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Handcrafted product from an industrial building

The transformation of the Gizella Malom loft into a condominium could be thought of as a success story from the outset, but a few pitfalls had to be avoided in order for it to actually become one.

The Gizella Steam Mill was built in the 1880s as one of the most important buildings in the Ferencváros "mill district". It was privately owned until its nationalization in 1963, and even later it functioned as a warehouse.

But the warehouse function is neither dignified nor practical for such a building. The examples of some foreign investments have shown what can be achieved from industrial buildings that are more than a hundred years old, when their original purpose has long since disappeared. Just think of Liverpool's Albert Dock or London's Borough Warehouses; perhaps it is not a coincidence that the Gizella mill was also transformed by a foreign investor, at the worst possible time from his point of view, before the 2008 crisis. However, the concept of the loft apartment building was viable, with apartments on the upper floors and shops, showrooms, and offices on the ground floor.


It would have been practically impossible to come out of the investment well financially, so the project stalled. But not for good: in 2009, a domestic investor, Optinvest, took over the building and transformed it step by step. The Pyxis Nautica was also photographed in this phase. Taking into account the ideas of the foreign tenant (floor plan layout, image colors), we prepared the interior design plans and individual furniture plans for the office. Our goal was to strengthen the loft atmosphere, while adding the company's image elements and colors to an optimal level. The rustic character of the retained small brick walls is complemented by the industrial effect of the black-tinted doors and windows and accessories.


The complete reconstruction only highlighted the characteristics of the original building, the four-meter ceiling height and the original solid brick walls.

Despite all this, a high-quality, modern office was created in terms of its technical solutions and use of materials, perfectly suited to today's needs. And we're not the only ones who say this, Betsson Group, which develops innovative IT technologies, also chose one of the offices in the building as its development center in Hungary in order to win the Small Company category of the Office of the Year competition in 2017.


In Budapest, there are only a few examples of consistently completed industrial building reconstruction, so saving value is a significant achievement in itself, but it is not the only one in the case of the Gizella mill. The concept breaks with the offer found in traditional office buildings: here the office is located on the street front, street traffic and office work take place on the same level, the office and the bustle of the city are not separated by several floors and numerous receptions, thus giving off a truly cosmopolitan feeling.< /p>

Tenants can go outside to the 100-square-meter, terraced garden, while inside the kitchen, dining room, and lounge functions are in one space, and at the same time, a glass wall separates the workstations and meeting rooms. In the 540 square meter office, you can find galleries and quiet corners just like a cool slide - precisely because it was intended primarily as a cool place and only secondarily as a workplace.


You can also work, ergonomic furniture takes care of this, there are plenty of plants around the height-adjustable tables to relieve tension, but if you're tired and at a dead end, you can simply move to a sofa, retreat to the nook, and create silence for yourself. We can see a careful game of balance: inspiration and calmness, soft surfaces and hard industrial character are present at the same time.

In order for this to be realized, uncompromising interior design was needed, which is not limited by the budget or the tenant's expectations for profit maximization. The clean, well-organized space had to be able to be converted into a 21st century. into a 19th century office, for which the original one-meter brick walls, the solid oak and Swedish pine structures served as good materials, then the modern polished concrete, the colorful Danish carpet and lighting fixtures, and the street art on the walls and the unique solutions served as ingredients. However, all of this could only be achieved with a good sense of proportion and a confident creative attitude, as a space that is not only promising in concept, but also works well in practice.


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