Design Legends ("DL") had the distinct honour to interview legendary designer BORD Architectural Studio ("BAS") for their original perspective and innovative approach to design as well as their creative lifestyle, we are very pleased to share our interview with our distinguished readers.

DL: Could you please tell us a bit about your design background and education?

BAS : I started my studies at the Budapest University of Technology and Economics in 1997. As a student I was very keen to start my hands on experience so in my second year in 1999 I started working for a then leading architectural studio, ZDA (Zoboki Design and Architecture). I carried on working for them until 2006 when BORD Architectural Studio was established and as a project architect I had plenty of opportunity to take part in a wide range of projects from industrial buildings to cultural institutions. I graduated from the university in 2003.

DL: What motivates you to design in general, why did you become a designer?

BAS : When I was a child I had this instinct that I needed to build a house for myself. I was always busy building huts wherever I was until the age of ten when drawing took its place. I think it was inevitable that I became an architect.

DL: Did you choose to become a designer, or you were forced to become one?

BAS : I already admired architecture as a child and I applied to university so as to design my own house one day. When I was a second year student, I got a full time job in a prestigious architecture studio and I couldn’t even imagine any other career for myself.

DL: What do you design, what type of designs do you wish to design more of?

BAS : Being an architect I am responsible for many different areas as a designer. BORD Architectural Studio has three workshops in two countries. Our headquarter is in Budapest and we have two other offices, one in Zurich and the other one in Debrecen. All of them are dealing with general design i.e.: design tasks from conceptual designs to structural details and so on.

DL: What should young designers do to become a design legend like you?

BAS : I am lucky because my hobby and my profession are very much alike. It wasn’t difficult for me to leave my comfort zone and deal with architecture 24/7. Of course it is not enough to spend a lot of time with something. It is also essential to be able to loose ourseves in it. All of my buildings are part of my imagination, I visualize myself in them as I work, study, live there or listen to lectures, you name it. It is very important to be part of what you’re doing.

DL: What distinguishes between a good designer and a great designer?

BAS : A good designer delivers a job right on time, complies with the latest demands, is reliable, successful and has a professional prestige. A great designer does not necessarily adjust to the latest trends, they’d rather have unique ideas and set trends themselves. A great designer is also prestigious and successful but everybody is aware of their merits and faults.

DL: What makes a good design a really good design, how do you evaluate good design?

BAS : A really good design is evident. Everybody likes it and everybody regrets not having thought of the same themselves. When meeting a good design it is so balanced that it is impossible to add to it or take away anything from it.

DL: What is the value of good design? Why should everyone invest in good design?

BAS : These days there aren’t too many permanent things around us so we’d like to possess such objects or buildings we can attach to. We trust in the timelessness of these and use them as a safe where we can lock up treasuries moments of our lives.

DL: What would you design and who would you design for if you had the time?

BAS : It might sound a bit odd but I’ve always wanted to design a bee hive. This recognition hit me when I saw two bee hives in Ljubljana, in front of the workshop of Joze Plecnik. I find the bee society amazing and I think it would be a beautiful task.

DL: What is the dream project you haven’t yet had time to realize?

BAS : Although I’m an architect I also adore sailing so designing a sailing boat is definitely on my bucket list

DL: What is your secret recipe of success in design, what is your secret ingredient?

BAS : I always imagine every building as if they were real before drawing them. In my imagination I try its spaces, I tidy the kitchen, put the objects to their places. I do my best to understand the needs and demands toward the buildings in all functions. My secret ingredient is believing in the project.

DL: Who are some other design masters and legends you get inspired from?

BAS : The first names that spring to my mind are architects Louis Kahn and Alvar Aalto. They managed to reinvent space and balance industrial and craft structures at the same time.

DL: What are your favorite designs by other designers, why do you like them?

BAS : I admire high tech, the buidlings of Renzo Piano and Richard Roggers are big milestones in my professional life. I adore the zest of technology and science in a building. I find it inspiring how human scale and industrial measures change in the spaces created by them.

DL: What is your greatest design, which aspects of that design makes you think it is great?

