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In this month’s edition of YKRA Faces, we sat down with András Fugerth, the founder of Möbelkunst, a vintage furniture store based in Budapest. Focusing on the 1920s to present times, Möbelkunst offers a selection of niche objects that will catch the eye of design enthusiasts everywhere. András gave us a sneak peek into his life, work, and inside his YKRA bag, too.

Hi András, please tell us about yourself and your work.

I’m the founder of Möbelkunst, and simply put, it’s my passion project. I don't have huge ambitions to change the world, but it makes me happy if through my mediation beautiful objects can find their way back to people and places where they are cherished. It’s a great feeling of accomplishment when an object goes from being unappreciated to becoming a prized possession. After all, being surrounded by beauty makes the world a little bit better for many of us. 🙂

Tell us about the story behind Möbelkunst.

I first became interested in design around 20 years ago, after a fall spent in Helsinki. It was the city where I discovered so many beautiful objects, and when I came back home, I wanted to continue this journey of discovery. I started looking around Budapest to see if there was anything similar. At the time, people around me thought I was crazy, spending all my time searching. Perhaps I can now say that time has proved me right.

Anyway, the passion continued, and during my years of studying, I started going to markets and auctions, always on the hunt for objects deemed surplus or worthless. I don’t collect for myself, but I do want to give objects a new lease on life. What surrounds me is the result of twenty years in this business.

I’ve always been involved in recycling, and I have another job besides Möbelkunst focusing on that. I think it’s important, and in some ways Möbelkunst is about recycling too, just with sexier, nicer stuff.

How do you decide on what objects to acquire?

There's a roughly 100-year time span that Möbelkunst covers, from the 1920s to the present day. Beyond that, I’ll add objects that catch my eye or based on what I find on the market at the time. These are the three filters, and then within them, I have complete freedom.

Do you choose them by yourself?

Yes. But I’m grateful that I’m surrounded by wonderful people, and it’s thanks to them and my team that I’m able to pursue this passion of mine. Möbelkunst is as much a joy as it is a job, and it’s the reason why I started in the first place.

Is there anything specific you're on the lookout for?

No, and I never am. The pleasure of discovery is what keeps me on my toes, not necessarily the object itself. Of course, it’s great when I see something special, but it's the thrill of finding an unexpected object that I enjoy the most.

What’s there to know about the building the Möbelkunst showroom is in?

If I’m correct, there used to be a brewery here at the turn of the century, and this hall was built on its site, where mining machinery was serviced. It then stood empty for decades, and when we found it, it was an abandoned building. We turned it into what you see now, a beautiful space and showroom filled with objects. 

What does a typical day of yours look like?

It's almost like Christmas every day — I never know what I'm going to find! On some days, this job can mean many, many kilometers spent on the road, heading to pick up an item or visiting different locations in search of a new piece. I love to hit the road and explore. There are also quieter days spent with research, admin work, or figuring out logistics, but these days have their own charm too. But whatever the situation, my morning coffee is something I never miss. It’s also nice to return home after a long, exciting day.

Do you have any hobbies outside of your work?

My hobbies are the people I’m surrounded by, be it my family or friends. Spending time in nature is also a big pastime of mine. There are so many things I consider as hobbies that they can’t be listed in a classic 24-hour day, or even condensed into a lifetime.

At the moment, though, my free time revolves around finally bringing my campervan back to life, which has been a year-long project. It's up and running, but we haven't been able to get going with it yet. Although it did take me to Lake Balaton, we had to come back on a trailer! So Paris and Amsterdam are still waiting for us.

Now, let's see what's in your bag!

- I've known Balázs since the beginnings of YKRA, back when the first backpacks rolled off his desk. I have one of those very early backpacks too, and I’ve been a fan ever since. I totally agree with the values that the brand stands for, and the story behind the brand is super cool too. Balázs has my respect.

Flask - Water. It’s a part of life; I keep this with me every day.

Jazz book - Knowledge. It’s a book I’m currently reading. Slowly but surely, I’ll acquire the knowledge I crave to go along with the pleasure I find in my surroundings.

Zsolnay book - Learning. There’s always something to learn in my job. It’s a perpetual learning process, especially as I didn't study design at school, so the knowledge I have is based on what I’ve picked up over the years. I’m not deluded; I don’t know everything, but I do know a lot, and I’m always ready to learn more.

Three little objects - They represent what I do and have sentimental value. They’re products of the last 20-25 years, a small selection of the eleven thousand objects I’ve worked with thanks to Möbelkunst.

A period architectural model and armchair - If I must, I collect small items, as I already have an issue with space, and I don’t like keeping things in boxes.

Miniature Panton S chair - It’s funny how when I first started Möbelkunst, this chair was an object I longed for. Then, I realized it was frequently replicated in Hungary, and the beaches were full of Hungarian, slightly clunky knock-offs. I did find originals once, but that was enough — they found a new home somewhere in the world a long time ago.

Perfume - This is a small niche perfume from a tiny perfumery. I just liked the smell.

Cap - Its essence is the motto. On the one hand, it's a cheap gag, but on the other, it's something I'm trying to achieve because time is something that money can't buy, no matter how hard we try.

Lion - I've had this for years. It's like those statues that children rub for good luck. I rub this little lion, and you can see where it's turned shiny. It's a custom that I can’t let go of.

Dice -These come with me wherever I go. They’re easy and fun to play with, and I like to play. Supposedly, they’re from a small workshop in Siena, where the lady’s husband made them one by one. The story doesn’t sound too believable, as they were only a Euro each, but hey, it might even be true.

Portable cutlery set - For once, this is an item focused on practicality, and it reminds me of kind memories. We've had a Ukrainian family living with us for almost two years now, and in connection to this, I was invited to a conference where I had to talk about what it's like to be a host. This cutlery set is a good reality check to remind myself where to rank life on the happiness scale. It also reminds me of how lucky I am to have the freedom to do my job where and how I want to.

photos by Botond Wertán 

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