While searching for the ideal location to house his Southeast Asian Gold Museum a few years ago, István Zelnik discovered a villa in Budapest that is steeped in history. The building in Andrássy Avenue was built with limestone tiles at the end of the 19th century for the businessman Ferenc Rausch and still carries his name to this day. In Villa Rausch, Zelnik found the ideal venue for his precious collection of artworks and cultural objects, so he had the house converted into a museum. The museum has been open to visitors from all over the world since September 2011 and links the past and present of Southeast Asian culture. To provide a suitable facade, a glazed extension with bronze-coloured metallic mesh from GKD –Gebr. Kufferath AG (GKD) has been added.
It was at the start of his career as a diplomat in Southeast Asia that Dr. István Zelnik first discovered his passion for artwork from the region. And the Hungarian has been collecting works of art and cultural objects from Southeast Asia for over 45 years. The opening of the Zelnik István Southeast Asian Gold Museum in Budapest now offers the general public a spectacular insight into his private collection, which ranks among the largest in Europe. In nine exhibition rooms spread over two floors, around 1,000 pieces spanning 2,000 years describe the history of Southeast Asia, Hinduism, Buddhism and maritime trading. However, as the name of the museum suggests, the main focus is on the numerous gold and silver objects. The architects from Atonic Design Kft were keen to follow the lustre of the pieces on show in creating the shell of the villa’s glazed extension. They ultimately chose GKD Omega 1520 mesh with bronze lacquered weft wire. Around 230 square metres of the woven metal mesh now encapsulate the building. This industrial product provides pronounced contrast to the old walls of the villa. At the same time it reflects Zelnik’s goal of building a bridge between the antique treasures from Southeast Asia and the present day through his museum. The bronze-coloured mesh shell also ensures a pleasant climate inside the museum thanks to its solar protection function.