MAGAZINE OF FINE IDEAS
№ 10 SPRING 2014 COLLECTOR'S EDITION
CONTRASTS COLLECTOR'S EDITION 10
COLLECTOR'S COVER BY JEAN-MARIE MONTHIERS
www.bonaldo.it Big Table design Alain Gilles
Customised Danish design handmade in Denmark. Winner of numerous international design awards. LINDBERG n.o.w. frames combine remarkably thin composite fronts with ultra-lightweight titanium temples, resulting in a minimalist design that only weighs 2.3 grams. They’re so light you hardly know you’re wearing them. The frame is handmade and non-allergenic. The special composite material features transparent polished colour gradients, as well as distinctive groove colours – supplementing or contrasting the ultra-slim titanium plate or wire temples. It’s the wearer’s choice.
Specially developed composite fronts only 2 mm thick.
Screwless hinges that do away with floppiness and adjustment.
Ultra-light titanium temples – extremely flexible yet retain their shape.
4 different nose pad designs, made of skin-friendly medical silicone. DESIGNALIVE.PL
By Appointment to The Royal Danish Court
6 CONTENTS BACKPACK say a word and it becomes a bookshelf, or is it a bookshelf which you can take on a trip? See also p. 52. Adidas by Tom Dixon, EUR 250, www.adidas.pl
12 NEWSLETTER for a good start
34 KRYSTYNA ŁUCZAK– SURÓWKA Selection The Grandma's Boomerang 109 GRZEGORZ KWAPNIEWSKI Butcher writes about the lamb shoulder blade
48 Misleading do not be fooled 68 Hong Kong by the things 110 MUST HAVE Sewing Queens selected by Klara Kowtun and Antonina Samecka
82 Meiré und Meire culturally engaged 88 Bent beauty rediscovered by Tomek Rygalik 94 The model man Bogdan Kosak
36 The value of lack shelter by the river 40 Guests of the desert movie house 54 The price of ZEN The Upper House Hotel in Hong Kong 70 The termite mound faces of the vertical city
LIFESTYLE 103 Nurturing the chaos Piet Oudolf talking with nature
ART 76 The cabinet of curiosities by Madame Peripetie 80 Doing fine! Polish contemporary art 85 The descendants of Roman baths captured by Franck Bohbot
EVENTS 92 Polish Job just taste it in Milan 112 TRENDBOOK Carbon footprint of a flight Reality software
PHOTO: MARIUSZ GRUSZKA ULTRABRAND
ARCHITECTURE & PLACES
8 EDITORIAL Hong Kong December 2013
This place is equally fascinating as it is horrifying: heaven and hell rolled into one. Certainly, though, it is never boring… The time has come to wake up for the spring and introduce some contrast to the way of thinking. We will play with you a bit. We will show you places, phenomena, people and ideas that are clearcut, unambiguous and mutually contrastive. Some of them will be polarized, while others separated by only a thin line.
PHOTO: MARIUSZ GRUSZKA
Life is a palette of grey shades, nuances and fluid transitions: this wisdom cannot be undermined. We flow through greyness day by day. Still, we sometimes realize that we do not realize where we actually flow. Where is the top and where is the bottom? It is time to search for simple and concrete answers. We radically extract black and white from grey, polarize it and examine our conscience. We gain focus to start swimming in the right direction and plunge into the safe greyness of life again. Contrasts, far ends, extremities. We need them at times, though they have been labelled ‘incorrect.’ While preparing this issue we became fascinated with Hong Kong, which seems to be made of extremities in its structure, society, architecture and history. Moreover, owing to extreme density, the borderline separating the extremities is incredibly thin. Some people only need one step to pass it, while for others it is impassable. Why? They come from two extremely different worlds, though their address is the same.
Michael Wolf a photographer He comes from Munich but was brought up in Canada, the USA and European cities. Since 1994 he has lived in Hong Kong, where he worked as a reporter for the German magazine Stern for eight years. Since he became a freelancer, he has won the main World Press Photo award twice and his works have been shown on three continents and included in the collections of museums such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. His work documents the life of giant cities – dense and brutal. Wolf’s style emerged from reportage, but, freed from the lyrical drama of classical documentary photos, it became art. His photos are coldly detached from the object and the photographer’s presence is barely perceptible. In this issue we present one of his most important series, ‘Architecture of Density’ – a realistic portrait of Hong Kong, one of world’s highest cities. Page 70. www.photomichaelwolf.com
Sylwana Zybura a photographer
PHOTOS: THE AUTHORS' ARCHIVES
She comes from Poland, but has spent most of her life in Germany. Despite that fact, she opened her own studio in London and hid under the pseudonym of Madame Peripetie. She has received numerous awards at international competitions at festivals, i.a. International Photography Awards (IPA), Prix de la Photographie (Px3) and The Focus Award. As she draws her inspiration from surrealistic philosophy, collage, pop culture and avant-garde theatre, the combination of fashion and design is common in her photographs. She has worked for brands such as Canon, Le Monde, Swarovski, Stella Magazine and Germany’s Glamour. In this issue we present the surrealistic characters from her newest series entitled Dream Sequence. Page 76. www.madameperipetie.com
Franck Bohbot a photographer Born in 1980 in Longjumeau, France, he began his career as an assistant and then a session photographer. Since 2008 he has photographed almost exclusively urban landscapes, in which he finds much more than atmospheric views. His photos, documenting public spaces without people, draw the attention to what usually escapes our notice. The ideal symmetry present in the pictures makes the well-known worlds almost unreal. In this issue we publish a series of photographs of swimming pools, whose beauty stems from endearing simplicity and unexpected harmony. Page 85. www.franckbohbot.com
MAGAZINE OF FINE IDEAS
№ 10 SPRING 2014
CONTRASTS COLLECTOR'S EDITION 10
COLLECTOR'S COVER BY JEAN-MARIE MONTHIERS
COLLECTOR'S COVER Contrasts of Morocco captured by Jean-Marie Monthiers. See more on p. 40
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PHOTO: JEAN-MARIE MONTHIERS
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A CITY DRESS
In a recently held edition of the prestigious Jameel Prize 3 contest organized by Victoria & Albert Museum in London, the winner was ‘Istanbul Contrast’, a collection of clothes created by Dice Kayek studio. It is run by a creative duet of sisters – Ece and Ayşe Ege who are Turkish but work with their team in Paris. Here, in the capital of fashion, the Ege sisters created a collection which expresses the spirit, vitality and creativity of the Islamic tradition of Istanbul. ‘Istanbul Contrast’ was chosen as the best out of 270 contest applications. The jury appreciated i.a. the use of architectural motifs and patterns in the collection. In interviews, the Ege sisters have frequently highlighted their attachment to tradition and the inspiration with the architectural heritage of Istanbul. This very heritage is reflected in the collection, which contains motifs from such buildings as the Blue Mosque, Hagia Sophia or the Dolmabahçe and Topkapi palaces. www.dicekayek.com Anna Borecka
PHOTO: STUDIO DICE KAYEK
THE EGE SISTERS, ARCHITECTURE AND FASHION
Success doesn’t come by chance Keeping abreast To find the latest trends, don’t search in trade magazines or boutique windows – try crossing the boundaries of convention instead.
We make decors successful. DESIGNALIVE.PL
SILENT BEAUTY The new Swedish brand creates sound-absorbing wall panels. Its products are aimed at convincing the users that construction materials should be incredibly beautiful, not only functional. These are the features of their latest collection named Baux Tr채ullit, which includes six geometrical variants of sound-absorbing panels. Patterns created from them fit a wide range of places such as residential, industrial and public utility rooms. The Swedish panels also save a lot of energy and diminish the environmental influence. They are made of natural raw materials (wood, water and cement). Beside five colour sets you can also get a version with magnets to be used on a wall covered with thin sheet metal. Bored with the pattern? Simply change it. www.baux.se Jarda Ruszczyc
PHOTOS: COURTESY OF BAUX, LOEK BLONK
THE TRUTH ABOUT AFRICA
ON FABRICS BY STUDIO JOB
When Vlisco, a Dutch textile brand, began the collaboration with famous designers, the first to go to the front line were those from Studio Job. This company is a very interesting case: virtually unknown in its home country, it is one of the most recognizable textile firms in… west Africa. For more than 160 years, it has manufactured printed fabrics which reach millions of African users. From time to time, it prepares limited editions, but they are not intended for just a handful of chosen ones. The limited fabric pattern by Studio Job is called ‘L’Afrique’ and is suitable as an upholstery for sofas and armchairs, a fabric for curtains or a material for pillowcases. As usual at Studio Job, the pattern is iconoclastic: it shows the sad truth of the extremities found in the Black Land, skilfully combining ethnic motifs with symbols of ‘dirty’ civilization. Limited edition. www.studiojob.be, www.vlisco.com Marcin Mońka
THE RETURN OF THE BULB
Among the numerous craft workshops, few become famous by expressing their individuality. Buster + Punch is a studio opened in London which specializes in creating original objects, from lighting and furniture to motorcycles and leather jackets. The aesthetics of designs by Buster + Punch is inspired by the lifestyle of Harley riders and rock music stars of the 1980s. The offer of the studio includes i.a. bulbs which emit beautiful honey light and imitate those invented by Edison. Prices from GBP 14, www.busterandpunch.com
PHOTO: COURTESY OF BUSTER + PUNCH
DISCOVER AND ENJOY WHAT OTHERS ALREADY RECOGNISE! MORE ON POLISH DESIGN AT CULTURE.PL
The time of boring and useless hangers is over! Ladies and Gentlemen, please welcome Gazel Clothes Hanger. The young Irish brand wants to specialize in home accessories. Recently, they have decided to work on an object without which it is hard to imagine our everyday life. The clothes hanger created in their studio has a beautiful silhouette and is very functional: clothes are easy to put on it and necklines do not get stretched as they do on standard hangers. The Gazel brand is created by designers with extensive experience in engineering, carpentry, multimedia and management – Ronan Murphy and Kevin Doherty. The hangers are available in red and black. GBP 25, www.gazelhome.com, www.95percent.co.uk Anna Borecka
NEW APPLICATIONS OF THE PLANT
Mauricio Affonso, a designer born in Brazil and working in London, searched for new applications of Luffa and thus created a series of innovative products. Owing to collaboration with the local farmer community of Minas Gerais, Brazil, he learned the whole process of cultivating this fast-growing tropical creeper. Luffa, which comes from the same family of plants as cucumber, pumpkin and courgette, is traditionally used to produce bath sponges. Being very durable and yet light, it is also valued for its absorption and antibacterial properties. All this make its range of applications virtually infinite. Using various forms, Affonso made i.a. biodegradable splints for immobilizing broken limbs, acoustic sound-proofing panels or water-cleaning filters. These solutions could be an alternative of the expensive synthetic materials, unavailable to people living in countries with limited access to medical care and technology. www.mauricioaffonso.com Eliza Ziemińska
PHOTOS: ANNE COLIER, COURTESY OF: GAZEL, MAURIZIO ALFONSO, LESUR & VENOT
A CHARMING HANGER
ELLE, ELONIE, HARRY AND JERRY
By combining good design, ergonomics and comfort of use, the French designers Antoine Lesur and Marc Venot created a series of sticks made of wood and aluminium. Each of them expresses a different character, allowing the user to choose a model which best fulfils their expectations concerning appearance and comfort. The series was created to offer sticks both ergonomic and pretty and thus easier to accept by people who need them regardless of age. Made on request. www.antoinelesur.com, www.marc-venot.com Róża Kuncewicz
7 THE ULTIMATE RAF SIMONS FOR KVADRAT NEW FABRICS
Kvadrat is a leading textile brand in Europe. Established in 1968 in Denmark, it consistently follows the features advocated for years: simplicity, vivid colours and innovation. It has collaborated with a wide range of design stars such as Patricia Urquiola, the Bouroullec brothers and David Adjaye. Now the time has come for Raf Simons, who has long been a leading figure in the fashion world. He is known for his bold menswear designs, but for Kvadrat he showed his new self: he designed his first collection of textiles. It was inspired by modernist works of artists like Jean Royère, Pierre Jeanneret and Hans Wegner. This combination of the brand’s experience and Simons’s creativity includes a dozen of shades, weaves and textures, allowing for free selection depending on the intended use. You can choose from 11 fabrics with mysterious names and diversified compositions (flax, cotton, mohair, wool etc.) in a dozen colours. www.kvadratrafsimons.com Angelika Ogrocka
POLITICAL CRITIQUE ON EDUCATION
‘The biggest obstacle in creating a better school is vanity of adults,’ claims Mirosław Dąbrowski, a mathematician, author of many textbooks and co-author of Edukacja [Education], the newest book issued by the Publishing House of Political Critique. The new item in the series concerns the Polish school system reality. How to navigate in the contemporary maze of meanings as a pupil or parent? How much economy, governmental dictatorship and private view of the world is there in education? How to shape the pupils’ minds when their stomachs are often empty? The nearly 400-page book features many more questions. The authors do not analyze the contemporary school system with calculators in hands because they are convinced that the investment in education is the best investment in the future. They dream of schools without inequalities, segregation, sick rat race or rankings. They urge the adults to let children think and create, focusing on talents instead of drawbacks. The basic issue is not to kill the children’s ability to see a multitude of solutions – a natural, innate sense systematically lost at school. How can we change that? This question is faced by i.a. Anna Dzierzgowska, Henry Jenkins, Magdalena Kaszulanis, Marta Konarzewska, Piotr Laskowski, Kaja Malanowska, Przemysław Sadura and Mikołaj Herbst. Wydawnictwo Krytyki Politycznej, PLN 34.90, www.krytykapolityczna.pl Marcin Mońka
ARCHITECTURE OF THE MOVIES NEW FILM POSTERS
Archicine is a series of photos showing recognizable and virtually iconic buildings featured in movies like Dogville by Lars von Trier or A Single Man by Tom Ford. Federico Babina, an Italian illustrator, used scenarios and photos of the sets to recreate the probable appearance of buildings which often became something more than just a background for the story: they were an important element giving the whole movie more character. www.federicobabina.com
