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Magazine of Fine Ideas

№ 17 Spring 2016   Collector’s edition milan design week 2016

surprise collector's edition  17

Dossier: #sensorialcarpentry


BeoLab 90 is our most advanced loudspeaker to date featuring g

BANG & OLUFSEN CENTRUM P iękna 18, 00-549 Warszawa +48 22 BANG & OLUFSEN WILANÓW Klimczaka 1, 02-797 Warszawa +48

4 Dział


magazine of fine ideas designalivemag.com

6 Contents

17 NEWSLETTER 14 innovations, news, curiosities good beginnings

#SENSORIAL CARPENTRY 33 The Magic of wood must touch exhibition 36 Three partners, one fine idea! Barlinek, Tabanda, Design Alive

PEOPLE 38 Before Pola Dwurnik – painting between Warsaw and Berlin 78 Collector of ideas Alexandes von Vegesack 86 Henrik Lindberg his point of view 93 A chair can be sexy please, have a seat next to the Tomek Rygalik 113 ALICJA WOŹNIKOWSKA– WOŹNIAK Strong Back Maria Dek

ART OF LIFE 44 A Different reality artifficial, augmented… 112 Waiting for the Monck I have made a ski factory – Szymon Girtler

LAMPSHADES by Polish designer Aleksandra Kujawska are made of manually ground crystal glass. Egoist is a series of sculptures with sophisticated forms dyed in the mass. This selfcontained perfection has already been shown at “The Polish Table” exhibition in Milan. Their shape will add dynamics and beauty to every interior. On request. www.aleksandrakujawska.pl THE PROTOTYPE hidden under one of the cones is a paper bracelet model from the latest collection by Aleksandra Przybysz named Air. Inspired with the Beijing Olympic stadium, Tod’s Tokyo headquarters and the interiors of line 4 of Budapest underground, the designer created jewellery which combines fragile, ephemeral forms with robust stainless steel structure. www.aleksandraprzybysz.pl THE PARTITION is supposed to influence creativity at work due to its geometrical form with broken lines – and it certainly does ensure both personal space and work space owing to its acoustic properties. Moreover, it was made of biodegradable materials: natural wool and aluminium. Mobile partitions by Vank are simultaneously robust and pleasantly soft, making you feel safe, intimate and comfortable in “your world”. They are available in several versions (single, double, desktop etc.). See also p. 21. On request. www.vank.pl

THINGS 50 Surprise! inspiring books, things to love 56 Unobvious sources of creativity 105 Paris, London, Prague… caught at design events 108 THE ART OF CHOICE Katarzyna Świętek A Citizen of Warsaw 111 FASHION Selling the past as the future

ARCHITECTURE AND PLACES 64 MAREK WARCHOŁ Architectural Phrase Let them surprise you 68 Boundless sacrum Alpine chapel 72 ARCHICONS The reflection of time Sonneveld family house

DESIGN ALIVE AWARDS 2015 91 Thank you for being with us again! 94 EDYTA OŁDAK Animateur of 2015 98 TYLKO Strategist of 2015 102 GOSIA I TOMEK RYGALIK Creator of 2015

ART 118 Free time is fantastic Fine arts at the root of the Polish Tatra Mountains 120 Norwerian Wood captured by Andreas Lie







8 Editor’s Letter Snæfellsjökull, 9.03.2016 HönnunarMars means DesignMarch. My biggest surprise of last 12 months! To discover why? You must go to Iceland next year. See you on 23.–26.03.2017 in Reykjavik! Or somewere on a glacier.


Let yourself to be surprised!

Definition after: dictionary.cambridge.org



10 authors

Andreas Lie photographer

Jacek Kołodziejski photographer

Krzysztof Pacholak photographer

He is a 25-year-old student of engineering fascinated by photography. His works are inspired by mountains and wilderness around Haugesund, Norway, where he grew up as well as seven peaks overgrown with forest which surround Bergen, where he currently lives. In this issue, he surprises the readers with photographs of nature – images of animals and landscapes created by double exposure. The works can be purchased via www.society6.com (p. 120)

as well as a film maker and a creator of art installations. He graduated from the Faculty of Multimedia Communication of the University of Arts in Poznań. He also studied film and photography in the Higher School of Art and Design in Łódź. His recent projects include posters promoting the film Miasto 44 at international festivals and a photo shoot of Polish writer Dorota Masłowska promoting a project entitled Mister D. He successfully explores commercial photography and art. The combination of advertising photography style with the artistic aspect determines the distinctive and recognizable style of his work. His projects often make fetishes of physical or behavioural features. He considers working with a person on the set as a very creative process, so he rarely depicts the person just the way they are. This is perfectly visible in photographs presenting the latest jewellery collection by TAKK – Aphelium, which we show in this issue (p. 16).

as well as a cultural manager. He conducts photographic workshops for children, teenagers and adults. He has been connected with Warsaw-based Association of Creative Initiatives “ę” since 2003 – he works on educational and artistic projects such as “Snapshots”, “Photopresentations”, “Polis(h) Photo Lab”, “Polska.Doc” and “Kino Filmów Dokumentalnych” (documentary films – editor’s note) as well as collaborates on the Young Creatives Cooperative. He is a member of the Travelling Culture Animators network. He was born in 1985 and graduated in sociology from the Institute of Applied Social Sciences (ISNS) of the University of Warsaw as well as in photography from the Institute of Creative Photography in Opava, Czech Republic. For this issue, he photographed the winners of Design Alive Awards 2015 (p. 91–104).


