MBQ
Meșteshukar ButiQ
Country/Town: România, Bucharest
Topic: Craftsmanship & Design

Turning Romani

Craftsmanship into business

Why?

We know little of Roma craftsmen and their ancient skills. Their cultural heritage can both contribute to changing attitudes towards the Roma and provide an opportunity to help families escape the grinding poverty in which so many of them live. With the support of the ERSTE Foundation Roma Partnership, MBQ [Meşteshukar ButiQ] has revisited many of these traditional crafts and developed an updated collection in collaboration with Nadja Zerunian, Peter Weisz and Glimpt Studio. This has been an ongoing journey of almost 3 years and now MBQ can proudly present a collection of handmade products, their makers and their stories.

The aim

Mesteshukar ButiQ, a Bucharest based social enterprise working on revaluing traditional Roma craftsmanship, has succeeded in becoming a safeguard for Romani art and craftsmanship traditions, for providing these craftsmen with revenue and new life-skills, at the same time supplying customers with quality designer objects. Moreover, through all of this process, MBQ represents a peaceful and modern form to fight the widespread stereotypes against the Roma people. Their lifestyle products come packed with a story that stands out in any context, using a blend of centuries old techniques combined with the aesthetics of contemporary design. Exactly like the dowry of the newly wed Roma, the MBQ craft jewelry, clothes and home-decor objects. But, what is important for Roma communities is the fact that every object sold generates direct income for Roma craftsmen and is why the Mesteshukar ButiQ Network has about 35 craftsmen and craftswomen from all over Romania and cooperates with 5 Product Designers to create the unique product line that will enhance the life of a community.

“Our inspiration comes from tradition, crafts and contemporary design.”

 

Project

Timeline

MBQ launches the first designer collection and, in the same year, their Bucharest shop is awarded with Ferro Prize in the Bucharest Architecture Annual Competition in the Interior Design Competition.

Launch of the first Concept Store, addressing the general home-decor and fashion market. Tradition, crafts and design become core elements surrounding MBQ.

Participation in Vienna Design Week. MBQ becomes a constant presence at large scale design events such as Romanian Design Week or Stockholm Design Week.

First pop-up shop: If starting with 2015, MBQ has been providing the Viennese public with a deep and detailed insight into the creative work of Roma craftspeople through their exhibitions, in 2017, with the help of designers Nadja Zerunian and Peter Weisz, MBQ’s presence in Vienna Design Week has grown, culminating in this edition with an impressive presence in 2 exhibitions and 2 pop-up shops.

MBQ’s Bucharest Shop is nominated at Luxury Travel Guide Awards;

Important people

and resources

Nadja Zerunian and Peter Weisz: Product Designers

Peter Weisz was a Creative and Fashion Director and Stylist for Schaufenster/ Die Presse,
Diva, Woman, Ahead, Attitude/ GB and Palmers, had his own fashion label and designed
outfits for staff of Taubenkobel, Ungerundklein & Wunderl.
After her studies at University of Applied Arts in Vienna, Nadja Zerunian worked for a
decade as a Senior Designer with Calvin Klein in New York before becoming
Creative Director first at Georg Jensen and then at Swatch Group.

ERSTE Foundation and CCFD Terre Solidaire.

Achievements

Firstly, MBQ is the first ever Roma focused design brand in Romania and possibly the world. Mesteshukar ButiQ (MBQ) has participated in large scale design events such as Vienna Design Week, Stockholm Design Week and Romanian Design Week. Moreover, the Bucharest shop has been awarded the Ferro Prize in the 2015 Bucharest Annual Architecture Competition and has been nominated for the 2017 Luxury Travel Guide awards. << (MBQ team)

Challenges

Fiscal and administrative

MBQ had to face with a complete lack of fiscal and administrative support for craftsmen in Romania.

Extra

content available in local language

Instagram

Blog

Video

Photo Album, Street Delivery 2017