sator space popularizes hungarian post-socialist architecture through souvenir magnets

sator space popularizes hungarian post-socialist architecture through souvenir magnets

the low-cost, concrete-paneled, four- to ten-story apartment buildings from the 60s and 70s generally get a bad rap in hungary. these so-called ‘panels’ are seen as gloomy, lifeless mementos from the eastern bloc era and completely ignored by foreign visitors.


sator space, a hungarian design studio set out to change this preconception by turning the retro yet very much alive charm of panels into fridge magnets. the studio’s goal is to educate and inspire tourists to get to know this side of budapest as it is an essential part of history and contemporary life of the city.

these ‘panel’ apartments were fast and cheap to build so you can still find them anywhere in the former eastern bloc countries



sator space incorporated the traditional infrastructure units of panels such as low ceilings, ultra-thin walls, and standardized facades in the production design through the square-shaped sets of the thinnest available magnets (with the thickness less than 0.4 mm). the strikingly colorful palette and real-life elements displayed on the magnets such as pets, bikes, sunshades or locals represent the buzzing inner life in these neighborhoods, rediscovered by the young crowds due to their low rent prices.

several sets of apartment blocks can be built easily from the even pieces with thousands of inhabitants



these magnets step beyond the world of mainstream template souvenirs of well-known sights and offer everyone a glimpse into these hungarian blocks of apartments from the socialist era. sator space team hopes that more travelers will be prompted to get off the beaten track and wander deeper into the local neighborhoods. 

get the whole set to recreate your own post-communist neighborhood on your fridge


the ultra-thin magnets attach to any iron surface


the studio wanted to capture the vibrant life of locals in the panel neighbourhoods


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: maria erman | designboom

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