Design Office of the Year 2016 Winner
Address: 1211, VM Csepel Művek
Year of build: 2016 Q3
Size: 1800 m²
Number of employees: 10 +
Tenant: Saját tulajdon
An army of animal sculptures have emerged from the studio of the artist Gábor Miklós Szőke. Crossing continents and oceans, this is where they start their journey around the world from the former Manfréd Weiss Steel and Metal Works.
Many know him as the creator of the FTC Eagle, but beyond his gigantic steel sculptures, his universe encompasses creatures made from reused materials, tar and found objects, which are an organic part of the empire ruled by the Doberman, Dante. From the upper floor of the spacious 100-year-old brick building, Dante's guard dogs gaze down upon strangers wandering in from afar. The employees working here are familiar with the ruler's language, they consider the empire their home and the main venue of their social life. In the studio of Gábor Miklós Szőke and Berta Hauer (the artist's business and life partner), hundreds of people participate in the construction of the monumental artworks. The work process is supervised and coordinated from the command center on the upper floor. Through a massive vault door we enter a welded and riveted steel box resembling a submarine and a military bunker at the same time, where under the crystal chandeliers of the command office/conference room, the plans of new projects lie spread out on the oak-wood table standing on sturdy dog-legs.
Employees are provided for with a shooting range and film screenings for team building purposes. An indispensable appliance of the latter is the pop corn machine located in the office kitchen. The realization of the stainless steel sculptures takes place in hall one, which functions as a studio and a showroom as well. Furthermore, select pieces of Gábor Miklós Szőke's vintage car collection are on display here, which change seasonally along with the sculptures. In the other 1000 square meter wood warehouse and workshop, the wooden sculptures are made. In the back of the hall, a mint condition bridge crane rests on its 50-meter track.
- Historic building
An art and design studio was established, which in its infrastructure could qualify as a construction company as well, nevertheless, it reflects the style of its owner in every detail. The kitchen, the changing rooms, the offices, the furniture, the banisters and the stairs are all the works of Gábor Miklós Szőke's team.
During the renovation of the halls, the restoration of the Manfréd Weiss Steel and Metal Works' former glory was an important aesthetic principle, thus, the whole facade was renovated, and the original window frames were preserved, which received insulated windows. The facade, the interior and the employees' uniforms are all black, red and white.
- Work and entertainment above all
Opportunities to relax and unwind are in line with employees' personalities and the imperial taste of the Dante Empire. The studio organizes various thematic social events, where guests may crawl around on all fours in dog masks. The halls are a design studio, a workshop, a showroom, an entertainment venue and a warehouse in one.
- Self-expression and functionality
As far as the eyes can see, the sculptures, the paintings, the objects, the hangers, the negotiating tables, the desks, the bar and the lighting in the command center and the other rooms are all born of the imagination of Gábor Miklós Szőke and realized together with his team. Through the sound-proof glass walls of the conference room, one can see the flight of the heavy sculptures suspended from the black and red bridge crane spanning the 25-meter-long hall in its full length. Looking down from the upper floor, useful equipment of the empire can be observed: scaffoldings, forklifts, lift baskets, welding machines, metal- and woodworking tools without which the construction of the sculptures would be unimaginable.
(Photo credits: Csaba Barbay/Flashback Photo, Szilvia Kovács/Nők Lapja Enteriőr, Gábor Miklós Szőke)