Solinfo is opening up to a wider audience—their new 400 square meter store, Home of Solinfo, now offers customers not only furniture and lamps but also small furniture, home accessories and books from the most renowned international manufacturers in the heart of Budapest. It is no exaggeration to say that the store at 19 Rumbach Sebestyén Street is now bringing the best of Scandinavian design to Hungary. We visited the Home of Solinfo store and asked Zoltán Orbán, one of the owners of Solinfo Group, about its creation.
It might at first seem a bold decision to open a design store during the pandemic, with a completely new strategic model, large in size and impressive in content, but Solinfo has taken on the task of completing what has been missing from the palette of design institutions in Hungary for a long time. After the brand-specific showrooms and their smaller premises at Rumbach Sebestyén u. 3, they opened their first design store with stock, where, in addition to furniture and lighting equipment, you can also find small items and home accessories from international brands.
According to Zoltán Orbán, the idea to establish Home of Solinfo was long on the table, and several steps led to this moment. On the one hand, the owners realized that their customers, who they provide with high-quality furniture and lamps, could not find the same category of small furniture and home accessories on the domestic market. They first tested adding accessories to the portfolio on the webshop, which—despite, or perhaps because of, the coronavirus epidemic—showed surprisingly good results. This feedback, together with the fact that several of their previous brands represented, such as Tom Dixon and Vitra, have also opened up to accessories, has only further strengthened their decision to open a shop.
What makes Home of Solinfo special is the focus on Scandinavian design, although this doesn’t necessarily mean that everything you find here is from a Nordic manufacturer; there are also items that reflect the Scandinavian design approach, including some products from Vitra. According to the Solinfo team, the essence of Scandinavian design lies in the quality being combined with a very precise sense of proportion; the object remains unique without crossing certain boundaries. It provides a sense of security for the user and functions well while conveying the Scandinavian way of life, which is characterized by openness and thinking in community. For the brands in the store, it was therefore only natural that their products, although competitors, should be placed in the same space. Although the Scandinavian design defines the store’s range, the name of the store doesn’t reveal that—the reason being that Solinfo is thinking long-term and wants to expand the current Scandinavian-focused range in the future and they also see the possibility of expanding the premises in the future.
”Our aim is that Home of Solinfo will eventually give space to Hungarian designers—designers whose products have the same ambition and perseverance, production technology, design approach and design management as the Scandinavian products on offer here. If we have all that, and the product is unique in some way, then the first thing we will do is to sell it in our shop,” says Zoltán Orbán.
Home of Solinfo‘s aim is therefore twofold: to offer a quality alternative in home accessories to their existing clients and to open up to new customers interested in design by offering more affordable items to the general public.
”The products on offer here will help the customer to discover, step by step, what it is like to be surrounded by a quality object culture. We want customers to see that in certain product categories, you don’t have to pay much more for a designer product. The products purchased at Home of Solinfo are not meant for the display case—we offer utilitarian objects that help us express sophistication in our homes,” he adds.
The products from nearly fifty manufacturers on sale are divided into lower, middle and upper categories according to price level. Entering the store, we are greeted by smaller items, kitchen accessories, home decor and fragrances, gourmet and gastronomic accessories, while in the middle we find items in the higher price range, such as floor lamps and rugs, and in the back we find furniture for interior design and a new addition to Solinfo, the Danish kitchen furniture brand VIPP. Next year, the back terrace will also accommodate outdoor furniture for which Solinfo is the exclusive domestic distributor. The products in the store are all in stock and can be sold immediately, and the space is constantly kept in motion with the replenishment, integration of new products and seasonal changes—all of which have been taken into account in the design of the interior by MádiLáncos Studio and Solinfo.
Home of Solinfo’s image was created by the Socially team, who are responsible for the store’s PR and social media communications. ”When designing the image and choosing the name, it was key to clearly define the newly opened store. Our task was not without its challenges; while retaining the Solinfo brand name, which has been well known among interior designers for 30 years, we had to create a brand that would also appeal to a completely new target audience, and serve two purposes. It refers to a product range focused on home accessories and gives a fresh, contemporary, Scandinavian feel. The logo’s choice of colors is reminiscent of Nordic pine forests, which emanate a timeless naturalness and simplicity. The clean look pays tribute to the airy minimalism and harmony of Scandinavian design. Typographically, I’ve tried to capture the functionality that is a hallmark of Nordic style: the aim was to make each letter stand out as a motif on its own. The ligature, composed from a typical Scandinavian character, is a symbolic reference to Scandinavian design and the mission of Home of Solinfo in Hungary,” says Eszter Csontos, art director of Socially.
Photos: Gergő Gosztom