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When it comes to being a designer, János Héder, MANOOI co founder and brainchild behind the company’s exquisite lighting creations, says he shares a sentiment that his company likes to tout: “Creation is our ‘mother tongue’.”

But, in his case, becoming a designer was not something he was born with, but the result of his observations about the world around him, which led to an evolution in his thinking. 

János Héder co-founder of Manooi

“When you’re young,” he explains, “you don’t realize that being a designer is a profession; you’ve only noticed that there are objects around you – and that’s how it is.”

“Design” as a concept was even more of a mystery to him, seeing as he grew up in socialist Hungary, where goods, housewares, utilitarian objects, cars, etc. were “one size fits all” and sometimes had to be cherished and used for decades. “Everyone had exactly the same objects, the same home interiors, etc.”

János recalls that the things in his parents’ flat provided him food for thought. “Those things were natural, but whatever there was I had different ideas on how it should look and that it was possible to improve upon it – when you don’t feel that things are in harmony with themselves, they just don’t go together: ‘that rug doesn’t go with the table’, for example.”

Back then, entire blocks of flats were all fitted out with exactly the same things: silverware, plates, furniture, whatever you can imagine. One department store chain had a slogan that went “Irreplaceable because they’re replaceable”.

“So if you broke it, you went in and bought another,” he explains. “This was such shitty logic and I hated it.”

“When things are mass produced – 100,000 pieces of something that has no thought behind it – that really disturbs me, because with a little care it could be something different, but they’ve taken every kind of uniqueness out of it which might strike our fancy.”

In contrast, János says he likes items that are really well thought out and work well as well as objects that have a heritage and which provide some perspective on past times.

Given that few car brands were available back then, one way in which Hungarians dabbled in modifying utilitarian design was in how they customized their cars – many times the Russian Lada – to differentiate them. 

“They looked really lame,” says János, who also remembers having his breath taken away when seeing a very not lame Lamborghini Countach for the first time at Lake Balaton. It was noticeable that much thought had been put into the sports car’s design, and it struck a nerve with him.

“Something’s not right,” he realized, concluding that it was possible to make better things than what was available in Hungary.


First creations – a school project

Then, when he was 10-years-old, János got an assignment to build something. He took a beer can, cut a hole in it, installed a socket and put in a lightbulb – it was a lamp, his first official creation.

“I realized how simple it was. You set your mind to it and do it, and then there is something different, something new.”

At that time, he realized that there are individuals – designers – who come up with such objects; they don’t emerge by themselves. “There were people who came up with the Moskvitch and the Lamborghini, and that’s something we can also do.”

While he felt like a misfit in his own culture, his family’s trips to Italy, where the proportions of objects and details seemed more true, were enlightening. 

He explains, “Since I had no other weapon in my arsenal, I decided I wanted to be able to create a future reality, through which one can improve things.”

János went on to create all kinds of things, like furniture for example, deciding to study in the Faculty of Architecture in Budapest, later changing to Interior Design and graduating in both that and architecture.

He says his objective was not to manufacture things but to design a house for someone else, or the interiors of restaurants or shops, creating spaces where people feel good. 

“For a long time I designed shops, because I don’t like to shop,” he says. “My intention was to create spaces that I would gladly enter, where I would understand the products and find what I needed. I had a very basic concept of how I thought a shop should look, and I did my best to realize that – and it worked.”

János says his first real success was the interior design of a restaurant that received a fabulous reception from those who entered.

He adds that he has never wanted to manufacture something on an assembly line. “I’ve always been interested in creating things that have emotional content, something that does entail architectural logic but also moves people emotionally – things that spark interest and conversation.”


A holistic approach fueling creativity

Today, when asked what fuels his creativity, he explains that while working interior design he reached a point in his career where he was aware of his knowledge, but also aware of what he didn’t know. “I had a good perspective on the field that I was working in, and as you go forward in time so many different experiences come together, so that I’m not considering things from the standpoint of a lighting designer but rather how it is possible to improve things out of some sort of logic,” he explains.

“Increasingly, almost anything inspires me and I have an opinion about almost anything I see. From that standpoint, it could be furniture or architectural design that moves me.”

János says that as a designer, one must have an instinct regarding how materials can be used, or how they can be combined; it is crucial to consider what can they contribute.