BAS : My longest projects was designing a stadium. The main reason for this was that its location was an abandoned forest in the heart of the city. I knew that my job was not only to pull up a sport complex but also to rebuild a whole district. We needed to come up with a catalyst that generated newer and newer developments. Since the implementation it became the centre attraction of the city that attracts fresh investments endlessly. https://bordstudio.hu/projektek/debreceni-nagyerdei-stadion/ At the moment I am busy with an ongoing planning and construction process where a hill is called to life and a new dweller is being moved in to a wine region. Its name is Elf Padi. I honestly hope that by the time it will be finished people will admire it like a sentient being instead of a building and it will have plenty of visitors. https://bordstudio.hu/projektek/sauska-boraszat/

DL: How could people improve themselves to be better designers, what did you do?

BAS : Simplicity and pureness are important to me. The two things that remind me of these are: nature with its honesty and functionalism are the artifacts I adore.

DL: If you hadn’t become a designer, what would you have done?

BAS : I’m afraid I would have been a lawyer. I like to research cause and effect and endlessly reduce the patterns that generate and activate things.

DL: How do you define design, what is design for you?

BAS : The simplest form of function where we can find the inventions of our time.

DL: Who helped you to reach these heights, who was your biggest supporter?

BAS : There was an architect behind me with whom we learnt the trade together. Then I married her. I learnt everything from her that I was lacking.

DL: What helped you to become a great designer?

BAS : Lack of the internet. Back then professional journals filtered all information so we could only read about the best, it was pretty obvious what was good and what wasn’t.

DL: What were the obstacles you faced before becoming a design master?

BAS : After graduating I was lucky enough to work together with many of my previous professors who gave me important feedbacks. Later in one of our buildings: Villa Budapest we contracted such professionals to design the interiors like Tadao Ando or Ilse Crawford. These experiences truly shaped my career path.. https://bordstudio.hu/en/projects/villa-budapest/ I think I was at the right time at the right place.

DL: How do you think designers should present their work?

BAS : Two years ago BORD Architectural Studio set up DECODE foundation so as to express the thought behind art and architecture. Every year we select the winning short films in a competition. The films are aiming to depict the story behind the concept. I believe that it is more important to talk about the road that is leading to the end result than talking about the result itself. https://bordstudio.hu/en/2019/11/29/decode-award-ceremony-2019/

DL: What’s your next design project, what should we expect from you in future?

BAS : At the moment we are working on a building where we are experimenting with mixed structures, we signal the change of functions with different materials. We would like to depict functionality in the most basic parts of the building too, hence the structure. https://bordstudio.hu/en/projects/innovation-centre/

DL: What’s your ultimate goal as a designer?

BAS : Designing a building that is coherent to the core.

DL: What people expect from an esteemed designer such as yourself?

BAS : It is often disturbing that people expect solutions from me not only in connection with design but in other aspects of life too. Maybe this is because we meet an awful lot of lives, situations and mentalities throughout work that are geared up by the projects. I’m not always conscious of these though.

DL: How does design help create a better society?

BAS : A good design is simple and evident. Therefore, it is capable of simplifying and making lives more practical. Often they reorganize problematic parts of our everyday lives and provide solutions for seemingly insoluble situations from the background.

DL: What are you currently working on that you are especially excited about?

BAS : I was born and raised in the Hungarian countryside. The most typical aspect of the great plains is its endless horizon, the Fata Morgana, when the earth becomes its own reflection on the horizon. The vision of multi coloured horizontal lines, the blurred boundary of earth and sky is floating in front of your eyes like some mysterious gate through which resides endless imagination.. This childhood experience is the basis of the interior concept that we’d like to implement in one of our hotel designs.

DL: Which design projects gave you the most satisfaction, why?

BAS : A small winery we designed and built up in only a couple of months time. Keeping the old walls of the building I mixed the old and the new structural units openly and visibly. I simply love the honesty of this building.

DL: What would you like to see changed in design industry in the coming years?