THE NIGHTMARE OF PARTICIPATION The book The Nightmare of Participation by Markus Miessen, a German architect and writer, forces the reader to think of acting in a community. It may not be a true revolution, but it seems an announcement of one. The way of thinking that we adopted not so long ago and that we still advocate might be turned 180 degrees, if not upside down. In this incredible compendium, Miessen undermines all our convictions promoting the advantages of participation. He is bold and very courageous as he puts forward theses which may prove unacceptable in contemporary Poland. His book is not only to be read, but first of all deeply thought over. It is not an architectural manifesto, but it invites everyone to a profound discussion. ‘The participation wheels are most effective when understood as a proactive phenomenon and not as obligatory democratic grassroots processes. Participation must be concrete, not universal,’ Miessen writes. What if participation is a giant fraud into which we have all been dragged? Publisher: Fundacja Nowej Kultury Bęc Zmiana, PLN 32, www.beczmiana.pl Marcin Mońka
PHOTOS: COURTESY OF: BĘC ZMIANA, FEDERICO BABINA, KRYTYKA POLITYCZNA
NOT YET A REVOLUTION, BUT…
TO FINISH THE WORK
Charlotte Perriand (1903–1999), a modernist designer and architect, was one of Louis Vuitton muses. Other personalities include Francoise Sagan and Catherine Deneuve, who were connected with the French brand one way or another, e.g. by inspiring its designers. It is hard to believe, but Perriand was one of the first women dealing with architecture and design; her activity spanned as much as six decades of the 20th century. Recently, Louis Vuitton has chosen her not only as a patron of its Icônes spring/summer 2014 collection, but also as the main character of a presentation shown during the December edition of Miami Art Week. The event hosted ‘La Maison au Bord de l’Eau,’ Perriand’s design never carried out before. The idea had been created in 1934 as an application for a competition held by L’Architecture d’Aujourd’hui magazine. It was a design of a holiday house affordable for working masses. After 80 years, Perriand’s dream finally came true: the house by the water was erected towards the end of the year on South Beach nearby Raleigh Hotel. It was a 100 sq. m house built using wood and steel, with two rooms and a kitchen. www.louisvuitton.com Jarda Ruszczyc
13 THE HEART OF A GARDEN RYAN ACCORDING TO STARCK
Imagine that a garden or terrace is a room where sky is the ceiling, trees form the walls, grass makes a carpet... and comfortable sofas complement the image. This is the way that, inspired by the paradoxical and diversified poetry of surrealism, Philippe Starck describes the modular garden furniture called Ryan which he designed for Dedon. ‘Ryan is supposed to bring joy to everyone around, not just to those who lounge,’ the designer states. The result is an original combination of textures and colours which allows the furniture to be used outside, inside or… somewhere in between! The system features modular sofas, chaise longues, deckchairs and tables. Price: from EUR 1,530, www.dedon.de Agnieszka Król DESIGNALIVE.PL
THE FUNCTION OF BEAUTY A heartily arranged table is the best invitation. In maintaining good interpersonal relationships, we are greatly supported by the Sieger by Fürstenberg brand created by Sieger Design studio and a valued porcelain producer – Manufacture Fürstenberg. A new collection called My China! Ca’ d’Oro, a successor of earlier sets such as Wunderkammer, Emperor’s Garden or Treasure, has just been released on the market. A successful symbiosis of functionality, passion and beauty is expressed by highest-quality porcelain of unrivalled lightness and durability. Thin walls (sometimes measuring only 2.5 mm) are covered with geometrical patterns and decorated with 24 carat gold. All elements of the service are hand made in the German plant. The set depicts beauty, versatility and changeability. In this collection, full of contrasts and inspired with geometry and architecture, there is no place for coincidence: the elements complement, match and support one another day by day, during each meal. They form surprising sets to last for a moment or forever. Just like we remain in permanent or temporary relationships, the objects are joined by bonds for a short or long while… or for all time. www.sieger.com Anna Borecka
PHOTO: JOERG GROSSE GELDERMANN, COURTESY OF SIEGER BY FÜRTENBERG
WHEN WE INVITE FAMILY OR FRIENDS TO DINE WITH US, WE DO NOT NEED MANY WORDS
THE CHOREOGRAPHY OF ARCHITECTURE A MOBILE STAGE DESIGN
A mobile stage design has a tremendous influence on the dancers – you can witness it in one of the new performances in the Göteborg Opera. The theatre also frequently tries to convince us that architecture makes sense only when it is moving. Richard Siegal, an American choreographer, and Didier Faustino, an avant-garde French architect, together with their team, conducted an interesting experiment: they created The World to the Darkness and to Me (with music by Lorenzo Bianchi Hoesch). In this performance, one of the lead roles is played by stage design: inflated pillows and a special carpet made of metal pieces. The elements can be manipulated to create e.g. complex geometrical forms subjected to various changes. It turned out that architecture had an enormous influence on the movement on stage. ‘A performance is a kind of experiment with movement, time and the possibilities of generating new architectural knowledge,’ Faustino declares. The most important question posed by the authors is: In what interactions with the surrounding space do we engage and what are our behaviours during a change? www.opera.se
PHOTOS: COURTESY OF: NIXON, GÖTEBORG OPERA HOUSE
TIME FOR THE CLASSICS THE PLASTIC NIXON
Nixon Time Teller watches observe the deadline even if nobody seems to be in a hurry. Nixon needs no introduction: its inventions (not only the classic ones) are fastened around millions of wrists worldwide. If time is relative, do you still need to be punctual? – this is the question posed by the brand as it invites us to familiarize ourselves with Time Teller Acetate models. These watches are equipped with a threehand Japanese quartz movement enclosed in one of several versions of a plastic case. They come in a few traditional and unexpected colours. Price: approx. GBP 130, www.nixon.com Jarda Ruszczyc
26 NEWSLETTER DZIAŁ
THE CITY GLITTER
A ring that never fades like the city lights of New York. Inspired with the timeless gleam of diamonds and the enchanting beauty of world metropolises, Mateusz Madelski designed a new exclusive object for the YES brand. The unique construction makes the stones shine stronger than ever as the diamond set shoulders give the central diamond incredible glitter. Design: Mateusz Madelski. Price: from PLN 3,695, www.yes.pl Agnieszka Król
The list of human inspirations seems endless. Stimulants, narcotics and hormones have just had a spectacular entrance to the world of jewellery: Designer Drugs are necklaces depicting structural formulas of creative substances, so to say. The collection, created by the Canadian studio Aroha Silhouettes, includes six formulas, from those of illegal substances such as LSD, through stimulants like caffeine and nicotine to hormones naturally produced by our bodies. ‘The collection is a sort of an experiment and working on it resembled playing with puzzles. We searched for the best formulas and yet tried to join their molecules in a way pleasant for the eye,’ says Tania Hennessy, a co-author. Our favourite is a simple necklace with the formula of serotonin – the hormone of happiness. The necklaces are made of stainless steel. Price: from USD 50, www.arohasilhouettes.com
Subtle patterns of Foliates jewellery were designed based on the observation of nature and carried out by combining 3D printing, wax casting and laser forming of metal. Ross Lovegrove, a British designer, created six patterns of rings, each of them manufactured in only ten copies. The leitmotif of the collection is leaves, delicately entwined around the fingers and thus establishing a sensual bond between the jewellery and the hand. Once again, the designer defended his title of ‘Captain Organic.’ www.rosslovegrove.com
MUSIC IN YOUR GRASP
The Danes from Bang & Olufsen have long been famous for their unique audio equipment. In the miniaturization era, their characteristic and inimitable style remains recognizable. Take BeoSound Essence – just a gadget for some people and another convenience in managing the music equipment for others, it is simply a two-part system allowing for control of the available sound sources and the audio device. The set consists of a mediabox (which can connect to services such as Spotify) and a control knob resembling that of a… potentiometer. The inconspicuous object, which can be put on a table or hung on the wall, lets you turn on all your audio devices, adjust the volume or select favourite playlists, easily managing all the music resources around. Approx. USD 1,000, www.bang-olufsen.com
PHOTOS: SMOOL, SØREN KROGH, MERRILD PHOTOGRAPHY
UPHOLSTERED TELEVISION BY SMOOL
Watching TV can be considered a social phenomenon today: it is loved by some and contested by others. Despite those extreme attitudes, the number of channels has increased four times in the last 20 years, but the television sets look virtually the same; the only difference is their slimmer shape. They are usually a piece of tough black plastic which dominates our rooms. Homedia is a conceptual design created by Robert Bronwasser at the Dutch company Smool. By combining technology with cosy, soft covering, it says goodbye to the traditional form. Starting today, you can also choose the upholstery colour for your television. www.smool.nl Eliza ZiemiĹ„ska
A VASE IN THE LAPEL
This miniature vase was designed by Omer Polak from Israel. Made of glass and bronze, it allows for decorating the breast pocket with real flowers depending on the occasion and mood. It is pleasant to the eye and lets you experience flower scent in a truly direct way. ‘It is perfect for weddings and other special occasions,’ the designer declares. Price: USD 25, www.omerpolak.com
A DELUXE ROLLING PIN
THE TUNING OF THE KITCHEN CLASSIC
The production of these new rolling pins is based on laser cutting of patterns in a solid wood piece. This way, traditional techniques and craft are combined with digital technology. On the one hand, you can shape the dough using Rollware, while on the other, the creators collaborating with Piet Zwart Institute in Rotterdam (Joanne Choueiri, Giulia Cosenza and Povilas Raskevicius) go a step further: they offer dishes formed from bread dough. After baking them we get finished plates, which can be eaten after the lunch proper. The object is equipped with replaceable covers of various shapes which roll the dough, cut the shape and finally leave a pattern on it. Price: not set, www.wdka.nl Marcin Mońka
PHOTOS: COURTESY OF: OMER POLAK, WDKA, MICHIEL MARTENS
24 EAT YOUR PLATE
THE NEW LOOK OF TABLEWARE
Mix two bananas, a glass of potato flour, ¾ of glass of rice flour or rice, a tablespoon of oil and a glass of warm water. Shape the dough and bake for an hour in an oven heated to 200 degrees. This is the shortest recipe for your own dishes. Three students of the Academy of Fine Arts (ASP) in Warsaw, Martyna Ochojska, Dominika Wysogląd and Joanna Jurga, decided to shape pro-ecological attitudes in children as part of a workshop. Thus, they invented biodegradable edible dishes. The first ones were rather... tough, but after many attempts of combining various products, the ladies developed the final ingredients and quantities. Now the set smells fantastic, tastes great and can look whatever you want it to look like. By adding appropriate edible ingredients such as carrot, pumpkin, curcuma, spirulina, beetroot or citrus fruit, you can prepare your own coloured set. In turn, a bit of creativity allows you to produce plates and bowls of various shapes. www.facebook.com/zestawzestaw. Angelika Ogrocka
NO AXE REQUIRED
THE NEW CONSTRUCTION OF A STOVE
Spruce Stove is heated with i.a. spruce wood. It was invented by two Dutch designers: Roel de Boer and Michiel Martens. Unlike classic stoves, this one can be fed with whole trunks without cutting them into pieces. The furnace is closed with an adjustable aperture which wraps around the wood piece so that the part being burned remains protected all the time. Adding wood to the furnace consists in… pushing the trunk. The designers claim that burning long wood pieces is more effective, less time-consuming and, last but not least, more atmospheric. But why on earth don’t they mention space requirements? Available on request. www.sprucestove.com, michielmartens.com Marcin Mońka
TOURIST INFORMATION INSPIRING MAPS
The graphic studio Khuan+Ktron, known for characteristic colourful illustrations, specializes in designing... almost everything, from infographics to magazine covers. Their recognizable style combines elements of pop culture with a subtle retro touch. They became famous owing to a series of maps presenting popular holiday destinations. Each map was prepared with a sense of humour, amusingly exaggerating features and stereotypes concerning a given country. www.khuan-ktron.com R贸偶a Kuncewicz
34 KRYSTYNA ŁUCZAK–SURÓWKA SELECTION
THE GRANDMA’S BOOMERANG They say that we inherit most in every generation. Two generations are like a border and bridge at the same time – both in life and our aesthetic preferences. History confirms a certain regularity: after about half a century we discover anew the beauty of what witnessed our grandparents’ youth. When the period of youthful rebellion ends, we often become fascinated with the past because the borderline between the alternative and the mainstream tends to be very thin
have known the armchair designed by Roman Modzelewski for over a decade. It was love at first sight and I have written about it many times. Five years ago I sent it for a prestigious exhibition in London and thus it was included in the permanent display of the Victoria & Albert Museum. It was created in 1958, despite the lack of access to plastics and lack of interest of the Polish industry in the technology already used abroad for mass production. Modzelewski made subsequent seats by himself on a special form, using the polyester-glass laminate (initially epoxy resin) and fixed each of them on the metal structure of the legs. I have owned one of those armchairs (a red one) for years. What is so special about it? It surprises the viewer with a fully closed organic seat form, innovative at that time. The technology of the 1950s only allowed for one-layer finishing of the surface, hence the plastic models were made of one sheet, finished and varnished on the side intended to contact the human body. Modzelewski created a piece of furniture and a sculpture rolled into one, a visually attractive and comfortable object, at the same time avoiding the imperfections of the material (the rough surface of the glass mat is hidden inside). An artist’s eye and a DESIGNALIVE.PL
*A historian and design critic, a lecturer at The Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw and a specialist in Polish design. Visit her blog at designby.pl
designer’s mind worked together here. In communist Poland, designers had to cope with many difficulties; many of them created objects on their own. Those who succeeded in implementing a designed pattern often remain unknown. One such pattern is the lamp from the Zootechnic Equipment Plant (ZSZ) in Cracow. An asymmetric metal structure, legs ended with balls (an atom motif, also referred to as the cherry style), a palette-shaped table, a conical shade – the essence of the post-thaw modernity. I have seen quite a few of those lamps on the secondary market and they always aroused interest due to their appearance and producer. The latter one does not surprise me, though, because similar plants often carried out mass production of equipment with metal structure: their activity type guaranteed them access to the raw material. I remember the presence of similar forms in my grandma’s home, but this is not the reason that I call the return to the aesthetics from two generations back the grandma’s boomerang. We do not travel in time: we only catch a boomerang once thrown and now returning to us in entirely new circumstances. The time it spent in the air was the time we needed to acquire objectivism and see value in what passed.
