Romanian Design Week’s 2019 central exhibition impresses through diversity and innovation

Romanian Design Week, the multidisciplinary event dedicated to local creative industries, already in its 7th year, will be held in Bucharest between the 17th and 26thof May 2019.

Wishing to bring the city’s creative communities under the spotlight, this edition proposes 3 circuits that integrate more than 30 entities from communities and hubs.

Additionally, the festival includes a central exhibition, which presents some of the best projects made in the last year by designers, graphic artists and Romanian architects, a series of capsule exhibitions signed by creative and local organizations, from Moldova or France, a special concept store dedicated to the Romanian design and the 2nd edition of the RDW Awards, awards that encourage excellence within creative industries and promote Romanian designers.

The central exhibition will bring together five categories – Architecture, Product Design, Graphic Design, Fashion and Multidisciplinary Design – over 200 of the best projects made in the last year by Romanian designers, graphic artists and architects.

The exhibition will be showcased in the BCR building in the University Square, a historic monument, built in 1906 according to the vision of the architect Oscar Maugsch. The architecture of the exhibition is signed by Attila KIM Architects.

The architecture and interior design projects included in this year’s selection stand out through the diversity and innovation with which they respond to the needs of the current social context.

The tour of the architecture section brings together concepts woven around feelings of nostalgia, familiarity, translates the bustle and enthusiasm of the film lovers from the largest film festival in Transylvania, brings businesses closer to people, creating openings to the city and to the curiosity to know.

The section devoted to architecture includes from modular apartments, sustainable or memorial houses, abandoned homes revitalized and transformed into urban prints, to projects such as reinterpreting an independent theater, a pharmacy and even a perfumery.

We’ve put together a selection of the architectural studios selected for RDW 2019 central exhibition and we invite you to come and discover their projects during the 10 days of festival:

Soto Cafe Bar by 441 DESIGN STUDIO

‘Serving specialty coffee and special long drinks made by the Soto’s passionate bartender, the venue welcomes visitors in a daylight-filled space. The studio found inspiration in combining an austere industrial aesthetic and a minimalist design with a touch of Wes Anderson deep blue that embodies the establishment’s bold and positive attitude towards art. Located in the heart of the Creative Neighborhood frequented by locals and tourists alike, Soto is more like a cafe-bar-gallery, an unusual mix that can bring people towards art. The space dictated 60% of the proposal design. Being a wagon type space, the designers had quite a lot of constraints. The owners wanted to host creative events and curate exhibitions in the venue, so the possibility of changing the space constantly emerged. This led to the deep blue “shutters” that can be closed or opened, creating a different colour game on the wall and an art display system.’


‘The renovation of the early 1900’s apartment situated on the first floor of the ERTLER apartment building, located in the historic city center of Oradea aims to rethink the internal organization of the apartment space to fit the needs of the client and to create a timeless, warm-minimalist interior. 
The main functions are placed around the new central volume witch hosts the bathroom and all required storage spaces, marked by a narrow shadow gap.

By keeping the exposed concrete ceiling and by adding the light sources on the exact same positions of the initial electrical paths, we created a connection with the past through which the space was transformed into an open time capsule.

A custom made sliding glass door, inspired by the design of the original wooden doors, separates the living room and the kitchen.
The overall atmosphere of the apartment is defined by the raw textures, natural tones, terrazzo and wooden oak floors, balanced with early 20th century furniture pieces.’

Recul Space by CALUP

‘Recul is an independent theater that produces improvisation of long form, sketch and drama. The Recul Space project, developed in partnership with Calup, transforms a former unused industrial hall from the Old Cotton Factory into a creative 830 sqm hub. The space houses a 140 people theatre, as well as flexible spaces for workshops, courses, events and a café bar.
The design & build process involved uncovering the concrete structure, rehabilitation of the metallic carpentry, mosaic flooring and the complete change of the facilities. A curtain network allows flexible partitioning, bringing a significant contribution to the thermal and sound efficiency of the space, while the metal theater stand and bar structure is the only constructed intervention.

Recul Space brings new breath and a cultural edge to the creative platform of the Old Cotton Industry and an important urban regeneration project for Bucharest.’

Hotel Ibis Styles Bucharest Erbas by DA-AC STUDIO & OBLIC STUDIO

The brief and challenge was to combine two different ideas: on one side, the concept of joy, youth, good humour and creativity and, on the other, the idea of a construction site that has a dynamic, effervescent and active character. The aim was to trigger positive emotion by focusing on the unexpected beauty of a construction site, from which we inspired the elements that enriched the project through the association of surprising tools and textures. With saturated colours, bold outlines and materials we represented different construction elements, revealing a joyful and trendy world. The brief was unique and exciting and the design found its final shape harmoniously by transposing all the details, interior furniture and finishings.’


