February 27, 2023

An Open Source Nutcracker

The Nutcracker has been a harbinger of Christmas for some time. In pop culture terms, Tchaikovsky and E.T.A. Hoffmann’s The Nutcracker is as classic as Home Alone (was until a few years ago). 

FabLab Budapest has been allowed to make a vacant Budapest space in its image this year. The proximity of the Academy of Music and the Children’s Library, as well as the Advent period itself, gave them the idea to make the Nutcracker the theme of their installation. If you are in the city, it’s worth taking a detour to the space decorated with figures and furniture in the run-up to the holidays, where you can choose your character, act out the story, or even take a series of Christmas selfies.


The production documentation of the installation is available on FabLab Budapest’s Wikifactory profile. The figures /// sharp-eyed people may have noticed /// are standing on concrete bases from a previous project of FabLab. Part of the concept was to have as many interactive elements as possible hidden in the installation: the Mouse King shakes his mace and shield angrily, snowflakes dance with rotating skirts, and Dosselmeier shows what the gift he has brought for Clara is, but perhaps the most interesting of all, one of the biggest and most decorated elements of the installation: when the Gingerbread House plays a scene from Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker!

2022.12.12. Interaktív térelemek és bútorok a Liszt Ferenc téren

2022.12.12. Interaktív térelemek és bútorok a Liszt Ferenc téren

2022.12.12. Interaktív térelemek és bútorok a Liszt Ferenc téren

In numbers: the eight figures were hand-painted by four people for more than five days, from morning till night, with the help of friends and relatives. (They used exterior wood paints mixed with specific RAL colours on the CNC-milled outdoor plywood parts.) Although graphic design started at the beginning of November, full manufacturing was completed in a week and a half in parallel processes.


The Gingerbread House lookalike is a music box with a belt-driven drum, and each note has a little stick which slaps the hammers to make a sound the metallophone. 

The installation became an instant favourite with the children. The project’s primary aim was to bring a little life to the square, where many restaurants and shops were closed and abandoned during the pandemic. In the gloom of winter, it was possible to bring a touch of colour and a Christmas atmosphere to the area.

Budapest Tuning, a tender of Budapest Brand Plc, supported the project.



Graphic design: Zsófi KEZES, Lídia KECSETI, Dóra SZ?KE

Design for manufacturing and manufacturing process: Domonkos KINCSES, Gáspár ISZLAI, Dániel PÁZMÁN

Art Director: Georgina TÖRÖK

Special thanks to Szilva BAKOS, Réka PALKÓ, Levente KRUPPA and Dávid PAP for helping and supporting the project!


Story by Fab Lab Budapest

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