Woodstock of Architecture

This year’s Hello Wood camp gave 120 young designers and architects the opportunity to work with the field’s best international minds in order to rediscover the significance of vanishing human connections. The art camp’s new mission was to make an attempt to embrace and strengthen the natural human bonds and to gently shape the interaction forms of a community with their installations. This way, the camp motivated students of architecture and design, together with the young artists of this generation again to approach architectural matters with a social viewpoint, and also to think and work in a community. During one week, the participants created 12 installations that were rated by a professional jury on the last day.

Hello Wood is a multidisciplinary art camp, where well-known and recognized experts and artists share their knowledge with talented students. All work produced in the camp carries two attributes: it’s mostly made of wood and it’s characterized by an interplay of art and social commitment. Hello Wood integrates various fields of art, design and science; it creates community and encourages talent. It brings together students and professionals across borders, moreover connects everyday people with the designer community. This year the camp was held in the countryside close to lake Balaton, on the premises of an old manor, Csorompuszta, amongst endless cornfields, with an astonishing view on a valley surrounded by hills.

This year’s motto, Step closer! summarizes two goals at the same time: to strengthen the bond between people, nature and built environment with the tools of design and architecture (and of course a lot of wood!) and to motivate young creative minds to step out of their urban, modern, digital environment and to try to solve real, evident social problems by thinking in a community and working with their hands. The motto also enables the students from different countries to work together as it reflects on a symptom experienced all over the world, that suggests the same questions about human interaction, the connection between nature and arts and of course the role of design and architecture in social matters everywhere.

That’s why Hello Wood brought together talented people from around the world, to find a common ground for seeking answers. The installations were built with respectable team-leaders from Poland, Austria, Germany, England, Spain, The Netherlands and Hungary. Among them were the architects of CODA from Barcelona, who focused on the flexibility of wood with their doughnut-shaped structure called BigO, Holger Alpermann from The Berlin University of the Arts, who built a huge, funnel-shaped planetarium, while the British architect Oliver Sales and Austrian Bence Pap were inspired by natural shapes and patterns creating the TOM-DOM tent. This year for the first time, FIABCI Award winner Gabor Zoboki also attended the camp as a team-leader, while Aron Losonczi, the inventor of the well-known glass-concrete, that was selected as one of the most important innovations of the year 2004 by TIME Magazine, is already considered a regular participant. Two participating studios, Polish Moomoo Architects and Hungarian Sporaarchitects are among the 30 best architectural studios in the world according to Wallpaper Magazine.

On the last day, the jury consisting of the biggest names of the Hungarian design and architecture scene, visited the camp to reward the completed works. After the guided tour, they decided to award the installation of Polish Moomoo Architects, Poliphony, which was an attempt to melt the senses of hearing, seeing, touching and smelling into one whole experience. The passageway standing on the footpath between Kapolcs and Csorompuszta is the “door of perception”: passing through, the woodstaves hanging from the top of the structure make a beautiful sound, we can feel the softness of the wood and breathe in it’s natural scent, while of course the sight of it is also a wonderful experience.

All the participants focused on such everyday interaction forms, that have already stiffened, so it’s hard for a community to overrule them. Such is, for instance, a camp fire, which can now be enjoyed by even those, who didn’t get a place in the first row. The installation called fireNEST, the work of Andras Cseh and Balint Veres, is a mobile bench system, with an amphitheatre-like structure, in which the back rows are higher up than the front row, granting a perfect view of the fire for everyone. The music sharing structure of Aron Losonczi and Bence Turanyi, iWood, responds to the nowadays common situation when everyone around a table is busy with their cell phones. Without denying the digital element of this modern idyll, the installation connects the participants via an analogue technique: a wooden music sharing device. This way, it enables people to enjoy modern technology without experiencing alienation. The work chosen best by the audience was the installation called Panorama Pee Hole by Suzana Milinovic and Rufus van den Ban, which is probably the smallest pub in the world. The team made an attempt to fit as many people and pub-function into an 1,44m2 building as possible, motivating new kinds of interaction between people with the unusual closeness.

The Mill of Mordor is a monumental, 6 metres high windmill with 24 shovels, designed specifically into the wind channel of the area. The creators, Nandor Nagy and Bulcsu Szabo were helped by the gods and a tractor in setting up the windmill into a vertical position so it could start its eternal wheeling. Dia Harcsa and Tibor Dekany focused on simplicity with their 43 metres long design Table, that emphasises the role of dining and talking in the life of a community. Aron Vass-Eysen, Zsolt Frikker and Bela Gal built an outdoor pub called Kapo_cs (Link) next to the village tavern in Kapolcs, which binds two streets together and also gives people an opportunity to connect.

The team of Gabor Zoboki and Andras Csiszer built an almost 20 metres long and 3 metres high dynamic gate. The e-motion TRACK is an attempt to find out how the two ends of the gate can be put into motion together, giving the landscape a moving frame. As a special invited guest, the Hungarian studio, Szovetseg ‘39 created a foam-concrete depot named Gallish, which is characterised by the experimental use of materials and innovative coupling of techniques.

All the installations built in the beautiful landscape of Csoromuszta prove how serious the participants took their task and that valuable artistic work starts with a sensitive approach to an issue and a common seek for answers. A part of the installations will be exhibited soon at Sziget Festival, while the Table will be exhibited and of course used in front of the Hungarian Design Terminal during the Budapest Design Week.

Video by Peter Raday
Photos by Donat Kekesi and Gabor Somoskoi

The wood material for Hello Wood has been provided by Jaf Holz Ungarn Ltd since 2010. Hello Wood’s main sponsor is Design Terminal.