“I’ve always found it tedious to revisit the same „trendy” locations to shoot in the city. The market in Hungary is so tiny, however, that crews often can’t afford a studio where we would build the scenery. Bridging this creative gap was the motivation behind creating a place between the two sides. A studio you can redecorate anytime. An empty workshop where you have to start from scratch. A permanent and flexible location,” says Márton Ágh, production designer, co-founder and the mind behind Made in Helsinki, describing its beginnings.
Ágh has been working as a production designer for almost 20 years, even though he only ended up at the University of Fine Arts by accident. After a friend’s suggestion, he wanted to study costume design—a course taught parallel with set design. This is where he took interest in the field. He completed his first feature film, The Alchemist and the Virgin, in 1997. He has worked together with renowned directors like Zoltán Kamodi, Árpád Schilling, Kornél Mundruczó, László Nemes Jeles and Peter Greenaway.
“We had occasions where we had to create a floristry or the conference room of an architecture firm,” he recalls, although the work he does in Made in Helsinki is of a different scale than creating the production design for a feature film. These moments, however, are still important to him, as is making sure the place is more than a studio for film crews. “We’d love to do something else here as well, not necessarily film stuff. This is what the future is about. So far, we have worked with almost anyone, regardless of the project or the motivation. We have to be flexible enough; and that, coupled with our curiosity, means we won’t reject anyone.”
Márton Ágh regularly works nights at Made in Helsinki too. “Apart from giving work to a few people, we have fun ourselves,” he says about the place of a hundred faces that holds even more potential.