Classic elements remain classic

As for his approach as a designer with a special perspective, he believes not everything needs to be new or completely modernized.

János recalls one incident which illustrates this: “We designed a restaurant space and a marketing guy showed up and said ‘don’t include arches because they’re not timeless.’

“These kinds of deliberate, scientific perspectives don’t work (for me),” he comments. “Objects, in and of themselves, need to be very technical – they’re created with the sentiment of making people’s lives better. It’s that simple. Sentiments that fall outside of that are a bit constipated.”

According to him, there are some things that will always be a given, like a rainbow. 

“You’re not going to change it because someone believes that it should be upside down in the 21st century. There are some elementary things, which people will always communicate: a sunset, a mountain, a reflection of light off of water – those things, which are universal, are in objects, and those materials and forms which have worked thus far.”



Manooi’s ORIGO lamp is truly an original – a modern lighting fixture that gives the impression of a precious jewel. 

Designed to add light for a wide variety of functions through a fine combination of crystal and LED-sourced light, ORIGO is a completely novel, streamlined, compact design composed of classic materials, like red copper, crystal and stainless steel.

Origo pulsar chandelier

ORIGO units, which are housed in tubular and conical forms, or affixed to a plate-like base, can be installed as a single light source, or they can be arranged in clusters that make up a lamp of any size as part of a group of components – one can assemble as many of the pendant light fixture elements as they like.

A prime example of ORIGO’s flexibility is the intricate, 3-tiered ORIGO Star Set, a modern take on the classic arm chandelier, which comes in many different sizes, can be assembled in a wide variety of arrangements and attached in numerous ways. The asymmetric array of ORIGO Pulsar takes those sentiments on a more futuristic journey.

Origo chandelier family

ORIGO is revolutionary, requiring a completely unique way of stringing together crystals that requires extreme care. For Manooi, the compact nature and adaptability of ORIGO units are also an achievement, because this fine combination of LED and Swarovski crystal gives off a glowing luminescence that adds warmth to any space.

Manooi’s ORIGO line came to life in 2017, making its debut in Milan, where it welcomed entrants in a “star gate” formation comprised of black mirrored glass and 60 ORIGO fixtures.



MANOOI is extremely proud to have been featured recently in FORBES Magazine. In fact, we liked the article so much that we decided to translate it and share an excerpt from it with you.

New lights for a new world

At the beginning of the 1990s, Hungary, which was shaking off the cobwebs from a few decades of communism, had a scarce supply of specialty lamps, so MANOOI’s co founder, János Héder, took the initiative of designing light fixtures with his first company, Inarchi, an interior design enterprise specialized in retail chain outlet branding. 

He explains: “The point was, we were looking for powerful and eye-catching lights that fit a space and gave it character.”

Their approach was wildly successful. Due to the numerous domestic and foreign orders they received, they were able to build a stable network of contacts, especially in the commercial sector. The price of their interior plan included a 100% guarantee that customers’ turnover and profits would increase.


MANOOI: A meeting of minds and hearts

János’ wife, Judit Zoltai, graduated as a porcelain designer. Like János, she was also interested in lighting, and she wrote her dissertation on it. They had a meeting of minds and began working together. Their first major commission was a request from Hungary’s Mobilia-Artica furniture company, launching their very own crystal chandelier, called Artica, for their client’s exhibition booth. To this day, Artica remains one of their most popular models, and makes up the MANOOI company logo.

They assembled their very first chandelier in their garage. When they had some time, they started assembling crystal. The piece became a dazzling success: crowds formed at the exhibition in front of the stand, so many people took photographs of their Artica lamp. 

“The product itself automatically draws all of the attention,” according to János, who says that the uniqueness of crystal lies in the fact that the experience is constantly changing as the viewer moves. 

“There are elements of the universe that are unquestionable,” he says, offering an example. “If you scatter a pile of crystal, and a bunch of toys, the crystal is the first thing the kids will go for.” 

MANOOI orders its crystal from several places, with their regular suppliers being Swarovski and Bohemia. The crystal material they use is in and of itself coloured, of the absolute highest quality.

Even then, they had no shortage of orders, continuing to collaborate on interior designs for international brands even after MANOOI was founded. But what really set things into motion happened in 2009, when MANOOI made its debut at the Milan International Furniture Fair.


