Ernő Rubik

Professor, architect, designer

My message

  • You need to have the courage to get off the beaten track, and you shouldn’t give up to find your own path.
  • My favourite cocktail is what is mixed of Beauty and Truth  – I name it Harmony.


What is most precious for me – the importance of creativity

  • There’s a necessity to find out and to formulate the original questions for finding the real answers: the new truth.
  • Never forget to ask yourself: Am I right?
  • Never forget to forget, throw out the ballast, fly high!


Milestones in my life

Who influenced me – family members
My father, Ernő Rubik Sr. (1910 – 1997) was an engineer, designing gliders during his whole life with great enthusiasm. Due to his devotion to work he became No.1. in his profession in Hungary. His knowledge of his subject earned him an international reputation too. I frequently see his planes flying in the sky while with my beloved wife, we take the dogs for a long walk to the nearby forest of Budapest. Beside him I learned a lot about work in the sense of a value-creating process which has a target, and a positive result too. Both figuratively and literally he was a person capable of 'moving a hill‘. There was nothing that could prevent him from doing what he decided or bringing a project to a completion, if necessary even with his own hands. No work was unworthy or undeserving for him.

Nowadays I would call my father a 'designer‘ – an expression which did not exist in Hungary back then. He was able to understand and represent the demands and the requirements of the manufacturer as well as the user.

Teachers and other outstanding personalities
There are a number of exceptional artists from various fields of art who exerted a great influence over me through their work. The ones closest to me are the following:

Leonardo da Vinci (the Renaissance man),
Michelangelo (also a polymath, painter, sculptor, architect etc.),
Benvenuto Cellini (goldsmith, painter, sculptor),
Maurits Cornelius Escher (artist, impossible constructions, explorations of infinity),

Voltaire (writer and philosopher, Candide: Or, Optimism),
Stendhal (writer, On Love)
Thomas Mann (novelist, critic, Mario and the Magician)
Jean-Paul Sartre (philosoper and novelist, Words)
Attila József (an outstanding Hungarian poet)

Jules Verne  (pioneer of sci-fi, The Mysterious Island)
Isaac Asimov (another writer of sci-fi, Foundation Series)

Frank Lloyd Wright (architect, Fallingwater House)
Le Corbusier (architect, the Modulor)

Decisive experiences and events which shaped the path of my life
Schools offered me the opportunity to acquire knowledge of subjects or rather crafts that need a lot of practice, persistence and diligence with the direction of a mentor.

I studied sculpture at the Secondary School of Fine and Applied Arts, then went on to the faculty of architecture at the Hungarian University of Technology, finally to the faculty of interior architecture and furniture design at the Hungarian University of Applied Arts (today: Moholy-Nagy University of Arts and Design).

Learning subjects, that were interesting, has always been easy for me and I had never done it for the sake of putting a tick next to the ‘box of accomplished things’. Learning gave me joy and I found fulfilment in every moment I spent with it. No wonder that I started teaching immediately after graduation. In other words I continued learning in another way. Teaching architecture and giving lectures on form studies gave me the possibility for research, and kept me stimulated for a better performance and it gave me the drive for the search of new possibilities.

Memorable events:

  • The birth of the Cube (1974)
  • American Toy Fair in NY  (1980) – first occasion to travel behind the Iron Curtain
  • The first World Championship of the Cube (Budapest, 1982)
  • Cooperation with programmers on Visual Geometric Description Language (GDL) (1995–97) Graphisoft Co., on computer games (1996) Androsoft Co.
  • I retired in 2004 (in legal terms) but I continue doing the same things as before.
  • World Championship of the Cube (Budapest, 2007)

What I like to do –  role of cultural and leisure activities

I indulged myself in books from the moment I learnt to read and I became a passionate reader.  Books offered me the possibility of gaining knowledge of the World, Nature and People. I have a special interest in science fiction and as a result I have a 'small‘ collection of books and magazines in this topic.

In the elementary school my favourite subject was maths, especially geometry, because for me it was not necessary to learn, it was enough to understand and use. I remember that I was spending many hours solving maths problems not as a homework but for fun.

I have always loved outdoor activities: discovering nature, doing sports, playing table tennis, sailing on the Lake Balaton, skiing.
At present gardening, collecting succulents are my favourite pastime.

My relationship to other people – entrepreneurship, leadership
György Szrogh (architect, 1915-1999) was my mentor – first as a professor, later as a colleague – at the Hungarian Academy of Applied Arts (today Moholy-Nagy University of Arts and Design) from whom I learnt the most about the humane content of architecture.

With Tom Kremer, founder and director of Seven Towns Ltd., London, we have become friends during the past 30 years. He was the person who introduced me to the (at that time) alien and strange world of toy business, whose excellence in the toy field was crucial for me back in the 1980s.

In 1982 I have founded the Rubik Scholarship Foundation, which gives financial assistance to young Hungarian designers for their studies abroad.
I am also founder of the Rubik Innovation Foundation (1982), which financially helps Hungarian citizens to accomplish their ideas, realise their inventions.
Later, in 1983, I have founded my company the Rubik Studio Ltd., and since then I am its managing director. 
In 1987 I became Professor of Honor at the Hungarian Academy of Applied Arts.
In 1990 I took part in founding  the Hungarian Academy of Engineering, of which I am the Honorary President.
I am co-founder and managing director of A&D Studio Ltd. (1990-)
I am also co-founder of the Palace of Miracles (scientific playhouse), Budapest (1994)
Doctor honoris causa (1996) University of Technology, Budapest
Doctor honoris causa, Honorary Master (1997) of Moholy-Nagy University of Arts and Design


My  major achievements

I have received prizes and awards that I am proud of. I regard them as evidences of people receiving, understanding and evaluating my messages. However, when I consider my fundamental achievement, it is as simple as this: I am close to know who I am.

  • Budapest International Trade Fair, Prize for the Cube (1978)
  • Toy of the Year (1980)
    • Federal Republic of Germany,
    • United Kingdom,
    • France,
    • USA
  • Toy of the Year (1981)
    • Finland,
    • Sweden,
    • Italy
  • Toy of the Year (1982) in the United Kingdom (second time)
  • The Museum of Modern Art, New York selected my Cube into its permanent collection (1982)
  • State Prize (1983) for demonstrating and teaching 3D structures and for the various solutions that inspired scientific researches in several ways
  • Juvenile Prize (1988) from the State Office of Youth and Sport
  • Dénes Gabor Prize (1995) from the Novofer Foundation as an acknowledgement of achievements in the field of innovation
  • Ányos Jedlik Prize (1996) from the Hungarian Patent Office
  • Prize for the Reputation of Hungary (1997)
  • Kossuth Prize (2007) – the most prestigious cultural award in Hungary

Moholy-Nagy Prize (2008) – from the Moholy-Nagy University of Arts and Design


My publications

Editor and co-author of ‘A bűvös kocka’ (The Magic Cube), Műszaki Kiadó, Budapest,1981
Co-author of The Rubik’s Cube Compendium (written by David Singmaster, Ernő Rubik, Gerzson Kéri, György Marx, Tamás Varga and Tamás Vekerdy), Oxford University Press, 1987



Address: Rubik Studio Kft.
1525 Budapest
PO Box. 13.


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Logo: European Year of Creativity and Innovation 2009
Ernő Rubik

Ernő Rubik