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I recently spent a few weeks in Eastern Europe, visiting Austria, the Czech Republic and Hungary. The trip was filled with inspiring vistas, beautiful countryside palettes, and ancient architectural amazements.


Family chapel in the Czech Republic


The city of Cesky Krumlov in the Czech Republic


Budapest – a progressive design center

Near the end of my journey through traditional eastern European beauty, I landed in Budapest, which stood out to me as something very different—a progressive design center.

Budapest is a metropolitan city and is a combination of historic landmarks and contemporary culture. And, although it’s so different than Portland, the art/design/maker community was very similar.


Portland or Budapest?


Budapest is the home to design schools and programs, including the Moholy-Nagy University of Art and Design. Budapest also holds a design week each year, similar to Portland’s design week, which includes open studios, workshops, and presentations.

I quickly became aware of the influence that the design community has on the city. (I noticed the same thing when I moved to Portland.) This influence can be seen in the high quality of retail and restaurant logos and graphics, the creativity of street postings, and in the maker community.



Kiosk posters in Budapest


Street poster in Budapest


“Print” Art and design shop signage


Creativity is everywhere

I found many local maker art and design shops and studios, including print and other graphic arts shops. This creativity also ran into hospitality—specifically the ruin pubs. These pubs are hidden within partially ruined buildings, and the creativity harnessed to make them work, well, you can read about them here.;jsessionid=7CC6135AAE00D8340B21D29BFAA414B3



Ruin pub in Budapest


Ruin pub signage


It seems that the art and maker community also feed the city’s graffiti and street art. It’s everywhere. Much is beautiful and artistic, but almost no building has been left untouched.



Cheetah street art in Budapest


Owl street art in Budapest


Street art in Budapest


Viewing the contrast of this progressive art community playing in a centuries-old city was a fascinating and exciting experience. I had my camera out constantly to capture these sights along with the more traditional beauty of these countries.

Budapest is a creative, active, inspiring city. I would love to go back. Maybe Noma will send me to design week… you’d probably all hear me yell “koszonom”!