From set design to fashion to graphics, the founders of Pyxis Nautica dealt with and are dealing with many things, but the different background and habits only strengthen the joint work, because they have common principles and are open to each other's knowledge. László Monori, Dávid Tóth and Tamás Tótszabó talked about their university years, the monumental projects and the choice of name, and also revealed a little about their plans for the near future.
Were they born in the same year?
Laci: Not in a year, but within a year. The others in 86, I in 87, but in January.
You mentioned that all three of you came from different places: from different universities and with different habits. Tell me about this background!
Dávid: We also came from other places. For example, I graduated in Pécs, grew up in the Alföld, and then moved to Budapest. Laci grew up here in Budapest, then moved a bit to Pécs, first graduated from the Ybl, and then the Master's course at Pollack, and Tomi is from Debrecen and graduated from the BME here.
It already started to become clear at university, what interests you in architecture?
Laci: I think everyone goes to university wanting to design, basically we were all oriented towards this. There are specializations, people go in many different directions: building rehabilitation, planning with an ecological approach, etc., but within that I was also heading towards planning.
Tamás: I also liked design, and I really liked to draw and paint, even as a child. I also visited a painter, Attila Kővári, who helped me try all kinds of techniques. Then, before 2000, I got to know the early versions of 3D programs, and I really liked 3D creation. This was still in high school, and that's where I learned that architecture is a profession where you can do 3D and drawing while making a living. That's how I got involved in the field, and later, at university, I also loved it when we drew the houses, made sections and 3D renderings. Almost everyone goes to architecture school because of design, but we are grateful that we can really deal with this.
Dávid: We used to talk about jumping out and jumping out at the right time. But going back to my university years: I was always interested in architecture in a broader sense, i.e. design, environmental planning, and visual culture together. Architecture is part of this, but design graphics, fashion, and design are also part of it - that is, everything from the scale of urban planning to the scale of object design. I was impressed that all these topics could be turned around in the hands of an architecture student. It is also very interesting to experience whether one encounters this in one's own practice, and how one can translate this interest into practice. With our small circle of university friends, we took part in quite a few things, for example fashion or object design contests, graphic contests - these really colored this thing.
Do you still do the visual designs, Tamás?
Tamás: It's not so typical anymore, because there are several good people in this office, but I really liked doing this during university. I also had a hobby, that is, I modeled things that were not architect-themed, cars, still lifes, abstract, abstract images, and even now I like to model one thing at a time, but we divide it up in the office as to who, when, and which project makes the visual design.< /p>
Dávid: And you are also excited about set design.
Tamás: Yes, this is also related to this: even at the end of the university, I joined a group of film set designers, in the Korda studio in Etyek and in the film studio in Rákospalot, I participated in a project where we drew sets . They had to be planned in the same way as the houses, only they were drawn earlier and they were obviously built earlier.
What other jobs did you have before Pyxis?
Tamás: I met Laci at Erasmus in 2009, we got along well there. Then Laci invited me to his workplace, to an energy tender writing company, where we became colleagues, then when I got to LAB5 and they were looking for someone there, I recommended Laci, that became our second joint workplace, and the third became our own company . We also met Dávid at our joint workplace before Pyxis. Among the previous works, one of the apartment building designs is interesting to me, the execution of which was delayed for a long time, but it is being built right now, in the 13th district at the corner of Jász utca-Kerekes utca - I am waiting for this and I feel it is mine.
Laci: It was quite difficult for me to find my way back to the architectural engineering career, because the deepest moment of the crisis came just after I graduated college. I originally started working in energy, then after two years I went to an exhibition organization company as a designer, where I typically designed installations. After that, I worked on architecture again at the aforementioned joint workplace, while I did my MSc on a correspondence basis. The realized projects include party venues for various festivals, etc.
Dávid: It's an unfortunate coincidence that I didn't have a period of working during a crisis, because I procrastinated so much at university: I went to Pécs for ten years, doing all kinds of things there, and then at the end realized that I really should graduate now and should come from there. So I started working in offices when there were already orders. I met the guys at my third job, but it didn't last long, because Pyxis came after more than half a year, and the opportunity to work together independently.
The choice of name and logo will be discussed in more detail on the blog, but we can say that it stems from a common hobby.