PORTRAIT: RAFAŁ PLACEK
BY: KRYSTYNA ŁUCZAK-SURÓWKA PHD* PHOTO: JAN LUTYK
35 The red armchair is the original version made of the polyester-glass laminate. Modzelewski’s design, labelled RM 58, has been implemented in production by the Vzór brand, which aims at bringing the Polish design classics back to life. It is my pleasure to participate in its creation. Next to the armchair: the lamp by an unknown designer, produced in the Zootechnic Equipment Plant (ZSZ) in Cracow in the late 1950s
THE VALUE OF LACK
There is only so much here as you need to rest: walls, a roof and a small platform; a bed, a shower and a small kitchen inside. What really matters is outside BY: ELIZA ZIEMIŃSKA, PHOTOS: NELSON GARRIDO
he horizontal lines of the landscape are formed by the peaceful blue sky, white sand, slow, navy blue–brown waters of the river and dense greenery. It might seem thick reed at first – we are standing by the river after all. However, it turns out that there are rice fields extending just behind the riverside thicket. Definitely surprising if you are in Portugal. The platform overlooks an old fishing harbour. The high gangways are held only DESIGNALIVE.PL
The unique character of this place stems from simplicity: it satisfies only the basic needs.
by thin poles. This apparently delicate structure is an ingenious solution which lets the local fishermen access their boats easily during low tide, even when the estuary is very muddy. This is Palafitte – a harbour in Carrasqueira (an hour’s journey from Lisbon), a folk architecture masterpiece unique in Europe. The surrounding areas are highly valued owing to the natural resources of the Sado River, in whose wide estuary fresh waters mix with the salty ocean. The specific landscape provides good conditions for cultivating rice and is a home for many animals, especially birds.
By the riverside there is an untypical hotel: it can only accommodate two guests. Cabanas no Rio (Portuguese for ‘huts by the river’) consists of two small houses with triangular roofs. It has no swimming pool or SPA centre, a marble reception desk or TV sets in the rooms. The unique character of this place stems from simplicity: it satisfies only the basic needs. The lack of typical conveniences allows or even provokes the tourist to engage in direct contact with nature. The wooden huts, each with the surface area of 12 sq. m, resemble fishermen’s cubbyholes which can be seen in the
harbour. That was the precise intention of architect Manuel Aires Mateus, who constructed the houses using old, unnecessary planks of the same colour as that of the wooden structures in the harbour. Thus, the existing landscape could be preserved in a virtually unchanged form. ‘This material can be used in various ways, but its nature remains unchanged,’ the designer explains his selection of used wood. The houses develop two spaces. One of them is a sleeping room with a bathroom and a shower – the latter can be used both inside and outside. The other is a living room of sorts with a small kitchen for preparing simple meals. Outside there is a platform with a moored kayak for the guests. You do not need anything else to be close to nature.
When the guests at Cabanas no Rio become satisfied with peace and loneliness, they can visit the nearby towns abundant in restaurants serving regional dishes and wines. In the direct vicinity there is also a stud offering horse rides on the beach and a kind of a local travel agency which rents boats to watch dolphins and organizes guided tours of bird breeding grounds. A night costs EUR 200 (breakfast and daily tiding included). www.cabanasnorio.com
GUESTS OF THE DESERT Contradictory values are the basis of virtually the whole culture and civilization. We also accept many challenges in opposition to someone or something. Can contrasted worlds and notions have anything in common? In other words, is their borderline clear-cut or weak and faded? BY: MARCIN MOŃKA, PHOTOS: JEAN-MARIE MONTHIERS
ARCHITECTURE 41 Dimitri de Clercq is not the first filmmaker who fell in love with Morocco
et me take you on a trip, this time to Morocco, occasionally called ‘the land of contrasts.’ Do not be misled by the memories of offers once presented to you in travel agencies. Let us travel with the Beat Generation members, such as the eminent writers William Burroughs and Alan Ginsberg, who found their refuge in Tangier. Or we could follow the premonitions of a Belgian film producer, who reached another alluring region of that country – Marrakech and its vicinity. Let us accompany him to Fobe House. What can make a man accustomed to comfortable Western life build a house virtually in the desert? A breathtaking landscape is a serious argument for that idea, but is it sufficient?
became a footprint of civilization. Nonetheless, Fobe House coexists with its surroundings using the beauty of contrasts.
The picture is pretty from the distance
Architecture has always been photogenic: there are many links between the building mass and the celluloid tape. The basic criterion is movement, in which we perceive architecture, a change of perspective or the sense of scale. The eyesight moves when a perspective opens up in front of it. This human sense, so adored by the surrealists (as a tool for stalking – or, when turned off, for escaping into the subconscious), was the domain of i.a. Giorgio de Chirico. Upon looking at Fobe House from the distance, the connection with the Italian surrealist’s paintings seems quite close. It is the eye that lets us play with this architecture, A house on the set discovering the subsequent elements of the The investor’s name is Dimitri de Clercq. He structure. While approaching the house, we is not the first film industry person to have notice more new, surprising shapes. The loved Morocco. Let us check the long chain space continuously opens up and influof films made here: Lawrence of Arabia by ences the change in perceiving forms and David Lean, Sheltering Sky by Bernardo outlines. ‘Fobe was made in two phases, Bertolucci, The Last Temptation of Christ the first one being the creation of the main and Kundun by Martin Scorsese or Babel silhouette. Every element of the house was by Alejandro González Iñárritu. The list of well thought out and every square metre titles is very long. of the space was discussed with the ownStill, de Clercq did not come here to find er,’ admits Guilhem Eustache, the creator a perfect film set: he decided to build his Fobe House, a graduate of l´Ecole Spéciale house ten kilometres south of Marrakech. d´Architecture de Paris. The Atlas Mountains linger on the horizon. Since the land is flat and the climate warm, A temptation and a promise the building’s shape was designed so as to De Clercq turned Fobe House into a retreat protect its residents from sun and wind, of sorts, but did not forget about his famwhile the two ‘sails’ from the Western side ily. His mother, who lives here, is an Egypplay the role of an acoustic and visual bar- tologist by profession: she has conducted rier. Changing the landscape was not the examinations on numerous archaeological designers’ aim, but the house obviously sites. She also inspired the idea of bringing
ARCHITECTURE DZIAĹ 45 Precisely thought through and maximally simplified architecture contrasts with the desert landscape
‘Gloss comes from the cities; wisdom from the desert’
architecture to life in the natural desert surroundings. ‘There is nothing more ridiculous than trying to drag the lifestyle of Western Europe to Morocco, and that includes architecture,’ Guilhem Eustache admits. Every region, including Marrakech, deserves development which is the most suitable for the area. ‘We decided to use local raw materials such as clay. We appreciated the locals’ guidelines concerning e.g. the number of rainy days per year ( 10-20 ), rain intensity or the depth on which potable water can be found underground ( 40 metres),’ the architect adds. The owner had one more wish: he wanted the house to overlook the Atlas Mountains, by way of a contrast with the desert landscape. The architect fulfilled that wish: de Clercq may watch the mountains undisturbed from a roof terrace. Could Hegel have been right in claiming many years ago that architecture was the first among all arts?
The possibilities of the desert
Fobe House is an incredible meeting of the Western and Eastern culture. It is a precisely planned and yet maximally simplified architecture ‘inscribed’ in the desert landscape. It is an ever-worrying test of strength: man versus nature. Its result is easy to guess unless one bears in mind the quote from Dune by Frank Herbert: ‘Gloss comes from the cities; wisdom from the desert’ and is ready for such a lesson. And what if this house was to become a film? De Clercq has already considered this. ‘Maybe it could be a classic under the banner of Jean-Luc Godard, that is, Le Mépris, with the main role played by a villa with stairs leading to the roof. Sometimes I look at the walls inside my house and imagine my favourite film being shown on them,’ the director admits. The architect likes such a wide area of interpretation. ‘I wanted people to perceive this house as a range of possibilities,’ Guilhem Eustache declares. Fobe House and the surrounding space tell various stories and more or less likely narratives. The main ‘actors’ are inimitable despite the noticeable differences. We are drawn to their distinctiveness. As the famous Polish psychologist Antoni Kępiński once noted, ‘people hardly tolerate their lookalikes and join by the principle of contrast.’ Guests of the desert, such as Guilhem Eustache and Dimitri de Clercq, remembered one more lesson and did not let the appearances mislead them. ‘Nature can only be defeated by listening to it,’ said Francis Bacon.