‘The design pursues a minimalist line supported by the clean layout of furniture, few decorations and primary forms. Rattan, antique mirror, wood design, wall texture enriches the atmosphere, leaving the impression of a delicate touch of time. The richness of the ambiance comes from the subtle details such as wall textures, various shades of burnt red, material inserts and metal accents. The materials used are authentic, natural and propel a warm feeling. The floor is unfinished, leaving a cement screed in a shade of bright gray. In the dining areas, brass inserts separate the floor from the screed and others treatments.’


The loom is the winning proposal of the design competition for Mesteshukar Boutique. The project started with a glimpse of memory: “I can feel so clearly passing my fingers through the vertical twigs of the basket, I remember some of them being soft and flexible, and others breaking, I can feel the flour on her hands and the firm movements through the bread dough. I remember with my hands. […]

These memories don’t seem to be stocked in my brain, but moreover in my fingers, arms. They are triggered by touch. The body remembers. To recollect the experience of a certain crafts means remembering the process. The body reacts when it sees the tools or the materials. 

A place that aims to keep the crafts alive should be able to trigger memories, to have the tools and the materials available, to invite you to take a seat and let your fingers move along with them. To be a workshop, more than a shop. To be a tactile house of past and future memories.’

CC Pharmacy by STUDIO EST

‘The presented project is located in the Dorobanti area of Bucharest. The project consisted in a functional re-conversion and adjustment of the layout so that a pharmacy could operate inside the given space.
The challenge of the project was to create a space that goes back to the idea of a classical pharmacy, to a personalized care way where buyers consult with the pharmacist, where they cannot see the exposed drugs and at the same time to create a pharmaceutical preparation lab for special prescription medicine which had to be visible both from the inside and the outside of the pharmacy.
Emphasis was placed on the three essential elements of classical pharmacy: special medicine cabinets, serving counter, and the pharmaceutical preparation lab, all the other elements adjacent to them being passed into the secondary plan and forming a sterile box that shelters them.’

112 Coffeehouse by ȘTEFAN PĂVĂLUȚĂ

‘Târgu-Mureș, the Palace of Culture ensemble. Ground floor of the former Mureș Pensions House, Viennese secession-style architecture, historic B class. A facade divided into three vertical registers, preserves the old carpentry of the building and allows for a visible interior-exterior connection. Both entrances are preserved and the facade becomes a mediation element. The interior consists of 2 spaces connected through a wall that joins the facade. The passage between them leaves the inner shell of the front, free. The access level is at the floor level. The rooms become a pocket to the street. The main function and access is self-defined through the gauge and the room section. The first and the smallest room hosts the reception, the espresso bar and the rest of the accessories, a storage behind the retro bar and one with a level above, represented by the height of the access tower, veneered with wood.’


‘The story of the design and nature of the space revolves around the conceptual character that generated the project: Mamizza. She is no longer a person we would anticipate, she is a modern figure, with contemporary twists, but who still makes the same notorious neapolitan pizza. It is this joining of traditional and modern that makes a key element of the design. Pieces made of aged wood prevale, that together with ceramics and metal generate elements with well defined lines. The colour scheme is similar to those of traditional neapolitan restaurants.

Coming to spatial perception, two distinct main areas are established through the use of different formal approaches: the bar – that is actively engaged in customers’ use, and the pizza bar – designed as a dynamic diorama, that features and highlights both the pizza oven, as a sculptural object and the whole preparation process, with every of its stages.’

Modul Carturesti by ZEPPELIN

‘A bookstore, an exhibition space and a café in the center of Bucharest, with an entrance from the portico of Ion Mincu University of Architecture and Urbanism, which offers the opportunity to open the school towards the city. Most educational institutions are inactive from Friday night until Monday morning and during holidays. Once the students go home, the University of Architecture remains a container, an edifice that does not participate in the city’s life when it becomes the most effervescent. The opening of the bookstore and the exhibition hall to the public (re)defines the relationship between the school and the inhabitants of Bucharest. The porch and the garden function as aggregators for urban life, the exhibition hall emphasizes openness to the public space by building a curatorial speech centered on design, architecture and technology, making the whole ensemble a place where architecture, student projects and conferences have the chance to be part of the city’s culture.’

More from Teodora Zapartan
A building with a clear underlying formal logic
109, Klingelbeek Building One is part of a group of eight residential...
Read More
Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.