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BELGRADE, SERBIA–We first met Sayid* under the blazing hot sun in the park near Belgrade’s main railway station last Thursday. My friend Maja and I had decided to go down to the park to hand out milk, fruit, crackers and juice to refugee mothers, children and families who were in transit from southern Serbia to the Hungarian/Serbian border in the north. While talking with a fleeing family from Damascus—who had been on the road for the last month hoping to get to Germany— Sayid sauntered up and began helping translate. His English was pretty close to perfect, with a light accent, and so I asked him if he and I could speak when I finished the interview. He agreed. Read more

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by Ginanne Brownell

(originally published in Newsweek)

Almost two years ago London’s Victoria and Albert Museum held an exhibition titled Cold War Modern, examining how the U.S. and the countries of the former Eastern bloc were fighting a proxy war in the world of design. Besides the obvious geopolitical aspects of the show, I was most intrigued by how much of the region’s design I had never seen before. Well, that’s all over now. Designers from Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) have become increasingly ubiquitous, making creative waves in some of the world’s biggest markets. In April, London’s Mint gallery held a monthlong exhibition called Chez Czech, which featured Czech glass and ceramics. At Milan’s Salone Internazionale del Mobile in May, designers like Slovenia’s Nika Zupanc and Hungary’s János Hübler created some serious buzz with their avant-garde pieces, and the Polish Pavilion at the Shanghai Expo features building structures made from paper cutouts—an ironic nod to iconic Polish folk art. Read more