BAS : I’m amazed how we dress up new technologies so people don’t find them too disturbing. Such is the electric car for example that can be easily mistaken for a traditional car. These reflecting motives are remnants of the earlier concepts in my opinion. I’d like to see a change in this, to see that new technology evokes new designs that is independent from the previous ones.

DL: How long does it take you to finalize a design project?

BAS : It depends, general implementation can last from a few months up to two years even.

DL: When you have a new design project, where do you start?

BAS : I believe that nature communicates with us and would like to use us as its mouthpiece. In order to be able to hear this we have to shut out all earlier desires and unfulfilled thoughts. A new project is not another chance to manifest an earlier idea. The most important thing is to arrive to the location without preconceptions. This is extremely difficult, trust me, I speak from personal experience.

DL: What is your life motto as a designer?

BAS : Each building has a story. It is the task of the architect to leave a mark on the building, just like age and adventures are visible on the human face.

DL: Do you think design sets the trends or trends set the designs?

BAS : Trend and fashion are nothing but fast disappearing fads for architects. In the life of a building design trends are no more than short moments so it is dangerous to rely on them. Of course society and technology is changing and buildings, structures and public places should react to these changes. We have to think ahead when it comes to social trends. A building can only be successful if it can adjust to the altered circumstances in the future too. As an architect I think it is high priority to follow and assess social and technological changes.

DL: What is the role of technology when you design?

BAS : Our society is proud of the inventions and innovations of our time and we like to see them around us in our daily lives. This is the very reason why I think it is important to represent technology and innovation in our buildings too.

DL: What kind of design software and equipment do you use in your work?

BAS : Since I’m on the road most of the time, online communication is crucial. Usually I prefer freehand drawings which I do on my tablet so I can immediately share them with my colleagues. In the beginning of a project I consider freehand drawings important, because they have time consuming, monotonous parts like shading when we can gain some time. We cannot skim so easily over seemingly good ideas.

DL: What is the role of the color, materials and ambient in design?

BAS : Environment is the most important to me, as an architect, especially blending in with it, not to mention contrast of course. These conceptually define colours and materials.

DL: When you see a new great design or product what comes into your mind?

BAS : A really good design creeps under my skin and ties me down for a while. I only start comprehending in detail what has happened after this.

DL: Who is your ideal design partner? Do you believe in co-design?

BAS : It takes a long time to build up the shared vocabulary that is needed for a successful cooperation. This often requires a shared professional background and university years.

DL: Which books you read had the most effect on your design?

BAS : I like science fiction because there are no rules or convention in those stories and the authors’ only aim is to break with conventions and rules.

DL: How did you develop your skills as a master designer?

BAS : I think real development comes when we can break with the rat-race. Nature is the best master with its simplicity and functionality.

DL: Irrelative of time and space, who you would want to meet, talk and discuss with?

BAS : Hassan Fathy would be my choice, I guess.

DL: How do you feel about all the awards and recognition you had, is it hard to be famous?

BAS : I don’t feel famous and most probably I never will. It is very far from my personality and I’m a way too keen perfectionist anyway.

DL: What is your favorite color, place, food, season, thing and brand?

BAS : I love autumn, its colours and lights not to mention the tastes. Of course autumn means a different thing in each country but in Europe it’s relatively the same.

DL: What makes your day great as a designer, how do you motivate yourself?

BAS : I value the days when I’m surrounded by calmness and I can draw freely. When more than necessary sketches and mockups are made because there are no deadlines.

DL: When you were a little child, was it obvious that you would become a great designer?

BAS : It wasn’t quite so obvious that I’d become a designer but building was my destiny for sure as I was always constructing something in the garden.

DL: What do you think about future; what do you see will happen in thousand years from now?

BAS : I’d like to believe that balance will be more important than ever and all people will live in harmony and unison with nature. I believe this determines the future of architecture. In certain geographical areas like in the mountains of India people build bridges from the roots of living trees and this alliance with nature helps them control the floods. I’d like to believe that there will be many similar alliances between man and nature in the future.



Gearing International School of Debrecen

Gearing International School of Debrecen by BORD Architectural Studio

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