A little less than a year ago, I introduced you to textile and glass textile creations by Andrea Hegedus. Her recently developed method is very unique and at the time of the last article Andrea has just started to introduce glass textile to the market. This time I was interested to find out more about the creative process, how this niche market is developing from the designer’s perspective and of course a bit more about Andrea.
Hungarian Success Stories (HSS): A short while ago you have created a unique mix of glass and textile that is considered a very niche market. Can you please tell us how the idea came to develop this special product and what was the initial reaction of the market?
Andrea Hegedus (AH): Around 2008 I was involved in a project with the goal to redesign a former textile factory (Goldberger factory). Premises of the factory have been renovated and transformed into loft-type offices and the interior design agency was looking for a decorative wall made of glass for the reception area. As this building used to be a textile manufactory, it was obvious that we started to experiment with glass and textile, and in this project I was responsible for the textile design part. For me it was and still is a very novel and exciting task, and it initiated the creative process. I tried many different textile designs, experimented with various materials and I ended up with my own collection. In my profession as a textile designer, glass textile opened up new horizons and it makes my service offering wider. At the same time, glass textile is a very unique creation, it is made on individual requests by hand and is not suitable for mass production. So this is absolutely in line with my artistic philosophy. Working with glass textile maintains my creative energy flow and it always brings new ideas and approaches to the surface.
On the other hand as you mentioned, it is a very niche market with all its pros and cons. It takes time to introduce this new offering on the market. However, those who experienced my creations or placed an order with me find this solution very exciting and are convinced about the endless options glass textile offers.
HSS: As far as I know you work closely with a Budapest-based manufactory. What are or have been the challenges to make your idea work?
AH: For me as a freelance designer it is an absolutely fantastic opportunity to be able to work with a smaller glass factory located in Budapest, where I live and work. Our cooperation has been outstanding, as the factory gives me a lot of freedom to experiment and of course it also provides the highly professional background to execute my client orders. I can personally follow the production process from the beginning to the end and I am the one placing the textile design in between the glasses. This is truly an exciting genre as the glass itself has its own secrets, too. The entire process remains nerve tickling until the end, when we put the glass textile creation into the oven and it stays there overnight. In the morning we open the oven doors and let the glass cool down – only then I see, how it all turned out.
HSS: What was the most exciting project you worked on so far?
AH: A short while ago I finished a larger project at four stations of the new metro line in Budapest. I was commissioned with the design of the extended panels holding the station names. In this project I had to adapt my creations to the existing and approved space design plans, knowing that thousands of people will see it everyday. And from this perspective it was an exciting project as my other individual creations usually do not reach the public as much.
The other work I am very proud of is in a private dentist’s office. My client envisioned individually designed shades made of textile and during the consultation process when we discussed the idea and what the client had in mind, it turned out that in addition to the shades they were also looking for a nice space divider. So I was able to offer them both.
My new website has just gone live and now I started to spread the word more intensively in Hungary. Since then I have received a lot of inquiries for different projects, such as sliding doors, space dividers, wall covers in reception areas, and so on. It only shows that glass textile can be used widely and it offers endless opportunities in terms of designs and styles.
HSS: Can you please talk a bit about the creative process? Where do you draw your inspiration from? How free are you in terms of developing motives and using colors?
AH: I can be inspired by anything from my environment, be it the nature, the city, people, a given space and its objects, moods, anything really. In general, when I get involved in a project, the interior space is usually already roughly planned, there are style directions and so I work with architects and interior designers. This is always a great team work that inspires me even more.
Well, and regarding colors, I can only say, I love colors – the more colorful, the better. I have clients who purely seek for my advice during the color planning phase of a project. Most of the times, I work on projects with minimalist characteristics and in these cases I obviously take the circumstances into account and only apply colors that are in harmony with the given space. Luckily, I do have a few inquiries, where my task is to create very lively and impressive eye-catchers, e.g. the lit bar top in a showroom and event locations. Actually, I have a lot of freedom during the creation process, but my goal is of course to satisfy my clients’ expectations.
HSS: Even though you have just started to introduce your new offering, you were able to establish a nice client reference base in Hungary. Do you also plan to offer your creative services to internationally based clients?
AH: I have always considered it important to be present internationally. For about eight years I used to have my own stand at the Frankfurt Home Textile fair and well-known companies purchased my textile designs. Now I think that my glass textile offering reached a certain product maturity level and I will start introducing it on the international market by reaching out to architects, interior designers, and to representatives of related sectors. My first international glass textile debut was in London at the 100% Design in 2011 and 2012. My collections are also included in the Materfad Barcelona Collection as well as in The Design Book: 1000 New Designs For The Home and Where to Find Them by Laurence King.
HSS: What else do you do besides designing glass textile and textile creations?
AH: A few years ago I started doing yoga regularly and I realized how much it actually helped me to relax and unwind. In the last few months I had the opportunity to give yoga classes to children in two hospitals in Budapest on a volunteer basis. These classes are part of a special program and I can cooperate with the psychologists to support the positive mental development of affected children. I very much love volunteer work, and once a month on a weekend I also visit children’s homes with my friend and we cook with the children. These are truly amazing moments and I would not want to miss them. In addition to the above during summer I attend summer camps and give yoga classes as well as I organize creative workshops for children.
Beside my volunteer work and designer activities I am a lecturer in a private art school.
HSS: Why do you think that volunteer work is important in today’s world?
AH: Now I could say a lot of clichés, but I do think that our world has become very alienated and egocentric, and there is even more need to stop for a second to find our inner peace. When we succeed doing so, we are able to help others, too, on their way of searching for happiness. In my opinion, volunteer work is ever more important now, because financial resources for social projects are low or non-existent. Unfortunately, there are a lot of people living under difficult circumstances. It does not take much to do something good, small steps help, too. Luckily, there are a lot of bottom-up initiatives in Hungary, that also involves young people. I think this is very important and helps to build a healthy society for the future. ♦
Source of images: Andrea Hegedus’ courtesy.