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From the street to the presidential suite

When the creative director of London-based interior design studio Twenty2Degrees called Péter Szabó-Lencz on the phone, saying he was looking for Hungarian artists to decorate the ground floor public spaces and mezzanine of the Marriott Hotel in Budapest, he would never have thought that finally it would be him who could design almost all images and that ultimately he could create nine artistic prints for the presidential suite as well. A little later, Twenty2Degrees once again chose him to design the image material of the Marriott Hotel in Prague, too: here, he has more than fifty works displayed.

Written by Zoltán Baranyai

Péter decided in 2003 that he wanted to reach his full potential as a visual artist. Since then he has been improving his style deliberately: there is a sort of continuity and a transformation of style visible in his works. After the initial urban shapes and images, the artistic expression of change and a longing for harmony manifested in abstract shapes and harmonious colors in his works created for the Marriott, after the completion of which he instantly chose new paths: he is currently preparing for his latest creations where only art matters.

Initially he painted rather realist images, then in 2009, he was captivated by the atmosphere of the city and urban living. After the launch of the blog Budapest Avantgarde, he released his Budapest-themed pictures, which gave the initial boost to his art. In the framework of the program Színes Város (Colorful City), four artists: Trans, Fork, Void, and Péter each got a wall to paint, and Péter was also commissioned to paint the map on the wall of Wichmann pub almost at the same time.

This was a very entertaining and exhausting period. I found myself in deep water, because previously I have never painted on such a large surface, and so in the absence of practice and experience, I worked for almost three weeks on the painting. Franek, the operator of the crane also contributed to the work in the first two weeks: we did the base together, he helped with fillings and he entertained me with stories all day long. After two weeks, we had to give the crane back, so I finished the rest from a fire escape ladder,” Péter told us about the beginnings.

These projects were followed by various different opportunities—his works appeared on home design objects: sofas, pillows, bags, and vintage furniture pieces wear them proudly and his images have been displayed in both group and solo exhibitions. Soon his prints become available at various places. The Budapest series reached many people thanks to all the media coverage and the blog focusing on contemporary culture.

Péter also participated in contests, and after a few smaller jobs, he was commissioned for more serious collaborations. He gained a lot of new contacts, and these new acquaintances connect him to people who wanted to give something unique to others. Thus, decorative painting started to gain a more and more pronounced role in his life, while his artistic style slowly changed. He was contacted by home decorators, interior designers and architects: he grew to like this direction and so his works can now be found in several apartments, offices and company premises.

In the famous Hungarian reality TV show Való Világ 5, it was once again his graphics that decorated the walls for several months, which was a great opportunity for him: it makes him happy that he could reach so many people with his works.

In December 2018, Péter was working in his studio when his phone suddenly rang: it was Joseph Stella, the creative director of London-based interior design studio Twenty2Degrees on the other and of the line. As he explained to Péter, they were right in the middle of renovating the ground floor public spaces and mezzanine of the Marriott Hotel in Budapest, and they were looking for Hungarian artists for the paintings to be placed in the interior.

 In the course of their correspondence, Péter recommended a lot of artists based on their concept but in the end Twenty2Degrees commissioned him to create almost the entire set of images, which meant approximately thirty pictures. In addition to him, the works of visual artists János Huszti and Stefan Osnowski made it into the project. With his abstract works, Péter fit into the concept perfectly. Not long after, Péter was commissioned to design the imagery of the presidential suite of the hotel, where he created nine artistic prints in collaboration with Abcdekor.

In the meantime, the London-based studio received a commission for the renovation of the Marriott Hotel in Prague, too, and so Péter was also invited to join this project: this time, 54 works of his were displayed in the hotel’s interior.

Péter only recently completed the paintings of the Portuguese Wyndham Grand Algarve Hotel: the largest painting out of these has a size of 160×240 centimeters. Unfortunately the collection could not be dispatched to Portugal due to the coronavirus and problems in logistics, but the situation will soon be resolved.

“I utterly enjoy these collaboration and I think of them as challenges. I mainly prefer painting pictures, but the compositions, the colors and shapes are all results of compromises, as I have to adjust to the designer’s concept and have to meet countless of requirements.”

After his most recent works, he withdrew a little from work and distanced himself from urban themes—instead, he started thinking about and experimenting with colors and shapes. His older graphics are hardly available, this era has come to an end. Sometimes he does take on projects like that for orders, but after his current abstract forms he already has the new direction on which he plans to focus on soon. This will lead him back to the city, displaying its passing with a special technique.

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