04 Dec Interview with the founder of Printa design shop
When people ask us what our favorite deisgn shops are in Budapest are, Printa always features on our list. A hip, trendy spot, Printa is more than just the design shop and cafe that it bills itself at – rather it’s a creative hub, attracting locals and foreigners from all over to mingle and enjoy some of the best art coming out of the city. We love to show people Printa on our tours, and after so many visits, we decided to interview the founder, Zita Majoros, to find out more about Printa’s history.
We are sitting with Zita Majoros in Printa Design Shop, sipping our coffees and talking about where her story began, how much she likes the atmosphere of Budapest’s 7th district and what inspired the successful Budapest Collection. Her store is perfectly situated in the historical Jewish quarter, facing Budapest’ most spectacular synagogue on Rumbach Sebestyén street.
Originally from Serbia, Majoros moved to Budapest in 1999 and studied for her master’s degree in art and design, specialized in silk printing. She immediately fell in love with the gloomy, shabby, but still-patinated atmosphere and the classicist style architecture of the houses from the turn of the 20th century.
She both lived and studied in the 6th and 7th district and during her university years, discovered the city through the eyes of a tourist, taking tons of photos which soon became her first sources of inspiration. She rented a flat near Keleti railway station -, famous for hooplas, razzias and big city life. She still lives here with her family and enjoys the surroundings.
Zita Majoros – founder of Printa
When and how did Printa began?
My first shop was opened as a “Bolt” (meaning store) in Kertész Street. At the start, it was just me, a Serbian graphic designer, and a Brazilian photographer. We looked at this city in a way that locals didn’t – as tourists, actually, we really felt like tourists.
Eventually, we realized the space wasn’t big enough, so we opened a bigger studio was opened in 2009, which became the Printa Design Shop in Rumbach Sebestyén street. This location turned into a jackpot.
Did you ever think Printa would become one of the city’s most popular tourist destinations?
I didn’t, however, I recognized long ago the good vibes that makes this place so popular today.
Don’t you think this quarter has become too touristic already?
If you avoid Király Street and Gozsdu Courtyard then you can still find quiet places worth discovering. I live here, so I can say this is still a place you can live in, with its good vibes, history, and atmosphere. Even the farmer’s market in Szimpla ruin bar on Sundays is worth visiting.
Printa is well known of its sustainable management…
Yes, we pay attention to the sustainable management of resources and alternative material usage; t-shirts are made of a mix of recycled polyester and the waste made during the manufacturing process is bio cotton. Prints are printed on recycled paper and tencel is often used (it has botanic origin, since it is extracted from the raw material wood). It’s extremely eco-friendly due to the closed-loop system.
Printa design shop – photo: budapestflow.com
Printa is not only a shop, you hold workshops and run a café.
We organize courses and silkscreen workshops where tourists are very welcome. It’s a great alternative for bachelorette parties too. One of my childhood friends suddenly became a barista years ago, so I offered him the chance to open a café here. He made it so successful in two years that he then opened his own café on Arany János Street (Espresso Embassy). Luckily, he left us his ‘know how’ and trained new colleagues. We pay attention to high-quality coffee beans and use farmer’s milk.
Printa design shop and coffee – photo: facebook.com/PrintaBudapest/
When I first entered the shop, I noticed the simple, harmonic arrangement and unified product range, which is rare among design shops.
This is unique as most other design shops sell several designer’s products (Zita says the same 5-6 designers’ work can be found in most shops), while in Printa only one brand is sold.
I made a conscious decision when cut back cooperation my business partners and designers. It was hard as they were friends, but it turned out to be a good decision. Each product we sell are non-series and eco-friendly, with a small eco-footprint. And they’re all locally designed and produced.
Printa design shop – photo: facebook.com/PrintaBudapest/
Which is your most successful collection?
It was the Budapest Collection, most definitely. I started my career as a freelance designer and made my first collection of prints on the 7th district (of course). This is a set of intuitive (subjective) maps which focus on the non-touristy parts of the area. Today we offer 3 maps: Printa’s Pest, Printa’s Jewish Quarter and Thermal Baths. Another 2 are planned: a child-friendly, and a green version of parks, markets, eco-friendly and organic restaurants. Such a non-touristy subject inspired my drain cover prints. Some districts of the city have quite typical characteristics, this gave me the unusual idea for the drain cover collection.
The maps and the drain cover prints are part of the Budapest Collection as well as t-shirts and paper sacks, and even lampshades. All these unconventional souvenirs are folded so they don’t take up too much space in people’s baggage. All of them are composed of eco-friendly, upcycled materials that remodel the conventional souvenirs with a fresh touch of silk-screen printing.
Budapest Collection by Printa – photo: printa.hu
Are there any products you thought wouldn’t be successful?
I really like all my collections, so I am surprised if any of them turn out not to be popular. That said, furniture wasn’t marketable – probably because tourists could not pack it!