You have seen those shabby lamps, aged chairs and tables, old lockers, once perfect shop signs on Pinterest, design blogs and magazines for sure. Despite their worn-out appearance these are not to be confused with garbage at all. These are trendy interior design items and actually quite usable. Thanks to the work of people like Ákos Szabó the founder of Arteria Industrial in Pécs.
The small business of Ákos started operation a year ago and the Design Week in Pécs last month gave us the chance to finally pay a visit to their headquarters close to Tettye. The workshop has an authentic setting since the whole building used to be a gloves factory complex. Huge spaces everywhere, the kind of rooms that would have been already transformed into flats in Berlin, Paris and London. And equipped with items like Arteria is dealing with.
The loft showing bare bricks and a ceiling with flaking paint is an office, workshop, photo studio and warehouse stacked with items. “Everything you see here is for sale”, says Ákos who has spent 8 years working abroad before coming back to Pécs. He did fall in love with the style in London and wanted to have the same atmosphere in his very own flat. He had more and more items and started to sell them. Things got serious and the business was born. He also has some help now with collecting and reworking the items. Meanwhile his girlfriend does a lot the marketing tasks which is a key part since there is competition. They do not target the Hungarian market since there is no real demand for their items in the country. More than 90% of their sales goes directly to the UK, Germany, France and the Netherlands.
Their daily tasks sound easy and the workflow can be summarized in three steps. First, they buy stuff (the origin of all items is documented) from abandoned places like factories, warehouses or clinics. The second step is to clean and repair the items so using them is safe. Important is not to alter their style and keep as much as possible of the retro flair. The third is to sell the pieces. All steps have their problems that need to be solved but Arteria seems to be fine doing the job.
Their biggest assignment up to date was to restore 20 industrial lamps for a firm in London that lends decorations for the entertainment industry. The work took them almost two months. But the nice fact about these items is that once restored they have excellent quality.
Ákos says he sees the possibility in growing the business although it’s getting harder and harder to find items that can be saved since they have explored almost every abandoned and available building in the vicinity of Pécs. But trips to distant places are worth the hassle because unique and authentic items can have a fitting price tag.