create objects with practical functions”, she says. “I wanted to design things which you can use in your life.”
If Zsófia had to describe her current style in one word it would be the word “variegation”. “But not in the meaning that I’m using a lot of colors. More in the meaning that I use and blend a lot of materials.”
When Zsófia designs, she doesn’t have an exact procedure. “First I have to look for the basic material but in most cases I stumble across it”, she explains. “After having found the basic material I start to examine how it can be remodeled. These experiments determine how the basic material will be reborn in the new creations.”
Currently Zsófia is working on several projects at the same time. Just recently she handed in projects for the “Hungarian Design Award” and the “Miniartextil” exhibition in Como. Right now, she is working as a mentor in a workshop whose purpose is it to design statues for the Danube’s banks.
Even after the award presentation the room concept “Fix Textile” hasn’t been completed yet. “I’m working on improving ‘Fix textile’”, she says. “It’s an unusual combination of materials especially because of the sewing technique.” Zsófia even wants to use this technique to create other pieces of furniture besides “Fix Textile”. “I am sure that the combination of linen and concrete can be used for more things than space separation and shadowing.”
A goal of Zsófia is to gain access to the international market. “I have commissions but I still need to experiment more to create more business contacts.” After Zsófia had won both awards a lot of online magazines wrote about her and it aroused public attention. Following this, the interest in her handmade scarves has strongly increased.
Customers can find Zsófia and her work on facebook or the “Behance” website (https://www.behance.net/belzso53de) which is an online platform for artists world-wide to show their work. She doesn’t have her own shop but she can imagine collaborating with some shops where you can buy things which are similar to her work someday.
“I have many ideas for the future”, Zsófia says. “Maybe I can design a new jewelry collection which is not made of foam.” You wonder what kind of material she is going to use then.