architecture : urban : visual culture

Vanguard Interior Design for the Museum of Applied Arts

Kristóf Göbölyös and colleagues have imagined a sharp new vision for the historical building by Ödön Lechner. The Art Nouveau exterior and the pixellated, gridlike interior structure clashes inside the space but the craftsmanship and the universality of design bring them together.

"If modern art is sometimes too loud, it's not just the fault of the artist. Everyone speaks louder when it comes to
talking to someone hard of hearing."*


We recognize almost 99% of the design and craftsmanship products from the digital world through pixels, but we could only try out very few of them in real life. This is why it is of particular significance to have and also to renovate a museum that represents Hungarian design objects, a place where you can also try out these products.


The Museum of Applied Arts was designed between 1891 and 1896 by Ödön Lechner (1845-1914), a pioneer of the Hungarian Art Nouveau movement. After winning the architectural tender in 2012, detailed designing started in 2017 to extend and refurbish the building of the museum. We received an invitation from Vikár and Lukács Architectural Studio to design the museum's public spaces (CCA.5500 sqm), which consisted of the reception area (190 sqm), the two-story hallway (500 sqm), the arched cloister (770 sqm) and the ground floor of the new building (300 sqm).

lead architect: Kristóf Göbölyös

lead architect: Kristóf Göbölyös

In our plan, we presented the functions of the spaces and we also designed the furniture for the installations, whose ideology is based on a modular space-grid and pixels, hence it is called "pixel". Our aim was to create a museum furniture system that supports and highlights Lechner's heritage, the building's fantastic atmosphere. 

We made the ground floor spaces permeable for the public and free to visit by reorganizing the spaces. The two-story hallway with its fantastic atmosphere has several functions in the museum, one of which is an event hall, serving as a great financial resource for the museum. In accordance with this, we planned a modular unit called the Pixel Cloud, which can be raised and lowered, carrying the stage and decor lighting, sound system etc in case of an event.

We placed mid-sized plants in the mirror-sided planters of the grid-based installation, which has a positive effect on the air of the space, while the installation itself almost dissolves in the air due to its reflective surfaces. The drivable RGB LED panels at the bottom of the installation can shed a mystic light on Lechner’s lace ornamented spaces. There are extrusions on the grids for the stage or party lighting, so the room can be easily adapted to either a fashion show, a chamber performance, or a design fair.

lead architect: Kristóf Göbölyös

The Pixel Cloud, suspended on the ossature, is divided into three units, which can be lifted separately. Thus their maintenance is simple, and spectacular compositions can be formed out of them by lifting the units.

When not used for events, the hallway works as a café with groups of design furniture. The bar (Pixel Bar) can be found on the left under the arches, opposite the museum shop (Pixel Shop) where you can buy design objects and books. In this case, two or three units of the Pixel Cloud are lowered onto the floor, in which plants, electric plugs and the sound system (masking noise) are also placed. One can sit on the units of the Pixel Cloud, feel the smell of the wet earth and also charge their phones, laptops, or other electric devices. People can work or have a coffee here, and small meetings can be organized as well, which are supported by staff and printing facilities.

By breaching the back walls we can get into the inner museum garden, which functions as a design theme park during the day, and a party location in the evening. Here you can find the glass-walled lift that can take you to the roof terrace offering a great view of Lechner’s facade. The new wing of the building, which was not allowed to be built at Lechner’s time, will be used as a modern wing and the restoration studios and administrator’s offices will be placed here. On the ground floor, there is a big gate opening to Hőgyes Endre Street, and there is a restaurant opening to the garden, which works as a bar at night together with the garden. The restaurant can accommodate cca. 70 people, and 140 in the summer when the terrace is also opened. The restaurant and the Pixel Café are able to accommodate 1000-1500 people daily at the weekends.

Our aim is to bring people and objects physically closer. These spaces are furnished with internationally acclaimed design objects and copies of art objects that can be used daily by the public, which is an essential point in this building. The VIP Lounge left to the main entrance, and with a separate entrance opening from Hőgyes E. Street, is mainly for the museum’s supporters, but can also be used for events. 

lead architect: Kristóf Göbölyös

lead architect: Kristóf Göbölyös

This space consists of three main rooms: a café, a separate bar, a meeting room which also functions as a lunchroom and a club, where presentations can be given. These rooms are furnished in an authentic way, with replicas of the museum’s authentic objects, like lamps, furniture, wall paneling, porcelains. Visitors to these rooms can feel the atmosphere of the turn of the century. 

Our tender plan was refused by Vikár and Lukács Architectural Studio.

Quote in the text:

*Edgar Wind: Art and Anarchy


Kristóf Göbölyös 



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