Creating illusions, misleading, wearing masks, mimesisâ€Ś Creators, artists and designers have always liked playing with our perception. Discovering the truth gives us joy every time, even if what we feel first is the pain of realizing that they pulled our leg BY: DARIA LINERT PHOTOS: MARIUSZ GRUSZKA ULTRABRAND
BACKPACK: quite a big bag hidden in a small sachet. A product from the Go Gold collection designed in collaboration with the Swedish Olympic team. H&M, PLN 39.90, www.hm.com | HANGER: an item from the Sine collection designed by Kyuhyung Cho and Erik Olovson | PARKA: a jacket that looks very noble when zipped up. The hidden indigo explodes with joy from the first spring unzipping. Adidas by Tom Dixon, EUR 368, www.adidas.pl | SHOES: unlikely to be of a famous sports brand and yet they are! Adidas by Tom Dixon, EUR 170, www.adidas.pl On previous page: SOFA: Le Monde, designed by Leonardo Talarico, appears visually light and frivolous, but is in fact a solid piece of modular furniture. Noti, pricing on request, www.noti.pl | TABLE: Icosì, designed by Afroditi Krassa, seemingly made of densely spaced wire, lets you gather ordinary and extraordinary treasures inside. Bonaldo, EUR 300, www.bonaldo.it | ATLAS: Around the World is actually an encyclopaedia of modern times. Surprising statistics and tables provoke the mind, while infographics can be explored for hours. Gestalten, EUR 39.90, www.gestalten.com | CATALOG of the Reaction to Modernism exhibition presenting the achievements of Adolf Szyszko–Bohusz. Michał Wiśniewski, Dorota Jędruch, Dorota Leśniak–Rychlak and Agata Wiśniewska, the authors of the exhibition, claim that this significant Polish architect of the first half of the 20th century is both an apparently well known and apparently forgotten artist. Institute of Architecture, the National Museum in Cracow, PLN 44, www.instytutarchitektury.org | INSTRUCTION of reconstructing one’s outlook on the world anew. The Language of Things by Deyan Sudjic exposes the enormous consumption machination to which we surrender day by day. Using simple language, it names the obvious which we fail to notice in the rush of life: empty houses full of equipment and unfulfilled dreams of home life. Karakter, PLN 45, www.karakter.pl
50 THINGS APPLICATION: contrary to appearances, we wanted to show an application for a watch, not the watch itself. Created by the ttmm trio (Salamon, Żliński and Kozimor), the application is a set of 40 dials which measure and present time in entirely different ways on Pebble watches and iPhones. Available in the App Store and Android Market, EUR 8.99 per set, www.ttmm.eu | TABLE: Icosì, see p. 49 | HANGER: an item from the Sine collection designed by Kyuhyung Cho and Erik Olovson | ALBUM: Les Chiffres is a debut of Iron Noir, a new music project by Wojtek Kucharczyk and Łukasz Dziedzic. Electronic heartbeat, pain-inducing creaks and mantra-like loops will immediately put you off or slowly addict. The CD with illustrations by Kornel Kucharczyk was released in 110 copies, which has already made it a rarity. BDTA (seek in the secondary channel), www.bdta.8merch.com | GLASSES: the Kayan model, made of the Asian pear wood, is timeless. Palo Eyeware, EUR 145, www.palowood.com | OBJECTS: made of wood and granite designed by Ewa Traczuk could be considered as small sculptures, but they are intended to roll out dough. This does not take away their beauty, though. Unique items, firstname.lastname@example.org
CANDLE HOLDER: it was created in the studio of Note, a Swedish design group, and named POV (point of view). It plays with the user: depending on the angle of sight, it becomes a 3D form or a flat outline on the wall. Menu, USD 35, www.menu.as | ARMCHAIR AND TABLE: the items by Conica allude to the style of the 1950s, but their sharp, narrowed shapes give them firm, modern forms. Skandiform, Kinnarps group, armchair PLN 4,360, table PLN 3,170, www.kinnarps.com.pl | VASE: called Wave and printed using light plastic, it gains weight and stability only after pouring water inside. It was designed by the Czech designer Martin Ĺ˝ampach. Unique item, www.martin.zampach.com
MONOGRAPH: a story by Stine Gam and Enrico Fratesi, a Swedish-Italian couple of designers. This book is a tale of everyday life led by two people, illustrated with photos and sketches. ‘When they ask us what we do, we cannot say anything. It sounds like working for NASA even if just a chair is concerned.’ Summit, SEK 298, www.summitunlimited.se | BACKPACK: say a word and it becomes a bookshelf, or is it a bookshelf which you can take on a trip? Adidas by Tom Dixon, EUR 250, www.adidas.pl | TOOLS for gardening which are like modern art forms. The Orte set was designed by Giulio Iacchetti. Interno Italiano, EUR 95, www.internoitaliano.com | COSMETICS: those of the tołpa brand are frank like no other: they do not pretend to be anything more than what they really are. A modelling slimming concentrate, slim line, 200 ml, PLN 49.99; a toning and lifting serum, firm line, 250 ml, PLN 49.99; a cleansing milk for washing face and eyes, physio line, 195 ml, PLN 27.99; mild micellar liquid for washing face and eyes, rosacal line, 200 ml, PLN 37.99. www.tolpa.pl | GLASSES inspired by the Netherlands: the Oranje Lenzen model with orange lenses adds some… blue to the surrounding world. Slimmer, EUR 85, www.slimmer-shop.com
VINTAGE WEDDING PORTRAITS keep the couple’s faces young forever. In a similar manner, Katarzyna Jasińska reminds us of the beauty of Polish architecture from the communist period. Sadly, the reality is cruel and the facades worn out by time and inept modernizations. GraFika, PLN 94, www.gra-fika.com | ARMCHAIR from the collection designed by Tomasz Augustyniak. Though named Fin (French for ‘end’), it seems to announce the beginning of a new beautiful era for the Marbet brand. Marbet Style, from PLN 2,303, www.marbetstyle.eu | ILLUSION of a giant light bulb is a work by Nir Chehanowski, an Israeli designer and artist known for deceptive visual practices. The lamp consists of a LED light source and a laser-engraved Plexiglass. Studio Cheha, pricing on request, www.studiocheha.com | TABLE: Icosì, see p. 49 | BOOK: Jaś Ciekawski. Podróż do serca Oceanu [The curious John. A journey to the heart of the ocean] is a true journey through the 3D illustrations by Matthias Picard, which gain additional, well, depth, owing to special glasses. Kultura Gniewu, PLN 59.90, www.kultura.com.pl | COMIC BOOK by Marcin Podolec based on the memoirs of Waldemar Czapski, a founder of Fugazi (a Warsaw music club). A tale of the place which in the 1990s was a magnet for heavy metal fans, punks, hippies and others whose life was music. The atmosphere was funny, solemn, scary, delirious and moving – either in that order or at one time. Kultura Gniewu, PLN 59.90, www.kultura.com.pl
THE PRICE OF ZEN ‘We cannot afford cheap things,’ say the ladies of Milan. ‘We cannot afford cheap architecture,’ they scream in Hong Kong. This scream produced one of the most splendid hotels in the world and number one in Asia, The Upper House BY: MAJA CHITRO
PHOTOS: PP. 52–65 COURTESY OF THE UPPER HOUSE HOTEL
The nickel door designed by Thomas Heatherwick announces the interior scenery like a curtain
he average population density in People’s Republic of China is 144 residents per square kilometre. In Hong Kong it increases to as many as 6,400. Here, every square metre of land is very precious: it cannot be wasted or developed carelessly. Each patch is like a trophy desired by the biggest players, but is not used to build flats, though they are desperately needed here. It is used to build hotels – lavish buildings with amazing architecture containing surprising local elements and references to the international style. Everything is aimed at making the cosmopolitan guests feel comfortable and giving them a chance to wash away the stress caused by concluding transactions worth millions of dollars and making decisions strategic for the world. Yes, Hong Kong is nowadays one of the most important business cities worldwide. The Upper House Hotel was designed by Andre Fu, the founder of AFSO Design. Let us admit the truth: we, the people of the West, like the minimalistic aesthetics of Asia. Is it due to the purist elegance in the designs by Muji, Nendo and Naoto Fukasawa? Is it caused by the similar perception of forms? Or is it the longing for unbreakable rules such as those present in the Eastern culture from the very beginning? Andre Fu is an architect born in Hong Kong. Like many of his compatriots, he studied and served his architectural office apprenticeship in Great Britain – he is a graduate of the University of Cambridge. Maybe this European experience
is what helps him gracefully bring the Far East and West together. The Upper House, a luxurious hotel, is one of his flagship designs, appreciated by the Europeans, Americans and Asians alike. Here, the cultural differences complement one another, while the comfortable, functional and indecently exclusive interiors amaze anyone who steps inside. The facade is made of glass and steel embedded in stone opening the interiors of the hotel. The stone is Bedonia, which comes from Italy and is known for its beautiful shade of grey, as well as durability and application in finishing luxurious constructions. The fourmetre stone entrance, prepared in collaboration with the top British designer Thomas Heatherwick, seems a true work of art. It resembles a curtain being drawn – it is heavy and nickelled, but, just like in a theatre, it invites the guest to enter the scenery of the hotel and find peace. Indeed, it is peace that Fu mentions in his philosophy when he calls his design ‘a poetic journey up towards relaxation.’ Here, the asceticism of forms meets fancy sculptures and installations. The main role inside is played by lighting: a bit smoky and of a warm yellow colour, it creates an aura of mystery, fairy tales and, indeed, a theatre hidden behind the stone curtain. Only on the sixth floor is the guest flooded by daylight and the vivid green of Hong Kong hills. The hotel has 117 guest rooms, all located on the top floors of Pacific Place – a shopping centre belonging to Swire Properties, a company which also owns the hotel. To ensure an undisturbed rest of wealthy guests (a night here costs over 400 US dollars), there is no
direct connection between the hotel and the shopping centre. The architecture of the hotel and its furnishings were all designed by Fu with use of natural materials, mostly local, but also imported, e.g. from Italy (like limestone and the already mentioned Bedonia). Beside them, the interiors are composed of glass, sandstones, ceramics, bronze, whitened oak and bamboo, the latter one used to make floors and fans decorating the walls. The monochromatic appearance is a reference to modern Asia and at the same time commemorates the postcolonial times. The rooms are pure geometry: armchairs, sofas, tables, desks, lamps – each object has sharp edges and corners, which actually contradicts the feng shui philosophy. However, Fu decided that the hotel would be no place for softened forms. Instead, works created by artists selected by Fu are pure relaxation and a touch of luxury. These include the ‘Rise’ installation by Hiroshiwata Sawada, the ‘Bed of Roses’ sculpture by Gerard Bookle (the guest rooms feature 43 of his works) and ‘Myth of Stars’ by Man Fung Yi. Comfort, peace and care for the environment and the guests’ condition are also visible in various elements of the work system in the hotel. For instance, paper is virtually absent – each check-in is made by touching an iPad, while room service works based on iPod Touch devices. Cosmetics prepared in the bathrooms are highest quality anti-allergy REN products; in Swedish, ‘ren’ means ‘pure,’ while in Chinese – ‘an honourable undertaking.’ Well, one cannot resist an impression that every single element was well thought out here. DESIGNALIVE.PL
58 DZIAĹ The monochromatic decorations are a reference to modern Asia and at the same time commemorate the postcolonial times
DZIAĹ 61 The obsessive care for details and saturation with quality: such are the contemporary Hong Kong constructions
62 PLACES The new hotels in Hong Kong are fantastic. The investors try to saturate the expensive space with quality, so to say. When we received an order for our piano from Hong Kong, we suggested the smaller one because we thought they were very cramped there. Instead, they wanted the biggest one: a huge piano was located in an enormous empty hall. Then I understood their wish to show that they could afford the space to be empty or filled with something to be admired. Here they play with emptiness and saturate the space with highest quality designs and materials. During one of my recent journeys to Hong Kong I visited The Upper House hotel. As I walked along the corridors, I met Zen-style structures behind every corner. I would simply stand and contemplate. When I reached the room floor, I was amazed at every detail, such as aÂ veneer wall, nicely bent only to beautifully display the lift button. Robert Majkut a designer of interiors and the Whaletone piano
Some rooms are like twins. The only thing that changes is the view from the window
PLACES DZIAĹ 67 The facade was made of Bedonia, a stone which comes from Italy and is known for its beautiful shades of grey
68 THINGS 2
Thanks to culture.pl for helping to create this article
PHOTOS: PRESS MATERIALS
Business of Design Week is a weird creation. Forum is a huge dose of lectures given by professionals from all over the world. The quality of knowledge does not match the fair section offer: in every plastic stall the hostess smiles a different smile and the collection of companies is… eclectic. However, one place shows Asian creativity each year: in Inspiration Hall, we found for you a few results of the Eastern and Western culture clash, which is so characteristic of Hong Kong BY: ANGELIKA OGROCKA
1 REN In this object, ‘melting’ was made the design philosophy. The traditional bamboo weaving techniques were ‘melted down’ into a new elastic and natural method ready to apply in the contemporary furniture manufacturing. The process of melting the traditional knowledge down into new design was carried out by: Shenghai Wang, a graduate of the Department of Design at the China Academy of Art; Weiren Zeng, a graduate of the South China University of Technology as well as a master of craft and a member of the Chinese Bamboo Industry Association; and Daqing Huang, a bamboo craft master with over 40 years of experience. A unique object, www.handmadeinhangzhou.com 2 EMERSION This is an interpretation of classical tableware: Monica Tsang put a challenge to classical painting: inspired with drawings, she used ink to create porcelain (original Bone China) animals not directly associated with their purpose. Thus, gleaming white birds are salt and pepper shakers, while fish are an interestingly transformed chopstick stand. A set of six fish with chopsticks – USD 100, www.monicatsangdesigns.com 3 DRAGON FLY is 4 a praise of simplicity and an essence of the Far East. The bamboo toy called ‘dragon fly’ has been known for over two thousand years, but even today it can amaze and absorb the mind longer than a new iPad game. Sending the fan in the air requires little agility but gives you a lot of joy. As your skills increase, you can gradually predict and plan the place in which it will land. Owing to cooperation with the PINWU design studio, this small gift has become a symbol of the ‘Handmade in Hangzhou’ project which promotes the city in eastern China, www.handmadeinhangzhou.com 4 RWB330 This is a line of simple and stylish bags, school accessories and toys. The objects are made by mentally ill people searching for a new order in their life. The project name is significant: RWB is an ordinary fabric produced from plastics and used for making farm roofs or capacious bags which have already become an icon of Hong Kong and a symbol of the exchange of goods between the East and the West. RWB is an abbreviation denoting colours (red, white, blue), but in this project it acquired a new meaning: in China, white and blue are associated with a funeral, while red symbolizes happiness and wealth after the time of grief. ‘330’ bears a phonetic resemblance to ‘body, mind and spirit’ in Cantonese. Prices from HKD 228, www.rwb330.hk 5 SWITCH Native Union presented an original device: designed by skilled audio engineers, it combines several functions. It can be a portable loudspeaker, professional teleconference equipment or a charger for other devices via USB. It works up to 14 hours regardless of the used option and position (vertical or horizontal). It is available in seven colours: black, crimson, mandarin, emerald, blue, graphite and 5 white. The limited edition has two colour versions: copper-black and golden-pink. Price: USD 149, limited edition – USD 169.99, www.nativeunion.com 6 SMARTTOUCH WIRELESS MOUSE N800(BLK) BN800 is a wireless mouse which can also function as a touchpad. Since it has Windows 8 installed, the user can scroll, magnify and shift the content easily. A USB receiver allows for control of the device from the distance of 5 metres. However, appearance remains its biggest: isn’t it amazing that a mouse can gracefully turn into a stone? Price: USD 39.99, www.shop.lenovo.com 7 ONG SHUNMUGAM Whenever I Fall At Your Feet – this is the name of a new collection by Ong Shunmugam. Its creator, Priscilla Shunmugam, gracefully combines material textures and patterns into sensual womenswear. Her clothes reinterpret the traditional ethnic Asian patterns; they nicely merge past with presence and the rule-governed Asian world with European openness. The latest collection, named Whenever I Fall At Your Feet and inspired with foundations of Asian buildings, liberates the imagination not only by its name. Prices from USD 249, www.ongshunmugam.com 8 OSORO On Chinese tables, porcelain was long ago replaced by durable and functional plastics. The dishes should also occupy little space. The Japanese brand Narumi together with designer Manabu Togo invented Osoro – a tableware system suitable for low (-40°C) and high (220°C) temperatures. Owing to Narumio technology, they are washed easily, thus saving time and water. Silicone lids allow for combining a dozen elements and storing them inside one another. They come in seven lid colours and three shapes (round, oblong and square). Prices from JPY 280, www.osoro.jp
