19th-century palaces wrapped in reflective gold transform budapest streetscapes

19th-century palaces wrapped in reflective gold transform budapest streetscapes

pyxis nautica & Dániel Szalai wrap 19th-century palaces in gold

 

In downtown Budapest, Hungary, Pyxis Nautica and Dániel Szalai have transformed four 19th-century palaces into urban-scale interventions by concealing them in golden fabric. The structures, built between 1817 and 1922, are currently undergoing conservation and restoration to be reborn as exclusive office buildings and public cultural spaces for modern-day use. By wrapping their historic facades in gold, the project not only secures these architectural treasures until their renovations begin but also turns an artistic spotlight onto them while challenging our perception of the built environment. The gilded enveloping invites passers-by to approach the installations, reflect upon them, and interact with them by exploring their materiality and symbolism.

19th-century palaces wrapped in reflective gold by pyxis nautica and dániel szalai transform budapest streetscapes
Almásy Palace | image by Bálint Jaksa

 

 

a reflective urban-scale intervention in downtown budapest

 

Budapest-based architecture and design studio Pyxis Nautica’s collaboration with artist Dániel Szalai arose after a commission by Hungarian boutique real estate developer Optinvest Zrt. Between 2022 and 2026, the historic structures will be repurposed to serve as offices as well as new public facilities, including cafes and cultural and event spaces. Their transformation will be carried out respecting the palaces’ heritage status, aiming to conserve and restore as much of their original glory as possible.

 

The project envelopes the facades of four heritage-protected palaces with golden fabric, covering a total area of 1,100 square meters (11,840 square feet). The special, water-repellent cover serves as both a construction safety net until the renovation of the dilapidated buildings starts, as well as a vibrant artistic installation element. Transforming the way observers typically respond to their built environment, the project invites passers-by to reflect upon and interact with these buildings differently, rather than considering them mere scenery passed by on their daily commute. The reflective wrapping exudes warm light while creating a foggy mirror and invites observers to get closer to the palaces and touch them, experiencing the buildings as physical objects.

19th-century palaces wrapped in reflective gold by pyxis nautica and dániel szalai transform budapest streetscapes
gold-wrapped Wagner Palace | image by Bálint Jaksa

19th-century palaces wrapped in reflective gold by pyxis nautica and dániel szalai transform budapest streetscapes
Dreher Palace | image by Dániel Szalai

19th-century palaces wrapped in reflective gold by pyxis nautica and dániel szalai transform budapest streetscapes
wrought iron balcony railing of the Dreher Palace wrapped in gold | image by Dániel Szalai

19th-century-palaces-gold-budapest-pyxis-nautica-daniel-szalai-designboom-6

19th-century palaces wrapped in reflective gold by pyxis nautica and dániel szalai transform budapest streetscapes
Dreher Palace wrapped in gold | image by Dániel Szalai

19th-century palaces wrapped in reflective gold by pyxis nautica and dániel szalai transform budapest streetscapes
a QR code on each palace’s door gives information about the building’s history | image by Bálint Jaksa

 

 

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project info:

 

name: Budapest Palaces Wrapped in Gold
artists: Dániel Szalai & Pyxis Nautica Design and Build
location: Budapest, Hungary

 

 

designboom has received this project from our ‘DIY submissions’ feature, where we welcome our readers to submit their own work for publication. see more project submissions from our readers here.

 

edited by: ravail khan | designboom

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