Arts and Crafts at Transylvania’s Bánffy Castle

18/09/2017 @ Romanian Cultural Institute, 1 Belgrave Square, SW1X8PH

The ARTEC exhibition, set up by Transylvania Trust Foundation in conjunction with the Bánffy Castle in Romania, opens at the RCI London as part of a series of events highlighting the remarkable conservation and restoration efforts which, throughout time, have revealed the amazing architectural heritage of Romania. The ARTEC project’s aim is that of bringing together the arts, crafts and architecture, similarly to the Arts and Crafts Movement of the late 19th century.

With an introductory talk by Csilla Hegedüs, President of Transylvania Trust Foundation and former Secretary of State at the Romanian Ministry of Culture.


The Bánffy Castle, one of Romania’s 17th century architectural landmarks, is situated in the vicinity of Cluj-Napoca, Transylvania. From the fourteenth century through to 1944, Bánffy Castle was occupied by members of the aristocratic Bánffy family, whose ranks included the first governor of Transylvania under the Habsburgs as well as a nineteenth-century Hungarian prime minister. Throughout the centuries, Bánffy Castle was transformed to reflect the changing tastes of this wealthy and powerful family. During the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, the castle acquired a Renaissance façade that was further refined through the mid-eighteenth century, when the current Baroque footprint was established. During the first half of the nineteenth century, Gothic Revival modifications were made and the castle’s grounds were transformed into an English Romantic garden. In 1944, the castle was burned by retreating German troops in retaliation for pro-Allied efforts on the part of Count Miklós Bánffy. After the war, when Romania came under Communist control, the castle suffered neglect during the agrarian reforms in the region, and was looted for building materials. Vandals and natural decay further damaged the ruined castle.

In 1990, the castle was declared a historical monument, and in 1999 the revamping began with the support of several institutions, Romanian and foreign organizations, under the patronage of Prince Charles of Wales, who visited the castle several times. Bánffy Castle was included on the 2000 World Monuments Watch, spurring new interest in the preservation of the site.  Using the memory of the place and the history of the castle as an inspirational drive, as well as the restoration work that is being undertaken, in 2016 the Transylvania Trust Foundation and its partners established an Arts and Crafts Centre to rebuild this bridge between the arts and traditional crafts, which were separated in the last decades of the former century. The concept behind the centre was the creation of a space that would be rooted in history and tradition, a place imbued with memory, which would be reinterpreted through contemporary lenses, bringing about an architectural frame that is both old and traditional, but at the same time is instilled with modern aesthetic qualities, encouraging artistic creation.

The ARTEC international project is coordinated by Transylvania Trust and implemented over a two- year period, from 1 November 2015 to 31 October 2017. It is supported by the European Union through the Creative Europe Programme.


When: Exhibition Preview & Talk: Monday 18 September, 7pm. The exhibition is open until 26 September, Monday to Friday between 10 am – 5 pm.
Where: Romanian Cultural Institute, 1 Belgrave Square, SW1X8PH

Free. Please confirm your attendance on Eventbrite.