THE TERMITE MOUND ‘This city is like a reversed banana: white outside and yellow inside. We may seem very European, but in our hearts we are Chinese’ – this is how the Hong Kong citizens describe themselves BY: EWA TRZCIONKA. PHOTO: MICHAEL WOLF
work, still in his white collar. The restaurants, however, have 7-metre high ceilings and big tables. You can take a deep breath there. It is enough for you to drink a coffee in such an interior to be impressed because it cost a few million dollars. Hong Kong is an unimaginable place, but difficult to live in. The social stratification resembles the caste system. The British heritage is easily noticeable here and usually occupies leading positions, especially in business. The machine has gathered speed and is rushing forward. The pace of the changes means hundreds of investments: old buildings are demolished and replaced by new ones with more floors. These are not flats, Robert’s client Seventeen years ago everyone in Hong however, but hotels and office buildings Kong held their breath: the British Queen constructed with incredible care, using the symbolically left the port to begin a long best materials and in collaboration with journey home and Hong Kong was taken the best designers. They cost fortunes, but back over by the People’s Republic of China. nobody is worried: they are supposed to Some people, especially those from the bring wealth, too. The Central district is a big construction great business, followed the Queen like an entourage, while others stood in wait site, with works going on in three dimento see what would happen next: will the sions. Cranes stick out of structures surarmy come and nationalize everything or rounded with bamboo scaffoldings on the will they allow the European heritage to level of several dozen floors and you never function? China chose the second option. know where the sound of a pneumatic drill After nearly a decade of stagnation, the ma- comes from. A city limited by water cannot chine is beginning to gain momentum. And spread across the land: it can only climb upwards or take precious square metres when it gathers speed... Hong Kong is a centre whose light shines of land away from the sea. over the whole East Asia, which features several huge markets. The HSBC (The Hong Wong’s desire Kong and Shanghai Banking Corporation) Hong Kong features the greatest number of bank returned here after a short period of sky scrapers worldwide – buildings which maintaining its headquarters in London. are over 152 m high. It means you can live New players emerge, too. Plenty of French e.g. on the 57th floor. The people of Hong companies want to dominate on the food Kong are masters of space development. Bemarket, especially that of high-quality food fore they built a new airport on the area for sophisticated cosmopolite palates. Wine snatched from the South China Sea, it had consumption in China is higher than wine been possible to stand on a balcony and production in France – still any reasons why look into the windows of planes landing they should not be here? Business, trans- among the sky scrapers. 1,100 square kiloactions, mergers, takeovers, contracts – it metres (a doubled surface area of Warsaw) all happens on the highest floors of sky house nearly eight million people, making scrapers built one by one on the Hong Kong Hong Kong one of the most densely popuisland and the opposite island of Lantau. lated cities in the world. Such compression The scale of money flowing around can be determines the life. This intimacy and closeness combined better visualized at night, when the lights in those sky scrapers are still on. They are with restraint have been captured by the always on... This way, the city has earned a Hong Kong director Wong Kar-wai in his reputation of the most light-polluted place movie entitled In the Mood for Love. Its on earth. Children born in the city centre scenes are saturated with warm light and who have never gone beyond it have never life is loud, fast and cramped. In rented seen the stars. The sky here is 1,200 times rooms and flaking buildings you can see strangers living side by side, married coubrighter than the natural level. Pedestrian gangways joining the sky ples and whole families, who rub shoulders scrapers hang over the streets. You can with one another in narrow corridors and see men in ties sneaking through them. shared kitchens whether they want it or The great business begins above the tenth not. Their eyes meet in dark staircases. They floor. I once asked Robert Majkut, an in- hear somebody’s presence, play and arguterior designer, about the work with the ments behind the wall. They feel one anHong Kong people. He shared with me a other’s joy, loneliness and longing. Kar-wai few stories of his business meetings here. tells one more story in this movie: using the ‘I was always invited to a bar or restaurant. beautiful music by Shigeru Umebayashi, he Their office (and home) space is cramped warns us that despite the closeness people and unattractive. The work goes on 24/7; can feel very lonely in this city and pass sometimes you can see a guy have a nap by their destiny without noticing it. The between the desks and then go back to fluid, delicate film full of nuances in the oints of view are located here on a vertical axis: as you go upwards, the prospects widen, the apartment prices get higher and the status increases. So does loneliness. It is hard to understand what this city really is: a giant termite mound, the financial heart of Asia, a place of delight, a culinary ecstasy, a multidimensional landscape, a promised land, a cage or a home? It is everything and all these options co-exist, often in oppositions, though side by side. Hong Kong is the essence of contradiction.
scenes depicts Hong Kong of the 1960s, i.e. before the British influence gave it the Western shades of white and changed it forever. What remains unchanged is monsoon weather and rains coming down as if from nowhere: the film never shows the Hong Kong sky and uses only reflected light.
Sky is eliminated from the image of Hong Kong in works by one more artist – Michael Wolf, a photographer living in ‘the vertical city’ for a dozen years and depicting it in a quasi-documentary manner. His ‘Architecture of Density’ series focuses on the (often brutally) condensed structure of sky scrapers. By keeping the sky and horizon beyond the frames, Wolf flattened the reality and transformed it into endless abstractions of facades. These compositions emanate austere beauty and tempt the viewer to penetrate the thick concrete skin of the city their his thoughts. The pixels of flats feature signs of life such as hung out laundry, a drawn net curtain or silhouettes on the balconies of flats, whose surface area is often a dozen square metres. They are called ‘cage flats’ here and frequently have no windows. Wolf’s photo series called ‘100 x 100’ shows such extreme, shocking cases. The photographer visited a hundred of flats in one of the oldest housing estates in Hong Kong – endlessly repeating, identical flats. He adopted the same vantage point for each of them, as Bernard and Hilda Becher had done for their typological series of industrial photography. However, he gave them a touch of humanity, showing the residents and their everyday life and ingenuity in organizing the cramped space. Bunks, furniture in layers and partition walls acted as substitutes of intimacy locked in a cage. Extremities once again became the topic of a documentary work, attracted attention and caused discussions, strengthening certain stereotypes and undermining other ones.
Over 300,000 people are waiting for council flats in Hong Kong, but only 15,000 of them are commissioned each year. In view of huge immigration, few people have a chance for legal accommodation: they must act on their own or join the grey area. As there are no suburbs here, the slums emerge on the roofs of sky scrapers. You cannot see them from the streets, nobody counts illegal residents and the government powerlessly washes hands of the issue. Whole villages with labyrinths of passages keep growing on the roofs. Nothing is wasted here: sheet metal, plastics and cardboard are construction materials of makeshift flats (sometimes you can see a brick one, too). Add to that dripping water, cockroaches, rats and terrible heat in summer. Still, even such ‘properties’, with the area of 9 to 28 sq. m, are traded: they cost approx. GBP 4,000. A legal flat of the
PLACES 75 same size costs around GBP 80,000… In many cases, staying on the roof is the only option. Sze Lai-shan moved to Hong Kong from China when she was 11. She did not speak Cantonese, let alone English. She has spent most of her life in such vertical slums. Now she works at a non-governmental organization called Society for Community Organisation (SOCO), though it sometimes seems a losing battle. ‘I work 12 hours a day, 10 am to 10 pm. I know it is not an attractive job and few young people would like to follow me. Hong Kong only has its eyes for money and does not want to see the truth. Still, I hope this can change.’ Extremities are very close to one another in this city, sometimes divided only by a thin yet impassable line. They sneak and clash, but do not really want to see one another. Is there something ‘in between’ here? A state considered ‘normal’ from our European point of view?
Miriam and Vivian’s house
Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China (SAR) is located on the southern coast of China, at the Pearl River Estuary, on the Koulun Peninsula and 234 surrounding islands, the biggest of which are Lantau, Hong Kong and Lamma. Green areas can be found mainly in the centre of the Hong Kong island and in the vicinity of New Territories. Steep hills, beaches and trekking routes are not crowded, though. Hong Kong consists of three regions (New Territories, Koulun and Hong Kong). It had been leased to the United Kingdom from 1984 to July 1st, 1997, when it became a part of China again. Till 2047, Hong Kong has a guarantee of autonomy, excluding foreign policy and armed forces. It is a multicultural place open for various religions. The low birth rate ( 0.91 per woman) is compensated by very intense immigration, mainly from inland China. Miriam Choi lives on the Hong Kong island. She works in the marketing department of PMQ, a cultural institution which changes blocks of flats built in 1951 for families of policemen into a creativity incubator. She has two names, but Si-kei is the one used only at home. At work and school as well as among friends she uses the English name, like most citizens born under the British rule. ‘We are divided into generations. My peers were born and educated when the British were here. Then we fell under the influence of continental China. People ten years younger are different – they underwent only Chinese education. We are a weird mixture of beliefs and mentalities. I do not want to imply that it causes arguments, but certainly a clash of totally different ways of thinking. In Hong Kong you can hear various opinions; we are more sincere because we are so diversified, but the influence from inland China increases,’ she says. When I ask her if this is good or bad, she becomes careful in her words. ‘It is hard to say. We are sort of shocked and
try to adapt ourselves to this scenario. The Hong Kong people are now certainly more sensitive politically and socially.’ The surface area of her flat is 56 sq. m; she claims that it is an average flat, but it seems to be quite a big one here. The population density, which in some extreme places reaches 46,000 per square kilometre (!), changes the citizens’ mentality. ‘The city is very small and crowded. We live physically close to each other and that creates an intimacy of sorts. There are a lot of physical interactions among us, unlike in the spacious Western world. Our home is cramped, so we go out: we meet friends and throw birthday parties in town; we travel to the countryside, mountains or beach; we take a bike and spend time in natural surroundings. Since nature is rare here, we value it very much. Moreover, everything is condensed: kitchens, cultures, shops with goods from all over the world, art, craft and events – everything is close. It is a city you can easily love. As to the cramped space, we need to organize it somehow. We are naturally flexible and creative and we can make our flats very cosy,’ Choi tries to justify the reality. Her status could be considered as the creative middle class, which has developed intensively here in recent years. Diversity, animation and sensitivity influence creativity. While foreign photographers (Michael Wolf) and designers (e.g. Michael Young, Studio Gooris) settle down here, the children of Hong Kong are increasingly more valued abroad: Wong Kar-wai – for directing, Six Lee and Vivienne Tam – for fashion and Antony Lau – for automotive industry designing. They become more cosmopolitan and yet remain very Chinese. This duality was once summed up to me by Vivian Waikwan Cheng, born in 1962 in Hong Kong. She is a designer, a journalist specializing in design and a jury member for Red Dot awards. This is what she said: ‘Hong Kong is like a reversed banana: white outside and yellow inside. We may seem very European, but in our hearts we are Chinese. We value tradition and family life and our relationships are close. It is normal here for children to live with their parents until they get married. It is not caused by lack of money: this is simply what we want.’ We express our thanks for the assistance in writing the text to the Adam Mickiewicz Institute, which organized a series of events presenting Polish designers and material culture in Hong Kong in December 2013 as part of promoting Polish culture abroad. During the Business of Design Week, the ‘Must Have from Poland’ exhibition received a warm welcome, while a lecture by Tomek Rygalik and Gosia Rygalik enriched the Forum – a thought exchange zone for designers from all over the world. More about the events: www.culture.pl, www.designalive.pl
CABINET OF CURIOSITIES
‘If we can imagine something, it exists,’ argues Sylwana Zybura, also known as Madame Peripetie. Her album entitled Dream Sequence has just been released BY: MARCIN MOŃKA PHOTOS: MADAME PERIPETIE
he book is crowded with peculiar persons who meet on the borderline of fashion, photography, performance and the fine arts as if at a watering-hole... or this is how we perceive them, though they are the result of an artistic evolution of sorts: from an inspiration with surrealism and films to the philosophical explanation of beauty and sublimity. The characters were photographed
in the most natural manner possible, using very few technological tricks. Instead of retouch on ready photos, the author chose studio work with the human body and the possibilities offered by body painting and make-up... printed in 3D mode. That is why, browsing through the book, every now and then we encounter weird, dreamlike characters... but that seems natural if one is inspired with surrealism, doesn’t it?
