Urban Sidewalker portrays Budapest in a different dimension


10/15/2014 2:00 AM

Check out a new line of highly detailed hand-drawn maps that present a fresh perspective on assorted sights of the Magyar metropolis, ranging from monumental landmarks to little old ladies.

Many people are saying that Budapest is the new Berlin, and we consider that statement as an honor, not only because the German capital is a legendary hipster nexus, but it is also a European melting pot of culture thanks to its diversity and openness. Budapest is slowly catching up in that regard, resulting in both changing perspectives and a cultural boom. One of the most striking points of Budapest's evolution is its impressive transformation in the field of design, and in this way locals Balázs Egri and Máté Révay developed a new product of graphic artistry that seems to capture Budapest's street layout and modern spirit.

Photo: Milán Magyaródi

Balázs used to draw a lot, especially portraits, and his friends often encouraged him to use his skill for something serious; eventually, he became a historian and packaging designer. His good friend Máté works as a psychologist, but the subject of drawing always came up when they spent time together. Balázs then drew the details of a Budapest neighborhood… and so Urban Sidewalker was launched.

They considered whether people would be interested in prints presenting Budapest in miniature detail, which could look good hanging on the walls of apartments or offices. Also, as a visitor's souvenir, an Urban Sidewalker print of Budapest can be much more stylish than lacquered red peppers labeled "Budapest" or Chain Bridge magnets. A monochrome version of the picture was finalized after 120 work hours. Then they digitalized the freehand artwork, colored it, and did some minor corrections.

Their goal (or rather, their mission) is in line with ours: they love the city and would like to make others feel similarly as well – to show them that Budapest is a cool place. It was quite different seeing the prints up close: we would like to spend hours studying it at a well-lit table, a magnifying glass in one hand and a glass of red wine in the other. We felt as if we were reading Where’s Waldo? as we spotted a giraffe munching on some leaves in the Zoo; we see the only car, a taxi, waiting at Gellért Square; old ladies with walking sticks mingle among passersby on the tiny streets; we can even admire the Zsolnay porcelain at the Museum of Applied Arts. Naturally, we should not expect a 100% accurate scale representation, and at some places, buildings have been turned for a more detailed design and better positioning. However, this is not disturbing, but rather a unique element of the artwork.

Following the summer launch, the team of Urban Sidewalker is not only building their online presence, but also their real-life communication with their customers. Their prints of different sizes, formats, and colors are sold at WAMP and at the Sunday Gouba Bazaar in Gozsdu Udvar. In addition to the traditional posters, we can also buy some screen-printed versions. In fact, the group’s plans include making wall decals, as well.

Photo: Milán Magyaródi

Urban Sidewalker defines itself as a creative community, and there is already a dedicated team behind it to assist with the work. Later on, they would like to include other artists in the Urban Sidewalker design team, too. In addition to the markets and online shops, they are hoping to have the maps available in numerous downtown design stores and creative spaces: as of now, Urban Sidewalker prints are available at Yellow Zebra Bike Rental, ART BOX in Kunsthalle, Portéka, Gondolat Bookhouse in the Petőfi Museum of Literature, Fian Koncept and in Gang Design Gallery.

Prices range from 4,000-7,000 forints, with discounts offered when ordering online – check out the Urban Sidewalker Facebook page for more details..

Related content