Social Design Project at Bódvalenke, Hungary

In June a versatile team of designers, architects, sociologists, economists and photographers visited Bódvalenke - a small village situated in Borsod county of Hungary. In this village the enthusiastic members of a sustainability research group, MOME EcoLab, and Széchenyi István College’s joint team conducted a research as the first step of a long-run developmental project. Their goal is to provide support for small communities living in deep poverty with the help of design. 

As the initial step of the design process, the group sought for and uncovered local values and resources in connection with the theme of food culture. While taking in-depth interviews at every household, they tried and tasted a number of specially prepared food, the making of which they not only witnessed but even participated in. As the summary of their work, they put together a booklet – entitled Lenkeland’s Machinery –The Gastronomical Prints of Bódvalenke. The booklet is a collection of  recipes and subjective stories revolving around the theme of local food culture and providing an introduction to the community’s eating customs. The reader may learn about how to clean the machinery (commonly known as the sparhelt), the many types of mushrooms that grow in the area, or about the favourite foods of the local children. The booklet also comprises visual data that give insightful information regarding the village and its inhabitants. A short dictionary is even included through which the reader may become familiar with some of the most commonly used local words and expressions related to the culture of eating and cooking.     

As the second step of the development project, the team designed some tools with the help of which the community can dry and parch different types of fruits, vegetables, mushrooms and herbs growing wild or at the households. The goal is to sell the dried food as commercial products. The initiative aims at the setting up of a unique brand, Plusz OK (in Hungarian meaning: plus reason, it also connotes with the plural form of plus), and introducing a special palette of products coming together with unique packaging, and a fair trade commercial model - each supporting the community’s ability to make an income. The long term goal of the project is to introduce and sustain this commercial model, and in turn to support the social and economic integration of the small local community of Bódvalenke. 

The project is introduced to a wider audience on the Budapest Design Week 2012. The gastro booklet and the Plusz OK drying and parching system as well as the packaging design of the dried foods can be viewed on the opening exhibition of Budapest Design Week (open between sept. 28 and okt. 28). Dániel Barcza, the founder and director of MOME EcoLab will talk about the goals, future plans and of the present results of the development project on the day-long event of Chew it well! organized by Kultúrgorilla (2012. okt. 5. 17:20, at Fogasház).

The project is a cooperation between MOME EcoLab and Széchenyi István College.
Project leaders: Dániel Barcza (MOME EcoLab), Bori Fehér (MOME EcoLab)
Leader of the team of sociologists: Andrea Schmidt (SZISZ)
The sociologist team: Tibor Benkő, Péter Bokor, Éva Holb, Bálint Néray, Nóri Regős, Edit Szabó, Eszter Vay-Farkas
Lenkeland’s Machinery –The Gastronomical Prints of Bódvalenke gastro booklet
Graphics and identity: Katalin Holányi
Photos: Sári Ember, Péter Szabó Pettendi, Anett Zsupponits
Authors: Péter Bokor, Éva Holb, Júlia Oravecz, Edit Szabó, Eszter Vay-Farkas
Editors: Júlia Oravecz, Rita Szerencsés

Plusz OK brand and products
Graphics and identity: Bori Kovács, Veronika Szalai
LENKE food drier: Dániel Barcza, Bori Fehér, Simon Hukaya, Eszter Kollár, Bori Kovács, Veronika Szalai
Food drier prototype: Dániel Barcza, Sári Berzicza, Tamás Erdélyi, Bori Fehér, Simon Hukaya, Katalin Holányi, Eszter Kollár

Partners: Kultúrgorilla, MOME line
Sponsors: Spiritus Primus, Katlan Tóni

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