Portraits from Dream Sequence, EUR 36, www.seltmannundsoehne.de
‘As you can see. Polish art today’ is the first presentation of the contemporary Polish art with such a wide scope for nearly a decade. The exhibition presented at the Museum of Modern Art revolves around significant works, creative attitudes and topics raised by visual artists in recent years. It includes works by several dozen artists, i.a. Zbigniew Libera, Piotr Uklański, Mirosław Bałka, Robert Kuśmirowski, Paweł Althamer, Joanna Rajkowska, Oskar Dawicki and Wilhelm Sasnal. The exhibition is divided into a dozen topics, but they are not trends or styles in art: they are inspiring narratives such as modern folklore. BY: MARCIN MOŃKA, PHOTO: MICHAŁ SZLAGA
‘As you can see. Polish art today’ Museum of Modern Art, Warsaw, till June 1st
ART 81 MATOŁEK THE BILLY-GOAT Paweł Althamer's performance, 2013
CULTURALLY ENGAGED ‘At Meiré und Meiré we developed a brand code composed of three central values: respect, accuracy and meaning, as well as a leadership potential. Meaning is the deepest statement, the core and the real nature of the brand, commitment is the mode of action in culture, while leadership – a predisposition towards introducing innovations,’ says Mike Meiré, a co-founder of the legendary German agency
esign, graphic design or art – which field interests you the most? It is hard to say, though if I was not committed to all of them, I could not be doing what I am doing, especially because it is difficult to separate them. It all started with designing magazines. In 1983 we established the Apart magazine, dedicated to modern art and culture, while today we are responsible for the artistic form of i.a. 032c, Dasha Zhukova's Fashion, Garage, Brand Eins, GQ (Gentlemen's Quarterly Italy), Neue Zürcher Zeitung, Kids’ Wear or the legendary Cahier d’Art from Paris. Designing magazines is still the essence of Meiré und Meiré. Your agency is recognizable not only on the German market… For over 25 years, Meiré und Meiré has worked for German and international brands, operating on the borderline of culture and design. We continue to carry out successful publishing designs. Our new projects include refreshing the visual identification for Agnona, an Italian producer of cashmere clothes, or DESIGNALIVE.PL
the creation of a pop-up store during the Fashion Week in Milan. In addition, for over 12 years we have collaborated with the Mini brand; we designed their stall displayed at the IAA international automotive trade fair in Frankfurt. You have also collaborated with Dornbracht for a long time. Do you remember how it all began? Our collaboration with Dornbracht started over 20 years ago. Meiré und Meiré is responsible for the creative vision of the brand and cooperates with it in many areas such as design, culture, brand strategy or architecture. We support the company in its transformation into an important brand of luxurious bathroom fittings and accessories, as well as in building the image of a recognizable leader of the industry. In 1996 we initiated a new cultural direction: ‘Kultur im Bad’ [culture in the bathroom]. We inspected the rituals and cultural aspects related to the bathroom based on the continuous exchange of ideas with artists, architects, musicians and designers. Through the years, as Dornbracht Culture Projects, we have carried out a
number of interesting projects, exhibitions significant in the artistic environment and performances with eminent artists. For me, two of them are most important: E–R–S (Energetic – Recovery – System), a new, ritual approach to culture in the bathroom developed as part of Dornbracht Edges in 2003, and The Farm Project within the same cycle, which I prepared three years later. The Farm Project was presented i.a. during the Salone Internazionale del Mobile trade fair in Milan and during Design Miami. That exhibition reflected the contemporary ideas of urban agriculture. Companies promote themselves mainly by sponsoring sport, but there are exceptions: some of them decide to advertise themselves via culture... The company defined itself as a producer of high quality bathroom fittings many years ago, but – by its permanent culture-creating engagement and assuming the role of an innovation leader – it went far beyond the kitchen and bathroom architecture. The exploration of the ‘culture in the bathroom’ topic is reflected in the long-term commitment to culture
PHOTOS: COURTESY OF MEIRÉ UND MEIRÉ
INTERVIEWER: DARIA LINERT
MIKE MEIRÉ Mike Meiré was born in 1964 in Darmstadt. He is a person of many professions: a designer, graphic designer, artistic director, artist and curator. He lives and works in Cologne. In 1987 he opened the Meiré und Meiré agency with his brother Mark. In 2001 he established Neo Noto, a company producing cultural events. He has been an artistic director of many magazines and has received a number of industry awards and distinctions for their designs. For 20 years he has collaborated with Dornbracht i.a. on cultural projects
84 PEOPLE and art. Thus, Dornbracht supports and initiates projects on the borderline of design, art and architecture. It also shows the way we work at Meiré und Meiré. We developed a brand code composed of three central values: respect, accuracy and meaning, as well as a leadership potential. Meaning is the deepest statement, the core and the real nature of the brand, commitment is the mode of action in culture, while leadership – a predisposition towards introducing innovations. Do the cultural projects that you carry out translate into the sale and income of the brand or are they only image-related activities? The cultural identity of Dornbracht is reflected in the development of products and in the products themselves. The research on bathroom and
The Farm Project, an exhibition created as part of Dornbracht Edges, thought up and designed by Meiré und Meiré, was presented i.a. during the Salone Internazionale del Mobile trade fair in Milan and during Design Miami. The exhibition reflected the contemporary ideas of urban agriculture, which was a breakthrough in 2006 DESIGNALIVE.PL
kitchen conducted for many years led the company to new questions, ideas and solutions. This added value may result in the consumers’ bigger acceptance for the activities of the company and appreciation for its products. Certainly, it requires appropriate image research, but what the brand needs in the long run is an authentic influence on the consumers’ hierarchy of values and the ability to identify itself with it. Does promoting a brand via culture make sense only in the case of long-term activities? For us, engaging in cultural projects means long-term activities which comply with the rules of sustainable development and whose influence continuously increases. Meiré und Meiré creates and develops cultural projects for companies
and brands in Germany and abroad. Their aim is the increase of social significance, reaching specific target groups or becoming more visible on difficult markets. The work gives you a lot of satisfaction. What are you most proud of? The fact that I am still curious of the world, open-minded and surrounded by wonderful people. As a private person, I pride myself on the marvellous family which I have created together with my wife Michelle and our three great boys. I can be an artistic director, artist, designer, architect, curator, publisher and cultural ambassador – I have managed to do all that simultaneously for over 25 years. I appreciate the diversity of artistic fields. Even if this requires me to be very self-disciplined, it also keeps me in a continuous creative flow.
THE DESCENDANTS OF ROMAN BATHS Hypnotizing blue, huge roofs and the rhythm of repeating elements BY: ELIZA ZIEMIŃSKA, PHOTOS: FRANCK BOHBOT
he still water surface contrasts with the light roof construction and the surrounding infrastructure. The contemporary swimming pools are the successors of impressive baths, which a dozen centuries ago housed the daily hygiene rituals, at the same time constituting the centres of social activity. The seductive and frequently sublime architecture of empty swimming pools was captured by Franck Bohbot, a French photographer living in New York. The strikingly empty spaces draw our attention to the architecture, which is usually just a background for sporty swimmers and playful children. Though the social function of those buildings has changed, making room for the need to improve fitness, they can still amaze us with their flourish and architectural form.
But where has the social function of Roman baths gone? What has replaced it? The technology was kind to us throughout the ages: it gave us baths in our homes, yet it took away the meetings in the real world. In modern SPA centres we seem to look for intimacy and loneliness, too. Luckily, the situation begins to change. Culture researchers and designers are starting to view the bathroom as a home meeting place. ‘Water connects people. While taking a bath, we play and speak with children or build the relationship with our partner. The bathroom and the sleeping room are joining now just as the kitchen and the living room joined in the past. This process will continue, though it is still unimaginable for many of us,’ says Christian Sieger, a designer. When we strengthen our family relationships, why not flow on? www.franckbohbot.com DESIGNALIVE.PL
Interested in relationships between individuals and architecture Franck Bohbot photographs public areas bare of any human presence. He adopts a frontal perspective and highlights quasi-perfect symmetry
BENT BEAUTY Vapour belches from an old machine. A broad-shouldered man tightens the steel wheel of the press and slowly bends the previously soaked beech planks. This is how the famous bent furniture by Paged has been manufactured for over 130 years. Now the time has come for it to conquer the world BY: MARCIN MOŃKA PHOTOS: MARIUSZ GRUSZKA
hile on our way to meet Tomek Rygalik, I was wondering if he had… grown a moustache – not merely because beards are back in style. We were to meet in Paged’s factory located in Jasienica in southern Poland. Paged is famous for manufacturing bent furniture and everyone of that profession in the past had worn moustache. For a short time, Rygalik has been Paged’s artistic director. Tomek Rygalik, a designer previously working with i.a. the Moroso and Siemens brands, is one of the most recognizable figures in Polish design. He presently collaborates with one of the oldest Polish furniture factories – Paged, whose history dates back to the 19th century and the famous manufacturers and constructors of the time, Mundus and Thonet. Today, Rygalik is behind most of its new designs as an artistic director. PAGED HAS OPERATED SINCE 1881 It remains the only Polish factory which is so well preserved and where furniture has been bent using the same method for over 130 years. The only difference is that
the contemporary bent furniture makers wear shoes and do not grow a moustache, they joke in Paged. PAGED IS NOT ONLY HISTORY, THOUGH It is well known in Poland as an apartment furniture brand, but now wants to become noticeable in the world. Its products are sold to almost all continents, to nearly 50 countries, but this year’s edition of Salone Internazionale del Mobile in Milan will be the first event for Paged to present a furniture collection under its own brand; until now it has manufactured furniture mainly for other brands. ‘The company finds itself in an exciting moment and at the same time faces a great challenge. Our strategy is the formation of a brand which creates unique designs of the highest international quality,’ Rygalik admits.
manufacturers and traders. He and the team were preparing the prototypes and the first items implemented for production. ‘This way, what initially seems an ugly duckling can turn into a beautiful swan,’ he explains vividly.
PAGED HAS BEEN A SYNONYM OF BENT FURNITURE FOR YEARS ‘We try to develop the new offer under our brand so as to make it unique to our production methods. The furniture presented at the iSaloni fair also features bent elements,’ Rygalik adds. What he considers extremely important is the possibility of creating contract furniture, i.e. products manufactured under the brand and reaching prestigious locations such as museums, galleries, hotels or restaurants. One of the first such pieces of furniture is an armchair created by Rygalik and ordered by the newly created Museum of the History of Polish Jews PAGED HAS BEEN PRESENT AT THE in Warsaw. This is just the beginning since MILAN TRADE FAIR SINCE 1964 – THE the brand’s strategy is long term. ‘Paged is LONGEST OF ALL POLISH COMPANIES predisposed to achieving a lot in this inThis year’s exhibition is a record one: it con- dustry under its own brand. It has a strong sists of 30 pieces of furniture forming seven craft tradition and highly skilled employees. families. During our visit to the factory, the People and the traditional method of makworks were still going on and the artistic ing furniture are the brand’s greatest values,’ director was dividing his time between Rygalik concludes. talking to us and consulting technologists, www.paged.pl
Tomek Rygalik at work
POLISH JOB 92 EVENTS
The exhibition of Polish design in Milan introduces the international audience to contemporary Polish design based on local tradition, respect for the past and bold, forward-looking, innovative solutions
ocalnessity, nostalgia and innovation. These threads, analyzed together, will allow you to see phenomena which constitute our cultural identity and present Polish design in a broader, international context,’ – says Magda Kochanowska, curator of the exhibition. Design overpassed national boundaries long ago, and designers have been realizing commissions for companies and users all over the world. The ongoing process of globalization has presented us with various opportunities, but also challenges. Today, the local tradition and history, as well as the awareness of one’s uniqueness are becoming ever more DESIGNALIVE.PL
important. Simultaneously, the intensive development of new technologies challenges us to react and devise new solutions. The objects presented at the exhibition represent three complementary strands. One is ‘Localnessity’: design growing out of local traditions defined by available materials, such as flax, wood and coal, technique and form. The strand named ‘Nostalgia’ features objects which neatly allude to Social Realism and process selected elements of the culture of that era in a smart dialogue with the past. ‘Innovation’ showcases solutions which implement state-of-the-art technology and global trends. The first two strands capture the specificity of Polish design and its distinctness by reaching back
POLISH JOB exhibition Undai 8, Ventura Lambrate Via Ventura 6, Milan Opening hours: 8–12th April 10am–8pm 13th April 10am–6pm Opening press event: 9th April 8pm–10pm Organizer: culture.pl Curators: Lodz Design Festival, Magda Kochanowska lodzdesign.com magdakochanowska.pl
into the past. The third strand puts Polish design in the international context and relates to new technologies: it reveals the fascinating area of exploration where Polish designers touch on the same issues and speak the same language as the world’s leading designers. The Polish Job exhibition is accompanied by workshops: the visitors can print out miniatures of selected exhibits on a 3D printer. The exhibition in Milan is organizsed by culture.pl, the service which has for years introduced the world to the highlights of Polish culture. The Polish Job exhibition during the Salone Internationale del Mobile in April 2014 is a continuation of projects from previous years. Daria Linert
TASTE IT! EVENTS 93
‘Taste of an Object’ is an exhibition curated by Razy2 design studio prepared for the Milan Design Week. It will display products of Pomeranian designers in an original, unconventional way: by their smell and taste…
he exhibition, which aims at promoting Pomeranian designers and creative sector companies, is a story about products told in a non-verbal language. Each object will additionally be presented in the form of a specially designed dish so that the food acts as a synthetic and universal display of features of the object. At the exhibition, you will be able to freely delight in the taste of i.a. heater warmth, bike speed,
TASTE OF AN OBJECT exhibition Loftino, Opificio 31 via Tortona 31, Milan Opening hours: April 8th-13th, 10am–10pm Organizer: Design Centre Gdynia Curators: Paulina and Jacek Ryń/Razy2 Design Studio
street lamp light, furniture comfort or the experience of children’s play. This eclectic combination of taste and object also aims at highlighting the wide spectrum of activities undertaken by Pomeranian designers and producers. The exhibition will feature both unique and mass-produced objects, as well as decorative and technical products, all of them designed by interdisciplinary teams. Łukasz Potocki DESIGNALIVE.PL
THE MODEL MAN
Sometimes he says he chose a lousy job... but he cannot imagine himself doing anything else. Bogdan Kosak, a ceramist, believes that everyday objects can be beautiful, though we do not need too many of them to be happy. What matters most in life is… life BY: MARCIN MOŃKA PHOTOS: WOJCIECH TRZCIONKA
reated in hundreds, but no two of them alike: the objects named Pebbles [Otoczaki] accompanied the ceramist for a decade and are one of his most recognizable designs. When they appeared for sale in the now non-existent Opera gallery, the customers asked for… kosaks. The objects had been inspired i.a. by Adam Wajrak and his story about mysterious small creatures migrating in large groups through Polish forests, forming incredible swarms. ‘They seemed to have come from the cosmos. I thought I could create unidentified objects and multiply them to get real hordes,’ Kosak says. A Pebble swarm in action could be seen at one of the exhibitions in the Ujazdowski Castle in Warsaw: it counted about 800 objects. ‘One animal is nothing, but when you see a hundred elephants, that is another story,’ Kosak likes to remark. What is more, each Pebble was made manually! Those ‘unidentified objects’, created in the years 1996–2006, have visited many exhibitions, trade fairs and art and design shows worldwide.
