They have designed several office buildings in Budapest (and also won the award of Interior Design Company of the Year at the Office of the Year competition in 2019), but their portfolio also features a great number of summer houses. We interviewed one of the founders, László Monori about the activity of Pyxis Nautica.
How was Pyxis Nautica established and in what form are you operating today?
We established the company with Tamás Tótszabó and Dávid Tóth in the summer of 2017. We had fruitful collaborations in several projects earlier, so our studio grew out of a friendship. All three of us graduated as architects, from various universities across the country – BME, Pollack, Ybl –, and all three of us did other projects including stage design, fashion design and graphic design. The different background and habits only strengthened our work together, and we also have our common principles. Since then, three new colleagues joined our team, who are also quite broad-minded experts: Ferenc Kis, Igor Valastyán and Ágnes Péntek made our team a whole.
If I’m correct, pyxis nautica is a constellation, but one could also associate the name with the sea. What’s behind your choice of name?
Yes, there’s also a constellation with the same name. Finding the perfect name took months: we were looking for three-letter words, and somehow ended up at constellations and at PYX, the full name of which is Pyxis Nautica, meaning nautical compass in Latin.
The constellation consisting of three stars symbolizes the relationship between the three of us well, it alludes to our common sailing past, and in addition to sounding cool, we strive to live up to it and be able to lead the way within the industry.
For me, it’s not only your name that recalls travelling and the sea. Your house designs in Balatonfüred and Köveskál recall the traditional and contemporary features of Mediterranean architecture, while Zen house shows Japanese marks. Is crossing borders like this and looking for inspiration from faraway lands important to you?
We try to follow international trends, but fundamentally it is not our goal to mimic buildings that do not match our country. It’s important for every building to be connected to its environment, be it natural or built. The buildings in Balatonfüred and Köveskál are parts of a series – we’ll tell more about this on our blog soon. Six architects designed six houses in our studio, without any sort of mandatory criteria. Every project is full of exciting points and questions, and are testing the limits in different ways.
A significant part of your projects consists of office designs, you have also won the Interior Design Company of the Year award at the Office of the Year competition – congratulations! In light of the pandemic, how do you think office spaces will transform and what are the things that won’t change at all?
Our team is quite split on the issue. Nevertheless it’s interesting to see how the demand for summer houses has increased in the past few months. Most probably it’s the result of introducing home office or partial home office, but Hungarian dwellings are not equipped for working from home for a longer period of time. Perhaps this is what triggered the rise in summer house and family house design projects in our studio, too. It is exciting to contemplate that perhaps this could even result in the active age population appearing in smaller settlements and revitalizing them.
What can we know about your future plans and your ongoing projects?
Soon the renovation of “Sasok Háza” (House of Eagles) in Irányi utca will be completed with a level extension, we can’t wait to see the end result! We’ve also just started planning the renovation of a historical building designed by Mihály Pollack in its close vicinity.
Another great project we have is designing the new visual identity of Telenor stores and adapting the designs. The first new store has already been completed at Astoria, and soon several other premises will be transformed across the country.
(The cover image features The house of the playful man in Pécs)