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From Home Furnishing Business

ASID Founding Member, Interior Designer, Arto Szabó Dies

Arto Olavi Szabó, long-time resident of Greenwich, Connecticut, and current resident of Sarasota, Florida, passed away on July 23. He was 83 years old.

Born in Pécs, Hungary, Arto attended the Hungarian Film Studios, Budapest from 1954 – 1955 before attending the Applied Arts College from 1955 – 1956. In 1956, with the Russian army occupying his mother country and viciously suppressing the Revolution for freedom, he bravely decided to flee Communism leaving behind his family. Landing in London, he emigrated to Canada ultimately landing the United States. He finished his schooling by attending the Parsons School of Design in NYC, graduating with honors in Interior Design in 1960.

Arto met his future wife, Ella Kovács, in NYC at the Hungarian Reformed Church, where they married in 1962. Soon thereafter, they moved to Greenwich, Conn. He founded Arto Szabó Associates and worked as a furniture and interior designer until retirement in 2007.

He was a member of American Society of Interior Designers, as well as a founding member of the American Society of Furniture Designers (ASFD), helping lay ASFD’s groundwork, infrastructure and constitution. From 1983 – 1985, he served as chairman of the North Atlantic Chapter. From 1983 – 1994 he was the publisher and editor of the Chapter Forum, the ASFD’s quarterly publication. He served on ASFD’s national board of directors several times, as well as ASFD’s President from 1994 – 1995. In 1996, he helped establish the Pinnacle Awards, recognizing contributions in the home furnishings industry, of which he was later honored with a Pinnacle design achievement award. He served as Treasurer of ASFD from 1996 – 2013. On October 17, 2006, he was honored by the ASFD with the “Outstanding Member Service Award" for his invaluable contributions, continuous loyalty and leadership to the organization since its inception in 1981.

Avid photographer and painter, Arto loved tennis, skiing and travel and had a keen appreciation for classical music. Les Beaux Arts Gallery, in Greenwich, held several solo exhibits of his work.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests that gifts in Arto’s honor be made to The Greenwich Symphony via check/mail. Please include your name, address, email and “In Honor of Arto Szabó” in the memo line, made out to Greenwich Symphony, P.O. Box 35, Greenwich, CT,  06836, or online at

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