No crowd, no noise
Kosak often jokes that his Pebbles have travelled far more than he himself. However, one year he wrote the following sentence in his notes: ‘I am happy to have ended the work on Pebbles and I am working on a totally different design.’ He summarizes it simply: ‘One day I asked myself: “How long can you go on with the same stuff?” The best thing was that people had plenty of ideas to use them: they became vases, ashtrays or sugar bowls, even though they had been created as seemingly useless. I am happy to see them serve people around the world.’ Yet, he has only one Pebble at home. Why? He is reluctant to gather things. He does not like crowd or noise. ‘The number of objects at home should be just sufficient for your needs: a chair, table, bed, vase, plate, kettle, cup… They should also be made well and of high quality materials. I may lack something just because I cannot find an object that would fulfil all my requirements, but when I finally get it, I want it to stay with me all my life. I do not like wastefulness and cannot afford it. I do not appreciate season production, which makes things fashionable for a while DESIGNALIVE.PL
IN THE PAST, ART WAS CONNECTED WITH SACRUM, BUT IT WAS STILL AN OBJECT; TODAY IT HAS CEASED TO BE OBJECT-LIKE
and then they end up not even in a junk room, but straight in trash,’ he explains. However, he admits to being very fond of books. He once tried to limit their number, saying to himself that he could use a library. ‘I have ten cups because I need them, not because they are beautiful. I use different cups to drink coffee in the morning and in the afternoon. It is the same with books: I cannot predict my mood on Sunday evening and the poem I would like to read then. Libraries are not open 24/7. Besides, it is good to have a book at hand, both at home and at work. The Internet does not solve everything. It is like drinking coffee from a plastic cup instead of a porcelain one,’ he says.
A lousy job
What he likes about his job is that he can create objects to be used by everybody, such as plates or cups. ‘It is a challenge to think up an object both well made and cheap. I am inspired by designers from the 1950s and 1960s, owing to whom factory workers could afford beautiful things. It remains my dream for a cup to cost less than a few dozen Polish zlotys,’ he confesses. He likes the transience and fragility of ceramics combined with its incredible durability: it may either last a while or survive a thousand years. Sometimes he has had enough and dreams of moving to a secluded place, where he could be surrounded by books and good art and… grow carrots. ‘A potter used to be a lousy job. Both in the antiquity and modern times, he was the poorest of the craftsmen. He made pots occasionally, when there was nothing for him to do in the field. In turn, ceramics factories were always financially supported by kings: no king, no factory,’ he smiles. His road may not be the easiest, but it seems he could not have chosen otherwise. ‘I was born in a village and attended a small school: I had only three peers in the class. I was a loner, but it suited me. I liked nature. There was a lot of earth and clay around and they say I could model it into various things as a boy,’ he says. Since he also drew well, he was thinking of architecture or painting. His secondary school teachers discovered his modelling and form shaping abilities, which later became useful in his work with ceramics. DESIGNALIVE.PL
DZIAŁ 97 PEBBLES in the crowd
SU-MIN cups during manufacture
IT IS A CHALLENGE TO THINK UP AN OBJECT BOTH WELL MADE AND CHEAP
The model-making shop
However, he first worked in the Extravagance gallery in Sosnowiec, convinced that painting was his destiny. He painted and organized exhibitions for other artists, but felt that something was wrong. He decided to come back to his profession of ceramist and at the same time search for his way in life. In 1995 he started working at Porcelana Śląska [Silesian Porcelain], where he managed the pattern shop for about a dozen years. He gained experience, carried out his first designs and opened his own model-making shop: Modelarnia Ceramiczna [Ceramics model-making shop]. ‘Of course it cost me a lot of work and sacrifice. Sometimes I made designs for the factory not for the money, but for the material and the possibility to bake my objects in kilns,’ he admits. One of his first designs for Porcelana Śląska, made in the early 1990s, were the Iris [Irys] and Calla [Kalia] vases. ‘I wanted the vase to be what the frame is for a painting. Flowers are central here. Sure, a vase looks good also when it is empty, but it begins to speak only after you put flowers in it,’ he states.
For all time
Those days, he also created Pebbles, Tomaszów and many other designs, all governed by the same rule. ‘I always design objects that I would like to own myself,’ he declares. He is lucky to have a wise advisor by his side: his wife Beata is usually the first critic of his works. ‘She has a great sense. She may deny it, but I know it very well. She can tell me a lot. She was my first friend ever: I met her when I was a bit over 20 years old. With time, our friendship became something more,’ he reveals. Four years ago, he and his family settled down in Cieszyn, after changing places several times. The longest period – 14 years – he had spent in Dąbrowa Górnicza. ‘I have always liked living in places where I could walk and get to every spot on foot. However, I also need a studio where I can carry out my ideas, a café, cinema and bookshop. When our son Adam was born, this list was extended by a kindergarten, playground and school,’ he says. His son was an inspiration for the project named A Souvenir from Cieszyn [Pamiątka z Cieszyna]. It all started with playing by the Olza River and watching DESIGNALIVE.PL
I MAY LACK SOMETHING JUST BECAUSE I CANNOT FIND AN OBJECT THAT WOULD FULFIL ALL MY REQUIREMENTS, BUT WHEN I FINALLY GET IT, I WANT IT TO STAY WITH ME ALL MY LIFE
the treasures that it was throwing out on its banks. ‘I find it hard to talk about the Souvenir project; I guess it would be easier to write a small poem about it,’ he laughs. ‘It is a contemplation of the charm and beauty of an object. In the past, art was connected with sacrum, but it was still an object; today it has ceased to be object-like. A Souvenir from Cieszyn is a liberal art project and a certain anecdote on a utility object which becomes useless, but retains that little bit of beauty,’ he explains. It is also a social project, carried out with children from the Na Granicy [On the border] Political Critique Youth Club in Cieszyn. They discover the ‘treasures’ such as glass and ceramic pieces and then wash and sort them. After consulting an archaeologist and an art historian, these are put in specially designed miniature showcases, each of which is labelled and numbered before it goes out into the world. The Souvenirs have already been sent all over Europe, to Argentina and Sri Lanka. The money gained by selling them will allow the children from the youth club to go on a trip or to the cinema.
Bogdan Kosak’s engagement in this project is not surprising when one learns his definition of happiness, success and fulfilment. ‘Young people often think of choosing a good school, job and work to earn a lot of money in order to buy a car and other things. Still, I never felt that need; it did not impress me,’ he sums up. He recalls the days when his grandma used to take him for a walk in the forest. On the edge of it there was a wooden house with a dirt floor. ‘Those were the 1970s and yet the people who lived there never complained though they did not even have electricity at home. When grandma talked to them, I did not get an impression that their life was a failure. Now that I have lived in this world for some time, I realize that what matters most in life is life. You have to live it honestly, in line with what your conscience tells you, and when it comes to owning more or less refined objects…’ he pauses.
BOGDAN KOSAK was b������������������������������������ orn in 1966 in Sumin. He is a graduate of a secondary ceramics school Średnie Studium Ceramiczne in Katowice (1987). He designs utility porcelain objects and ceramic sculptures. In 1995 he opened his own studio Modelarnia Ceramiczna in Dąbrowa Górnicza and in 2011 he moved his activity to Cieszyn. He has made designs for Porcelana Śląska, BGH Network and Kera Ceramika. In the years 1995–2006 he managed the pattern shop in Porcelana Śląska in Katowice, while in the years 2006–2008 he was the company’s technology specialist. He has participated in fourteen individual and forty six collective exhibitions. He was a winner of the main prize in Śląska Rzecz 2006 and 2011 competitions as well as a nominee in Prodeco 2007, Prodeco 2008 and Śląska Rzecz 2009 competitions. He won the grant of the Silesian Voivodeship Marshal’s Office in Katowice in 2013. www.ceramikakosak.pl
NURTURING THE CHAOS Gardening is a continuous dialogue between freedom and control. On the one hand, there are nicely trimmed hedges and perfectly even beds with collections of neatly catalogued rare plants. On the other hand, we see the unbridled forces of nature in action. How do you balance those two extreme conditions? BY: ELIZA ZIEMIŃSKA PHOTOS: PIET OUDOLF
iet Oudolf is without a doubt one of the most famous greenery designers worldwide. His naturalistic and yet picturesque style, as well as promoting the use of perennials in public spaces have influenced the whole generation of gardeners. Plant varieties obtained in his home nursery can be seen all over Europe and the USA. This exceptional story began in 1981, when Oudolf and his wife established their own garden in Hummelo in the Netherlands. Oudolf was longing for spontaneity, so he wished to create a free, natural landscape. Owing to sufficient experience, he could cross and develop various plant species. In the same location, he opened a nursery (now known worldwide) where new perennial varieties are discovered and cultivated. He became famous after carrying out a few public space designs, i.a. the High Line Park in New York, the pavilion of Serpentine gallery in London designed by Peter Zumthor, the Lurie Garden in Chicago and the reconstruction of Queen Elisabeth II Park in London. Working in the urban space allowed him to share his ideas with the public. The Dutch gardenerâ€™s designs are distinguished by a strong bond with nature. His gardens are abundant yet delicate. Searching for inspiration in natural landscapes, he has developed a style which could be described as organic, ecological and spontaneous, though not wild. Trying to imitate nature, the designer plants greenery in groups which can be found in real landscapes. Plans of beds are precise and well thought out, but they do not resemble stiff, trimmed, gravelcovered, animal- and insect-unfriendly gardens the slightest bit. DESIGNALIVE.PL
The High Line Park in New York: established on closed railway tracks, from the very beginning it has attracted strollers longing for contact with greenery in the heart of the big city. An incredible abundance of grasses, leaves and flowers contrasts with the steel bridge elements and the concrete. On the distance of approx. 2 km, you can walk aÂ forest path, lie on a meadow and traverse the fields. This design best shows Oudolfâ€™s turn towards nature. The greenery is apparently planted chaotically and accidentally; it resembles a natural landscape more than a romantic garden. Oudolf planted here only native plants which could naturally grow in the region. Owing to that, the place is attractive also for insects and animals living in the city.
Nurturing greenery is an endless process. How do you introduce some stability to this system? Knowing the life cycle of a plant, Oudolf knows what is happening to it not only in full blossom, but also when it sheds that blossom and withers. Discovering charm in fading and inscribing the whole life cycle of the plant in the greenery design makes the garden attractive in every season. Planning such spaces requires thorough knowledge of plant behaviour in time. Though the Dutch designer is already 70, he admits that he has only felt truly free in designing for a short time – since he discovered that only knowledge gave complete freedom. The secret of durability of Oudolf’s designs is perennials. Appropriately selected, they do not choke up one another, and they are strong enough to simply keep weeds at bay. The trick is to create sets of plants and not collections of individuals, as well as to limit the number of self-propagating plants, replacing them with perennials so as to make regular trimming irrelevant. Piet Oudolf’s work can be compared to that of a musician: his inconspicuous gardens are nearly as complex as a symphony for a full-size orchestra. Just as the composer knows precisely how the individual instruments influence the piece, Oudolf can foresee the complexity of processes taking place among the plants. The size – a small garden or a five-hectare park – does not matter: the essence is the creation of a biotope which accommodates for plants, moles, voles, insects and... the human, for whom the interaction with nature and nurturing the garden is a source of balance and a feeling of belonging in the ecosystem.
‘I AM FASCINATED WITH THE BEAUTY OF PLANTS. THEY ARE TOOLS WHICH LET ME EXPRESS MYSELF BY DESIGNING LANDSCAPES AND GARDENS,’ PIET OUDOLF SAYS
108 LIFESTYLE PIET OUDOLF A Dutch born in 1944 in Haarlem. He is one of the most influential contemporary garden designers, as well as a seed grower and author of well-known albums on greenery design. He is a leading member of the New Perennials movement which promotes planting perennials and grasses instead of traditional lawns and gardens
According to Katarzyna Bellingham, a gardener and author of many publications on the topic, the most common Polish gardens â€“ a lawn with thujas by the fence â€“ are very nature-unfriendly owing to lack of biodiversity. Piet Oudolf imitates nature: he introduces numerous plant species, thus attracting insects, birds and other animals which can find shelter and food in such gardens. They seem to require much more work and nurturing than an ordinary lawn with a hedge, but the situation is just the opposite. The basis of those nature-imitating beds is perennials, which are easy to maintain, do not suffer from diseases, can endure in various conditions and do not require artificial fertilizers or chemical-containing sprays. They are so robust and planted so densely that the weeds do not even appear there. Perennials are trimmed once a year; they must also be bedded and, once in a few years, fertilized with natural composted manure â€“ this is all you need to know to cultivate such a garden.