Where MANOOI’s creations land

Since then, their chandeliers have found a home in 80 countries and MANOOI has a total of 25 showrooms around the world, including in Japan and South Africa. The company’s lighting creations are mostly sought after by interior designers, resellers and large hotel owner investors. For years, Russian clients made the biggest contribution to MANOOI’s turnover, but these days they receive most orders from customers in China.

Not only are standards different in each region, but what customers are looking for in a light fixture also varies quite a bit. In China, which János considers the fastest growing market for luxury goods, many buyers go for colour and traditional shapes. Where a lamp will be placed is an important consideration in their design. A more colourful piece works well in a minimalist Scandinavian atmosphere, but the same light fixture is lost in an over-decorated, colourful environment.

“It’s good when a lamp finds where it’s supposed to be,” says Judit.

In addition to one-of-a-kind projects for clients, Manooi also has its own line of lighting creations. On a larger Artica chandelier there are 30,000 crystal components, while a smaller piece may have 2,000. The 500 kg (over 1,100 pounds) Burj chandelier even comprises 180,000 pieces of attached crystal, and the 2116-meter crystal chain is longer than the Champs-Élysées.

Moving forward

MANOOI is now on the verge of transformation as a company. Soon, it will also include an experimental workshop where, in addition to crystal, they will work with other materials such as porcelain.

While most of their sales are made abroad, their position on Hungary’s domestic market is also considerable. They are not afraid of competition, believing that from an artistic design point of view, they have no competition in Hungary.

“We design, manufacture and market,” explains János, “but our native language is creation.”

The 100% Hungarian-owned company works out of six different locations, among them the renowned Alpár Ignác villa, MANOOI’s headquarters, where design takes place. Finished lamps are assembled strictly by hand in a workshop located in Budapest’s former Goldberger factory.

From the first day of its existence, the Domoff Interiors entered the market as a major player among architects and designers who deal with extremely large-scale objects in terms of size and complexity of work. From small cozy houses, apartments with a total area of ​​200 sq. M. to luxurious mansions and residences from 1000 sq.m, the architectural and design direction of the “Domoff Interiors”  is popular for creating timeless environments.

The Domoff Interiors  is a design studio specializing in exclusive, individually tailored projects. Domoff Interiors creats designs of residential interiors, this is a special and important page of the portfolio. Every detail of this project was created by Marina Egorova and Denis Kovalenko designers, they carefully thought out and selected flawless composition and gave a holistic atmosphere to the interior.

The central lighting above the marble table is provided by an iconic chandelier by Manooi, ARTICA. Woven from chains of transparent crystals, it repeats the general rhythm of the interior due to its unique design.

Flagship chandelier ARTICA embodies the spirit of the brand; over time it became the recognized shape of Manooi around the world. Although it entails unique architectural forms, it is ideal for placement in a wide range of spaces due to its smooth and curved shapes. With its non-regular but perfectly planned form, Artica represents the essence of the Manooi Universe.

Artica chandelier above a dining table


Artica chandelier above a dining table


Artica chandelier above a dining table


How a boutique crystal chandelier maker found its home

Tucked away on a quiet street on Budapest’s “Rose Hill” is an enchanting, stately old house called the “Neuschlosz Villa”, where Manooi Light Creations’ headquarters are located.

The mansion looks like a castle of sorts, mixing neo baroque and neo renaissance styles. Long-ago pictures of the villa reveal the peak of its tower section topped by a steep crown like one might see adorning many of the towers in Prague. These days, however, it’s flat on top – one of the mansion’s battle scars from the Second World War. And it does have a number of open-air and covered verandas – added later – that offer spectacular views of the city.

Today this unique structure at Apostol Street 13 in the 2nd district is a testament to both the creativity and perseverance of Budapest.

Named after its first owner, Ödön Neuschlosz, the grand old house was completed in 1898 according to a plan by Hungarian architect Ignac Alpar, unknown at the time, but who would become one of an esteemed generation of architects who were responsible for Budapest’s architectural development at the turn of the century. Indeed, after designing the villa, Alpar won broad acclaim for his planning of the Vajdahunyad Castle for the Millenium Celebration in City Park (“Varosliget”) and went on to design the Budapest Stock Exchange, the Hungarian National Bank and the quirky “Anker” building right downtown near Deak Square, all landmarks of architecture in the Hungarian capital.

