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In this month’s edition of YKRA FACES meet Lili Farkas-Zentai, online editor-in-chief of the Hungarian architecture and design magazine Octogon.

Hi Lili, tell us about yourself and your work, what do you do?

I work at Octogon, a Hungarian architecture and design magazine where I’m the editor-in-chief of the online platform. Apart from work, I have an 8-year-old daughter who’s now in second grade at school, and we live together with my husband Robi in Kőbánya, Budapest.

I’m proud of working at Octogon magazine – it’s been around for 25 years, and is a very prestigious magazine in Hungary. It's the only architecture magazine with such a strong focus on design, both in terms of visuals and text, with a critical voice. We work with authors who really try to keep the critique of architecture alive in print! We also have a great crew of photographers, who shoot our carefully selected images. 

I manage a small team. Previously, in my role as online editor-in-chief of Hype&Hyper, we had a much larger, extensive editorial team, so right now I spend a lot of time on making things work the way I envisioned. In the print magazine, architecture is a lot more dominant but online, there’s more focus on design. Especially since I've taken the helm of the online division, I've been paying special attention to ensure that the areas of architecture and design can also be viewed as intersections or meeting points. So a lot of my days are spent managing these workflows, coming up with content and working together with the print side of things – it's a team effort.

What does your average day look like?

In general, my day starts with a coffee, a hot chocolate for my daughter, and then it’s the school rush. Running late? That's me. After I arrive back home, we usually have breakfast with Robi, and then we start work – He is a motion designer, and we both work from home and do our own thing. My husband is a great cook, so he’s the one who prepares our meals, and I just apologise for being useless in the kitchen, but I try to make an effort.

On Tuesdays, you can find me in the office. It’s the day when although it’s harder for me to get my tasks done, I can deal with things there that we wouldn't otherwise, like discussing the synergy between our online platform and the print magazine, a front page or things which are easier to talk about and make decisions on in person. One of the changes that Covid brought to my life is that I find it a lot easier to work from home, my surroundings are calmer, so I can tick off my to-do better. Still, it’s also nice to go in the office and be with the team in person.

In the evening we're home, we have dinner together, and then sometimes we play board games or Robi and Fanni will play Nintendo, while I try to tidy things up around the flat. Unfortunately, it’s also not rare for us to carry on working in the evenings, so after we’ve put Fanni to bed, we spend quite a few hours in front of our laptops – working online can sometimes be a real pain.

What’s in your bag?

Octogon - This issue of Octogon features the work of Balázs Danyi, portraying a sewage treatment plant, which is a favourite of mine. This industrial building has great features for taking beautiful photographs.

Watch - I collect watches, and this one was a present from my husband for Christmas. Back in 2011, we visited the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York, and this is a limited edition Swatch, with a design by Piet Mondrian, and has a sentimental value for me, as it brings back all my fond memories of New York

Pencilcase - A while back, I ordered a YKRA bag designed by Gergő Gilicze, and I also got two pencilcases, but Fanni and Robi decided to keep them for themselves! So I had to order a new one for myself, and I decided on this version in white. I've had it for a long time, and while I was a little scared of it being white, it's been holding up ever since.

Earrings - I got these earrings from my friends Petra Hoffmann, design theorist, and Anna Bárdy, graphic designer. They created a little DIY brand together during Covid, and when I saw this piece, with its interesting asymmetry I knew I had to get it.

Leica Camera - This was also a gift from Robi. I’m a fan of photography, and I like to have fun taking pictures. My sister used to be the marketing manager for Kodak Hungary, so I have a lot of expired film to this day, which I enjoy using.

Laptop case - So far my cases have always been really lousy, and I’ve been looking for one that’s pleasing to the eye. Red is a big favourite of mine, and I have a variety of red bags, so I thought this case would be a good match.

Notebook - My notebook is totally full. I usually jot down my weekly tasks, and break them down into daily to-do lists, or if I read a quote I like somewhere, I’ll note that down too. It’s also a place to keep my post-it notes, as you can tell. Sometimes, I’ll also use it during interviews, but I also record as well.


Photos by Botond Wertán 

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