Spotlight on Innovation

Laokoon Design

Following in the footsteps of generations of Hungarian innovators, Budapest-based design company works with unique structured material to produce incredible products

© 2016 DaVega / RauMe

Hungary, a landlocked country deep in Central Europe, is at once a place where one can take in the greatest cultural works from the past thousand and a place where the future of art and design is being made. Budapest—the cosmopolitan, complex, and lovable capital of Hungary—is really two cities, united. Much like how the cities of Buda and Pest once straddled the Danube River, Budapest today stands on both sides of old and new. The city’s complex past and vibrant present contribute to make Budapest the cultural epicenter of Eastern Europe.

Hungary and its capital Budapest share a long and noteworthy tradition in the arts. Throughout the Medieval, Gothic, Renaissance, and Classical ages, and right up into modernity, Hungary has been the homeland of some of the biggest hitters in the art world. It was in the 19th and 20th centuries, however, that Hungary truly began to rise above its peers and produce world-famous artists. Hungarian composers that emerged during this time include the virtuoso pianist Franz Liszt, who in the 19th century became such a continental sensation that hysteria followed his every performance, influenced a generation of European music and inspiring the term “Lisztomania.” In the early 20th century, Béla Bartók became world-famous for his infusions of contemporary composition with Hungarian folk-tunes, sharing the most intimate melodies of his homeland with a global audience.

And in the visual arts, Hungary has made a name for itself as well. Tivadar Csontváry Kosztka, who worked mainly in Budapest, travelled the world to gather inspiration for avant-garde landscapes during the 20th century, becoming quite famous in Europe with his stunning works. The Hungarian Parliament Building, whose position on the banks of the Danube was inspired by its counterpart in London, is truly one of the most stunningly designed buildings in Europe.

Hungary has been one of the most successful countries at rebounding from the recession of 2008, which hit the region particularly hard. Through a unique combination of state-leveled policies that confounded analysts with their unorthodoxy, Hungary has after several lean years rebounded swiftly in the second half of 2015. Now, the future is bright in a country with a skilled labor force, high levels of education, and low inequality.

© 2016 DaVega / RauMe

Based in Budapest, Laokoon Design is a company that carries on both Hungary’s tradition as an innovator in the arts and its creative approach to business-making. Laokoon came together as an effort to market an innovative new construction fabric invented by textile artist Zsuzsanna Szentirmai-Joly, founder of the company. The material, dubbed Laokoon, can be made from multiple materials and take on a seemingly endlessly array of finishes, but its unique properties of form and structure remain constant. Laokoon is a scale-like structured material for interior designers, artists, and product designers. It can be used to create 3D objects in virtually any shape, size, or color, and the material has a uniquely flowing texture that implies movement yet holds form indefinitely.

Laokoon Design utilizes the namesake material to design innovative and beautiful products, with a focus in lighting structures such as lamps and chandeliers. The interaction of the Laokoon material with light produces magical results that cannot be replicated elsewhere. The company has two facilities, its creative design studio and a showroom, both in Budapest. It takes advantage of the city’s incredible wealth of talented artists, businesspeople, and designers to produce beautiful, award winning products. Laokoon Design was awarded with the Gold Prize at 2013 Blickfang Trade Fair and the 2013 100% Design London Special Award by Mix Magazine.

In 2016, for its innovative business-plan, impeccable designs, and one-of-a-kind proprietary building material, Laokoon Design is being recognized with a BID Quality Award, one of the highest international recognitions for organizational quality and innovation. Much like how Liszt swept Europe, Laokoon as a material and a designer of products has the potential to reach a global audience and become a worldwide phenomenon. The only question remaining is if the company can spread the captivating story of its innovative material around the world, capturing the attention of product designers and artists globally.


BID is a private and independent organization founded in 1984, whose primary activity is business communication orientated towards quality, excellence and innovation in management. A leader in the broadcasting of Quality Culture, BID recognizes those companies and organizations which lead the most important activities in the business world, and is considered the founding organization in the broadcasting of the Culture of Quality, Excellence and Innovation in 179 countries. The trophy symbolizes a pledge to the principles of Quality Culture. The QC100 Total Quality Management Model, together with the Quality Mix program, media coverage of the convention and its impact on the community and business sector, create an unmatched platform for continuous improvement within the organization and awareness of the achievements of the company at an international level. Awards are given only to those who are committed to improving their Quality Culture based on the principles of the QC100 Total Quality Management Model. Candidates are proposed by the leaders of previously awarded companies who they consider worthy of the award. Especially meritorious candidates may also be nominated. The International BID Quality Award Selection Committee then chooses the winning companies who will receive the award in New York, Paris, Geneva, Frankfurt, Madrid and London.