Discovering the story behind the place

That sort of deep history and grandeur were exactly what Judit Zoltai, Manooi’s co-founder, was in search of when she began looking for a company headquarters about 10 years ago. She says she has a special approach when it comes to finding an office space or picking out a family living space. “For me, it’s important that the place has a story and some history behind it,” she explains.

The Neuschlosz Villa, says Judit, was no different. It had a strange advert that piqued her interest.

She remembers, “The ad had a weird picture that showed the carved wood interior, which is fantastic, but the picture was odd and dark. Still, it was apparent from the ad that the space had some soul to it; I’m not always looking for something that would be ‘good.’ What I choose needs to have a certain ‘something.’”

Judit explains that whenever she and her husband, Janos Heder, Manooi’s co-founder, are looking for a property, she’s the one who does the legwork before showing him the “finalists”.

A masterpiece, inside and out

If the unusual exterior of the Neuschlosz Villa doesn’t wow you, just step through the heavy and massive wooden door at the mansion’s main entrance which opens up to reveal an archaic wooden staircase. Past that, one steps into an expansive parlour filled with intricately carved redwood from South America. The stately old room is big enough for throwing a ball. And just next door, to the left of the parlour, is a stunning, olde-world library. One can easily imagine it filled with classic books. Off the right side of the parlour are the offices of Manooi.

Judit says she also remembers seeing those things for the first time.

“So on the day I went to see the villa, it was enchanting because I entered, looked up and saw all of the handcrafted wood, then I went into our possible office space and looked out over the Danube, and the place really grabbed me. One of the small rooms in the back is especially bright and is a bit different than the other ones – it looks down on Margaret Island and Margaret Bridge. I found it really charming.”

“Janos also liked it, immediately,” she adds.

János Héder co-founder of Manooi

Introducing modern light creations in a classic atmosphere

Part of the reason Manooi chose the villa was the impression it makes with clients who come for a visit.

“We definitely were searching for the kind of space that would accommodate our chandeliers,” Judit explains. “Crystal chandeliers have the same effect on both modern spaces as they do on classic ones, but they definitely give their best to very special rooms, so they absolutely suit our headquarters and are in harmony with it, and our clients are really impressed – they’re taken aback in a positive way when they enter the parlor, where we’ve installed a giant chandelier on purpose, to transport them into a dream, away from life’s everyday hustle and bustle.”

She says Manooi’s offices are a contrast to the Bauhaus-era house that she and her family live in, but most of their time is spent at work in the villa.

“I remember we weren’t quite sure  we wanted to stay because the space was a bit dark, but the house representative encouraged me, saying, ‘Judit dear, you’ll see that you’re going to end up staying here longer than you think.’ And she was right! We really love being and working there,” admits Judit.


Lune chandelier in an office

Manooi crystal chandeliers

Where history meets mystery

As for whether there is still something to discover for her in the Neuschlosz Villa, Judit says one of her friends shared some old photos with her that revealed what the interior of the house looked like back in the old days. “Originally, the walls and the windows were much different, and when you see where there were paintings and furniture, vases – what life was like 100 years ago – that gives a really interesting peek into how it used to look.”

But, Judit says, the mansion is hiding an even greater secret about which few are aware – a tunnel that is accessible from the cellar and allegedly leads all the way to the Danube. 

“We asked if anyone had ever gone down the full length of the passage,” she reports. “They haven’t, but say that parts of it are walled in, because there could be mines or who knows what in the tunnel.”

And that’s why, even though it’s no secret what a great space Manooi found for creating and exhibiting its luxury chandeliers, the old house will keep some things to itself.


Stay tuned for more stories and insights from the team at Manooi!




One of the founders of Manooi, János Héder, recalls that his fascination with light goes all the way back to an anecdote from his childhood.

Decades ago, János Héder and his sisters were on a roadtrip with their father in the Hungarian countryside. To make the time pass (and to keep them from fighting in the car), his dad suggested a game of “20 Questions”.

The clue their father gave them was “matter”. The kids began asking yes or no questions to deduce what kind of material he had in mind, but the final answer was elusive: Stone? No. Wood? No. Glass…? No.

And the game went on and on.

Finally, after travelling about 30 kilometres on their journey, 8-year-old János came up with a novel idea.

“Could it be light?” – he asked. 