More advice from Katarzyna Bellingham on: katarzynabellingham. blogspot.com DESIGNALIVE.PL
ABOUT THE LAMB SHOULDER BLADE
GRZEGORZ KWAPNIEWSKI BUTCHER WRITES 109
To a resident of lowlands belonging to Poland since 1945 (plus the period of 1121–1181 ), i.e. areas of former state farms, and a townie on top of that, lamb meet seemed like a mammoth of sorts: it had existed and then became extinct. Well, they say someone saw it somewhere in the Sub-Carpathian region BY: GRZEGORZ KWAPNIEWSKI PHOTOS: IGOR HALOSZKA
The recipe was developed during the work on a book entitled Chef's Table, which will be published soon. It will contain recipes and stories by the best Polish chefs and suppliers of real, high-quality food. The culture of cooking and eating will be presented by i.a. Aleksander Baron, Paweł Suwała and Grzegorz Kwapniewski
saw it. Lamb is trivial. For a townie, it consists of chops which run around wrapped up in wool. Then they are collected into a bowl and taken to a restaurant where they end up on a plate. Two or three pieces per dish – perfect for a 188 cm tall model who weighs 45 kg and has just started dieting. A regular man stops feeling hungry after 12 such pieces and starts thinking about dinner right afterwards anyway. Luckily, I own a meet shop and sell all chops right away. What do you know! The lambs that I get also have two legs and two shoulder blades. We once roasted a blade at home for four people: me, my wife and two daughters. After eating one third of the meat, the girls started a fight. I remembered that my wife had forgotten to hang out
laundry in the attic and had to do that immediately. And the girls? They needed to do their homework! What do you know! Now I realize it is just as well that lambs have two blades – perfect for four people, including two daughters… Cooking a delicious lamb blade requires six minutes of preparation. All you need is find good lamb. I recommend the Uhrusk, Merino and Świniarka sheep breeds. Regarding the Polish Blackface, either it is very uneven or my shepherd supplier used to cheat me: one day the meat was fantastic, while another time – tough like a woman’s heart. Rub the blade (with the bone!) with salt, pepper and a bit of olive oil. Put a rosemary twig on the top and bottom. Divide a garlic head into cloves without peeling
GRZEGORZ KWAPNIEWSKI An economist by profession. Upon noticing that he no longer felt satisfied by working at a desk, he understood that what he loved most was meat and wine. He became a butcher and now supplies the best meat to twenty restaurants
its skin and spread them around the meat. Wrap the blade a few times in aluminium foil. Make it tight so that you see no holes: the sauce cannot flow out. Heat the oven to 250 degrees. Put the blade inside and immediately lower the temperature to 180 degrees. Leave for four hours. On return, just put the blade on a plate and get ready to fight for the last bites. When I first heard this recipe, I decided to roast the blade for two hours. Indeed, the meat was delicious and soft; actually, it is ready between the 40th and 60th minute of roasting. There is one trick, though: the blade is not a fully formed bone. In a lamb, gristle may constitute up to one third of it. Gristle takes four hours to melt in the oven… and then in the mouth.
110 MUST HAVE
A selection by founders of fashion brand Risk made in Warsaw ANTONINA SAMECKA
I inherited a thoroughly developed sense of collecting from my grandmother. My budget is divided into three basic parts: travel, design and shoes – in any order
PLATONIC SOLIDS When I was a child, my father, a mathematician by profession, constructed them using cardboard any time he needed to relax. There were plenty of them in the house, in all possible colours, so I associate them with childhood. Whenever I see them, I take a picture and send it to my dad. This photo comes from the Tel Aviv Museum of Art. www.tamuseum.org.il ABICI A perfect bike. Fantastic to ride, it looks inconspicuous but is miraculous: a piece of handicraft hand-assembled in Italy with wooden handles. It comes beautifully packed and with a label saying who made your bike for you. Mine was assembled by Daniele. www.abici-italia.it LOYAL LOOT My friends keep joking that my flat looks like a gallery of modern design and the exhibition changes just as often. The current central point is bowls made of tree trunk. They are so beautiful that I do not keep anything in them. www.loyalloot.com EARPHONES My trademark: everyone knows that when I am wearing them, I am working. I am partial to the gold and silver colour, probably because they match a tracksuit well. www.nixon.com
EAT ME I am obsessed with packagings, so what fascinates me most about the cafe I am about to open is the very idea. Few books on branding are served as good as Eat me. Appetite for Design: concentrated on food, deliciously designed and marvellously edited. www.broadwaybooks.net ISABEL MARANT Shoes are like design: I like it if they have a perverse concept. Thus, I mainly wear those by Isabel Marant, who made wedgeheeled sneakers famous a few seasons ago. They are a shoe-shaped expression of sexy intellect: non-obvious, interesting and very feminine, but never vulgar. www.isabelmarant.com
PHOTOS: AUTHORS' ARCHIVES, PRESS MATERIALS
OSKAR ZIETA When I love, I love with all my heart, so my entire office is dominated by white inflated furniture by Oskar Zięta. I am the kind that brings home not only work, but also furniture: I have Zięta’s set at home as well, but in the silver version. www.zieta.pl
Though my fondness of pastel colours could suggest a more romantic nature, I receive pocket knives as birthday presents. As a bit old-fashioned person, I am partial to objects from the lumber room apart from the well-designed ones SWEET AS HONEY Polish design can boast with world-class events and objects. Shelves by Divadlo order my life at home and in the office, just like the self-watering wall-mounted Florama flowerpot, hand-made Purpura tiles or the cabinet with an illustration entitled ‘Dwie baby’ [two women] by illustrator Magdalena Pankiewicz. www.divadlo.pl ŁUCZNIK SEWING MACHINE A tailor’s first love. Nowadays we use Juka, a digital miracle of Japanese technology in our workshop, but the old Łucznik machine still works, indestructible like a tank. When the elastic band of the drive broke, I replaced it with a bra strap and the machine has functioned that way for a few years now. For me it is an icon. www.lucznik.info SCARLETT O’GREY There is a reason for the fact that women wore long dresses for ages – one looks miraculous in them. This dress was nicknamed ‘housecoat’ at first because it was inspired by a grandma’s outfit used while (that’s right!) tidying and cooking. Our grandmothers were indeed able to run the house with style. www.riskmadeinwarsaw.com BULBS I reckon that the directive on replacing the regular bulbs with the energy-saving ones is a crime against humanity. I entered the grey zone and spent a fortune shopping online on the Allegro website: I bought plenty of (not so long ago cheap and popular) half-chrome bulbs, round bulbs and candle-shaped bulbs because their light is the only one I tolerate. Recently I have discovered that the regular bulbs can be bought in shops as ‘shock-resistant.’ Long live creativity! In design… and in evading unreasonable law. HAY I do not fancy monopoly, but if someone furnished and decorated my entire house with Hay products, I would be grateful. The Danish brand makes objects for everyday use; their designers include Clara von Zweigbergk as well as Scholten-&-Baijings – my favourites owing to the combination of sweetness and minimalism. And the best one? Oskar Zięta. www.hay.dk ULTRAMINI Our Risk mini-wallet has forced me to throw away my old library card which expired and to remove irrelevant receipts more often than every six months. I now wear the gold version, but chances are I will betray it and go for the silver one. www.riskmadeinwarsaw. com ALEXANDER MCQUEEN He was not only a genius as a visionary and designer (which is quite obvious), but also a fantastic constructor. He had gained experience in British tailor workshops and his clothes can do miracles with the silhouette. I could but pass stilettos in his studio just to see how he works. Unfortunately, it is too late. www.alexandermcqueen.com
CARBON FOOTPRINT OF A FLIGHT Upon seeing how much rubbish is produced during a flight, some vent their righteous indignation on an innocent flight attendant, while others curse under their breath. What is worse, nobody thinks of sorting. What has happened to the rules and ecological thinking? However, none of them knows that thinking on the plane needs to go along different lines…
ach touchdown means kilograms of rubbish, which seem to multiply incessantly. A passenger flight is a special event, a small ecosystem with its own rules. What ecology forbids on the ground proves advisable in the air. Few people know that all the rubbish from transcontinental flights, including disposable plates, must be burned afterwards to prevent epidemics, according to the international air law. Thus, sorting the rubbish onboard would be a waste of time. ‘We reluctantly watch the flight attendants collecting tons of rubbish, but a light disposable item is better than a heavier reusable plate,’ says Ruud Vanderheyden, a design director at deSter, a Belgian company which is the world’s biggest producer of plates and accessories for plane cabins of nearly all airlines. If your cup or fork has a five-pointed star, it means that deSter’s 20-people design team worked on it. Their newest idea is ultra light and durable cutlery made of plastic DESIGNALIVE.PL
mixed with sawdust. Such combination prevents further processing of the plastic, which is completely environmentally unfriendly on the ground, but not in the air. It turns out that the most important factor reducing the negative environmental impact is lowering the weight even of a single cup: each additional gram increases the aircraft fuel consumption. ‘We search for light plastics. This is the most important factor, but we also examine their composition as regards the environmental influence while burning. We select fillers and dyes so as to obtain the lowest possible carbon footprint,’ claims Filip Fransen, who manages the designing for Asian clients. ‘We design the whole service, not just the objects. Flight logistics is an incredible network of relationships, norms, deadlines and limited spaces. We design whole systems of transport, storage, catering and waste management. Some like to design in freedom, but for us all those limitations are a challenge,’ he adds. Sometimes deSter releases special editions of plates and cutlery, whose production includes
collaboration with famous designers: for instance, Michael Young designed flight sets for Cathay Pacific, while Marcel Wanders – plates and cutlery for KLM. However, most designs are created by the company’s team, where the set of airline rules, ecological restrictions and the whole flight cycle determine the creation of, say, new cutlery. The aim is for each subsequent flight, multiplied by thousands every day, to have a smaller negative environmental impact. What can the passengers do to make the whole flight cycle more environmentally friendly? What should we do with a fork, sachet or toothbrush received onboard? At deSter they say that it is best to take them home and use again. ‘Especially the business class passengers tend to receive quite big hygiene sets, often in elegant sachets. Many of them are left onboard and the airlines must dispose of them even if they are unused. Therefore, we also try to create designs with alluring beauty, so that everyone can keep those items and turn them into a gift or find them a new role.’
PHOTOS: COURTESY OF DESTER, PRESS MATERIALS
TEKST: DARIA LINERT
THE ECO-CITY Though already in the 20th century could the man set his foot on the hostile surface of the Moon owing to the space research programme, the way to populate the most unfriendly corners of the globe has yet to be found. While the contemporary scientists make plans of building cities in the outer space, the deserts, ocean depths and boundless Arctic lands are still uninhabited, though they seem more inviting than the cosmic abyss BY: ELIZA ZIEMIŃSKA
In 2006 in the United Arab Emirates, an attempt was made to build the first self-sufficient and ecological city in the middle of a desert. Absurd as it may seem in a country abundant in crude oil, its resources are about to end. Thus, 17 km from Abu Dhabi the constructors built Masdar – the only city with a negative carbon footprint, which means that it produces more energy than it needs itself. The advanced nature of the research preceding the construction of the city, conducted in the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Boston, brought to mind the tests carried out by NASA to conquer the space. Masdar is supposed to confirm the theory that it is possible to erect a city which does not emit carbon dioxide, i.e. it is supplied with energy coming only from renewable sources. The design
was created in the studio of the famous architect Norman Foster. The layout resembles the ancient cities of the East: very narrow and short streets are aimed at limiting the access of sunlight and thus forcing air circulation. Masdar is no place for cars, either: most devices are turned on by movement in order to prevent energy loss. A significant part of the city has already been constructed. It is also known that the expenses will be 10–15% smaller than the previously expected USD 22 billion. This eco-city of the future is planned to be completed between 2015 and 2020. One can only wonder if we really need new utopian cities in the situation where we should first improve the existing metropolises, which require pro-ecological modernization...
REALITY SOFTWARE Time is up for chaotic running around in search for the desired product in a shop. Owing to the Polish platform called Estimote, our Smartphone will soon be able to help us locate the thing we need, find out about the available discounts, pay without queuing or order a home delivery. Estimote Beacon is a young Cracow-based company founded by Jakub Krzych, a Jagiellonian University graduate, and Łukasz Kostka, a graduate of the AGH University of Science and Technology. The result of their cooperation is Beacon – a small sensor utilizing the Bluetooth Low Energy technology and able to exchange information with a mobile phone that has an appropriate application installed. These small transmitters conduct so-called micro-localization, which allows for precise tracking of movement, e.g. of a client in the shop, and thus also personalization of messages on discounts or matching products. Beacons have many other applications, i.a. in museums, where they help the visitor in navigation and provide information on the exhibits. This system was first implemented in the Neon Museum in Warsaw: Beacons turn on a multimedia guide containing photos and descriptions of neon signs kept in the museum, as well as a map showing their locations in communist Poland. The number of applications will be determined by time and creativity of clients, who have just smelled a chance to develop their business using the tiny Polish ‘bean.’ Their number grows: as they claim at Estimote, the product is already being sold worldwide. The price? Only 99 US dollars for three pieces. The sensors are manufactured in Cracow, but the company has already opened an office in Mountain View, in the heart of Silicon Valley, where works are conducted on releasing Beacons on the American market. Estimote also received the title of the best equipment-manufacturing start–up at last year’s TechCrunch conference, which gathers young innovative companies and serious investors. Though the invention of the Cracow team arouses controversies related to privacy in the public domain and data protection, it can simply support activities such as shopping or navigation in unknown buildings. www.estimote.com. eliza ziemińska
114 FACE BACK Greece by Khuan+Ktron graphic design studio. See more on p. 32
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FALL IN LOVE IN PARIS… WITH A SOUP BOWL
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