Inspirational people cause a domino effect. They change the way we think about life, they cause a passionate stir within us to achieve similar goals or encourage us to reflect on our own paths, causing us to take bigger steps to better places. For this reason, we came up with an interview series under the title of ’Inspiring Budapest’ asking the same 12 questions of leading individuals in different industries that are contributing to the everyday growth of culture in Budapest.

We are personally inspired by these people and we are eager to share their stories with you, hoping they will inspire you also. Enjoy! Miss Planner.


NAME: David Merlini

TITLE: Hungarian Escape Artist & Founder of House of Houdini

David was born in 1978 to a distinguished Italian–Hungarian family, his father being Italian and his mother Hungarian. David Merlini’s fascination with magic began at the age of four when he chose to play with locks and handcuffs instead of Lego and action figures.

Through his career, David has performed several high-tech stunts such as being launched in a SCUD missile, embedded in a block of solid concrete then thrown in a river, or frozen with liquid nitrogen.

Awarded Best Escape Artist at the World Magic Awards 2007 in Los Angeles, and holder of several World Records for holding his breath while underwater; David Merlini’s live TV shows broke all current rating records in 2004 and 2005.

Merlini is an avid collector of antique magic items related to Hungarian born Harry Houdini and wishes to present a tribute to the legendary artist with The House of Houdini museum located in the Buda Castle in Budapest.

On the opening week of House of Houdini, we sat down in the mystical drawing room surrounded by Harry Houdini’s relics to interview David Merlini.

#1 Describe what Budapest means to you with 5 words:

  • Inspiring
  • Comfort
  • Home
  • Classy
  • Security

#2 Where do you like to spend time in Budapest for…? 

  • Breakfast: At home! Fresh orange juice and fresh bread is a must and my phone is always switched off to ensure a peaceful time to myself.
  • Dinner: Riso restaurant in the Buda Castle
  • Walk: I love nature and in Budapest I especially like the Chain Bridge area, the Castle district and Andrassy Avenue.
  • Culture: House of Houdini

#3 What aspects do you most enjoy about your job?

Doing something that I love to do. Its not a job, its a passion. Its something I’ve always loved since I was a child. Its my mission, my passion, my way of living. For me a job is something you do for 8 hours a day, being an escape artist is not a job for me, this is what I do full time and its part of who I am.

#4 What was the last photo you took with your phone?

It was a picture of 52 red freedom roses. I order 52 roses from Equador every week and showcase them at House of Houdini to honour Houdini’s memory. The Great Harry Houdini was 52 years old when he died, I was born exactly 52 years later in 1978.

#5 How do you find your inspiration? 

While dreaming.

#6 If you interview someone for a job, what is the one question you always ask?

I don’t ask questions, I let them speak and find the details during the conversation. During the conversation I find out if their character is genuine, this is what I’m most interested in.

#7 What one piece of wisdom would you give to the world?

Be kind.

#8 What is your favorite word and why? Least favourite?

Favourite: Privilege

Least favourite: Now

#9 Best Compliment you have ever received?

It was a nice look from a small black kitten 2 days ago.

#10 What inspired you to become an escape artist?

When I was a little, I started to collect padlocks and it was all I was interested in. When I grew up, the padlocks transformed into Faber cannonball safes.

#11 Where do you see your industry in 10 years?


#12 Lastly, what’s your relationship with “túró”, the Hungarian cottage cheese?

I love it!