“Yes,” answered his father, who began to explain to his kids the properties of light – and maybe, just maybe, that’s when he planted a seed in his son János’s head for things that were to come in his life: a deep fascination with light and lighting.

János Héder co-founder of Manooi


The essence of creation

“As I see it, light is magic,” explains János. “If we consider from where we acquire our understanding of the universe, it emanates predominantly from light and this is somehow an ancestral mystery. Light appears at the very beginning, according to the Bible – i.e. ‘let there be light!’ So this is the foremost act – the first creation: LIGHT.”

He observes that if a film wants to portray anything to do with the spirit, creativity or the creation – any kind of wonder – it is shown as light, so in practice these are all the same. “It’s the essence of creation.”


Lightening up everyone’s mood

Decades after the 20 Questions riddle, János, who had studied interior design, and his wife, Judit, who studied ceramics, would start their unique enterprise, Manooi, which designs spectacular chandeliers that bring indoor spaces to life, enlivening those who witness them – their objectives as part of their creative process.

“Light, in and of itself, beyond the fact that it’s total magic, completely determines our mood,” he explains. “People are mainly influenced by the quality and conditions of light. Good lighting, which is carefully chosen and comfortable in practice, is a guarantee that a person will feel good.”

Why does good lighting matter? János recalls a recent visit that he and Judit made to a fine dining establishment, where the lighting had a less-than-desirable effect.

He explains, “We sat there and it was apparent that every aspect of the restaurant had been carefully chosen, but the lighting was a bust – it was in the wrong place and it was too bright, even the colour temperature was off – and it cut our enjoyment of the dining experience by half.”

Proper lighting, he says, can exponentially change such experiences. “It contributes positively,” he adds, “that’s obvious.”


Aiming for the stars

As for what it feels like to manipulate this powerful force called light as an interior designer, János thinks back to his hobby of stargazing. He says that he has built several telescopes and wanted to be an astronomer at one time.

“Everyone’s heard about it before, that that light that you see through your telescope has been travelling for billions of years at a certain speed and it arrives exactly where you’re standing. That spectacle gives a person the feeling that he/she is really alive in an enormous universe in which we are all trying to find our place.”

But looking up into the starry night did not make János feel insignificant at all.

He recalls, “No one ever told me that ‘I’m a tiny speck of dust in a cold-hearted universe’; exactly the opposite, that to the extent that I am a part of the universal game and I can possess the universe – it’s as much mine as it is yours and belongs to everyone.”


Light manipulation as a higher art

Properly arranging and treating light, both natural and artificial, in any interior design project is one of the primary building blocks of any project, he says.

“In the beginning there’s just a virtual space in which we arrange the sources of light and then the solid elements come into the picture. The space offers the possibilities, the light gives it life and all of the material things that come in later just serve those initial elements of the project,” explains János.

According to him, and in line with his ambitions, arranging light in the proper way – which he believes is poetic – is one of the greatest impacts one can make. 

“It’s a bit of a higher art than let’s say crafting a material; light is also a material but it’s the least matter-like material, and crystal, in and of itself, is similar because we don’t see it as material but as something that refracts light.”

Yes, decades later, János Héder is still thinking, and knows all of the answers, about light.


Stay tuned for more stories and insights from the team at Manooi!


Louvre Casa is a pioneer in the field of high-end home art. The company takes “promote the Chinese furniture to the world, bring the world furniture into China” as their responsibility, aims to create a more high-end, high-quality lifestyle for people. It is the first to introduce European imported furniture in China for persons with unique taste; at the same time, the Company also involves in the research and development, production, sales of self-owned brands, and extends the business to the whole household top-level customization field.

Louvre Casa with 60,000 square meters of magnificent bearing, has brought together hundreds of European top-class domestic brands, such as Versace Home, Fendi Casa, Bentley Home, Armani, and it is the world’s largest and most complete category of imported home Pavilion, where Manooi is present with a colorful RIO crystal chandelier.

RIO demonstrates the effect of gravity in space, its asymmetry combined with the perfect regularity of the circle. It is the chandelier of choice for those desiring a twist on the everyday symmetrical forms. Either in transparent or colour version RIO will be a very attractive jewellery of your interior. It is suitable for installation on its own or in different sized clusters.


Rio crystal chandelier


Rio crystal chandelier