Dávid: We had quite definite ideas, for example we didn't want an acronym, let's say the abbreviation of our names. We tried to choose a neutral base that created a good feeling and a sense of quality, and then came this constellation version, which was reinforced by sailing, which we found as a shared hobby that we still pursue to this day.
Tamás: We didn't want to be letters + numbers, which is quite typical for Hungarian architectural firms.
Dávid: We wanted to skip "architecture" and even in the "architecture office" we morphed a lot whether it should or not.
Laci: Dávid vetoed everything with the letter r:)
Dávid: A lot of things fell out:) Actually, we would be happy if this were a concept, and we would not necessarily be an architectural office, but a design company where the clients feel safe at any level of design. It can be interior design, furniture design or pop-up scenery: we are quite up for a challenge, and we would be happy if we received special orders.
Tamás: We have different faces, because there are times when we operate as an engineering office, as with the 3,500 m2 project in Irányi utca, which is the conversion of a 120-year-old building, and where we are general designers. Elsewhere, we are designers.
Dávid: We negotiate between them, even within a day, and among ourselves. We are quite different, our interests are also different, our big advantage is that if there are common principles and we see that what we have done fulfills them, then it really covers the concept of "good plan" in many ways.
It is surprising to me that you became independent at a very young age and took on many monumental projects. How much do they entrust such a thing to a fresh office? How do you win these orders?
Tamás: We were lucky with this: we met an investor dealing with real estate developments, who at first only built offices, then he started buying buildings that he wanted to renovate, and he trusted us to do it well. At the same time, I trusted my studies at the BME, where they taught me technical things quite well, and we have a fairly good specialist design team (coroner, art historian), so we are never left alone, but can and do ask for help. In this way, we always take on the obstacles, and of course we are constantly learning, and we pass the knowledge on to new projects as knowledge.
Dávid: These are the projects that are being pushed into a river bed from so many sides - there is a strong presence of experts, the presence of the authorities, regulations - that in fact, almost all of the architectural offices that undertake it would pass it by. . Maybe they can do better with us because we try to approach it a little more progressively, so a lot of regulations have to be complied with, a lot of people are midwives over such a plan, so an acceptable result is created for everyone. If, on the other hand, we try to push this to the maximum (the volume, the excitement factor, the progressiveness), then it will obviously be taken away, but in the end there will be something that is a little more characterful, or dare to add to the present.
Tamás: But despite the foolhardiness, it can still be damaged, there are examples of badly reconstructed facade decorations. You can also pass a design through this sieve so that it turns out to be ugly.
Dávid: The exciting factor of this is that there is a contemporary imprint, a historical part, but at the same time we are planning a new project in the present.
The question cannot be avoided: what are the working conditions like now, can I come to work, what about the orders?
Tamás: Four out of six of us live close to the office, so we still visit, because it's no different than staying at home. The two more distant residents are in the home office. If the situation were to get worse, we could obviously move home, although we hope we can get through this. We are working continuously, of course the planned projects will start slowly, but we trust that they will continue to work.
Laci: This is more about the execution. Fortunately, the design has not been blown up anywhere at the moment. So far, we have had no problems, none of our customers have indicated that anything would stop, in fact, everyone from the customer side is working, available, and we can consult with them.
Besides the common hobby, sailing, what else turns you off?
Dávid: Let's say the public ones, right? :) Now it's a new situation for us, that we can contribute directly to these plans, or we can be entrusted with planning.
Laci: The good thing about us is that we don't come in, work, and go home, but stay together after work on a weekly basis, drink beer, and go for a walk. This has always been part of our corporate culture.
Tamás: The epidemic situation was perfect for this, but we just started a series of parties called afterwork, which a friend of ours brought home from Sweden as a habit. There, it was especially common among architects to go to an office after work and, if not until dawn, play music for a few hours, drink beer, and go home. We would try to start this at home. For now, there was one like this, in a narrower circle, but when the dust settles, we'll try it again; we want one session per month in a larger circle.
Laci: Pyx University is also like that: once a week there would be a one and a half hour lecture, which would always be given by another one of us, on a topic in which the person was more in-depth. It would be a series, every week as a fixed program. We also invited an external architect for this, basically we are planning it as a professional further training, self-training.
Dávid: Building law, licensing, renewable energies... but it can be anything, the point is that this knowledge does not remain isolated in everyone.< /span>
Photos: Bálint Jaksa/Archition