Transforming Pop Art, a gin distillery and moustaches – all elements that can be found in a recent concept pitch we put together for a Lifestyle hotel in Budapest.

Traditional fireplaces are re-interpreted as overscaled see-through sculptural elements that welcome the guest and open up views and connect rooms. A long “table” as bar evokes a simpler home environment while a glass cube, divided into classic Rubik’s cube proportions, houses a wildly inventive laboratory, roasting coffee in the mornings and infusing “own label” gin in the evenings.

Virtual reality was used in the hotel’s entrance hall to bring the artwork to life – literally. The 3D team experimented with facial features on three portraits inspired by artist Julian Opie, causing eyebrows to raise, moustaches to twitch and eyes to wink. We pay homage to Janos Irinyi, inventor of the matchstick, with our own matchstick table and populate the room with shaggy (Puli) chairs. The far end of the room houses the VIP zones and the walls are decorated in Budapest street art emphasising the crossover of the narrative.   

The hotel is housed in a significant historical building with very traditional Hungarian features, however, the design captures the spirit of the hotel brand by adding a playful twist to the building. The vision was to combine design with fun, from the very first moment guests step inside the hotel.

In an irreverent aside to the heritage of the building, we have created a grand, glass entry hall to the guestroom, lit by an overscaled chandelier made up of simple filament bulbs, referencing the invention of the AC transformer and poking fun at any grand notion of the building. A traditional Hungarian “home sweet home” needlepoint házi áldás is etched on the glass walls welcoming you home while the bath is literally pushed through the wall, echoing the bridges over the Danube and crossing of the divide. The carpet is a contemporary interpretation of traditional Hungarian embroidery while the over scaled mouldings serve as a reminder of the history of the building. Above the bed, a neon art emphasises the “new” overlaying the “old”.  A tall table acts as both desk and dining from one side and stand up bar the other.

A power cube sits on the table for all power requirements and in a link with downstairs, a grand moustache cushion takes pride of place on the bed.

This playfulness went beyond the building’s interior, with virtual projections onto the exterior of the building in reference to some of Budapest’s most famous exports: windows flicker alight to reveal matches, whilst sections of the hotel’s façade slide into place, mimicking the sides of a Rubik’s Cube.

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