COLLECTOR'S COVER Surprise by Maria Dek (more p. 121)

Editor-in-Chief Ewa Trzcionka e.trzcionka@designalive.pl Art Director Bartłomiej Witkowski b.witkowski@designalive.pl Online Editor Wojciech Trzcionka w.trzcionka@designalive.pl Editorial Staff Sylwia Chrapek, Julia Cieszko, Angelika Ogrocka, Łukasz Potocki, Piotr Gnalicki, Eliza Ziemińska Columnists Marek Warchoł, Alicja WoźnikowskaWoźniak Contributors Dariusz Stańczuk rmf Classic, Mariusz Gruszka Ultrabrand, Jan Lutyk, Rafał Soliński Logo and layout Bartłomiej Witkowski Ultrabrand

Marketing and Advertising Director Iwona Gach i.gach@designalive.pl Publishing Director Wojciech Trzcionka w.trzcionka@designalive.pl International sale Mirosław Kraczkowski mirekdesignalive@gmail.com Advertising reklama@designalive.pl mob.: +48 602 15 78 57 mob.: +48 602 57 16 37 Subscriptions prenumerata@designalive.pl Publisher Presso sp. z o.o. ul. Głęboka 34/4, 43-400 Cieszyn, Poland e-mail: presso@designalive.pl

Translation Eleonora Pawłowicz DTP Ultrabrand Editorial office ul. Głęboka 34/4, 43-400 Cieszyn, Poland redakcja@designalive.pl

Copyright © 2016, Presso sp. z o.o. Reproduction in whole or in part without express permission is strictly prohibited. Design Alive will not return unsolicited materials and reserves the right to edit recieved materials. The Publisher is not responsible for the content of the featured advertising and has right to refuse to publish an advertisement if its form or content are in conflict with the regulations or nature of the magazine or portal.

desiGNaliveMAG.com designaliveMAG.com



14 newsletter


Toss a coin in a Change Box

They say that a small change can make a big difference, but how do you make that change? How do you design for the good? Benjamin Hubert and London-based Layer studio decided to create Change Box: a simple and practical money box that also pleases the eye. The organization for which they designed it is called Maggie’s and focuses on supporting people having cancer as well as their families and friends. Developing a tool which collects money and reflects the organization’s values – that was the creators’ goal. And they made it, www.layerdesign.com Sylwia Chrapek



Technology for nature In the past, nature was of help to technological achievements – now the time has come for innovations to support nature. At least this is what Sarah Daher believes. The Brazilian graduated in interior and product design in Barcelona and then in contextual design from the famous academy in Eindhoven. Her diploma project was Air Culture. Light, temperature, water and humidity are the most important elements in growing plants, so why not combine the possibilities offered by nature with scientific knowledge? Flora enclosed in glass capsules gives you more room for manoeuvre. Water from the first object is filtered to the second one with rosemary inside and from there, air goes to the third one. The system proposed by the designer allows for ecosystem hybridization through aerodynamic flow. A prototype, www.sarahdaher.com Tekst: Angelika Ogrocka


Photos: Siavash Maraghechi, courtesy LAYER DESIGN

in glass capsules

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3 The universe is black, so the photographer behaved almost like a stage designer: he went for a model with a heavy make-up. Photos: Jacek Kołodziejski; styling: Marta Harner Studio & Małgosia Poznańska; make-up: Ala Gabillaud; model: Samia Magda Mja.

A look at the stars

In astronomy, aphelion [Polish: aphelium] is a point in the orbit where the celestial body is farthest from the Sun. It is also the name of the newest collection of silver jewellery by TAKK. The leitmotif of all designs by the Polish jewellery brand founded by Agnieszka Kuczyńska and Katarzyna Orłowska is their concept, which refers to natural phenomena. Previous product series by TAKK were inspired by earth and its physical properties, while the recent ones look up at the stars. The material was not selected by coincidence, either: one source of silver is star explosion – astrophysicists have discovered that this mineral appeared also during supernova explosions. Thus, the entire jewellery is hand-made of silver. The Aphelium collection includes a necklace and two kinds of earrings, www.takk.pl Text: Wojciech Trzcionka Photos: Jacek Kołodziejski



fot. Jan Lutyk

Discover the new visage of metal and set your eyes on quality design.


18 newsletter

Digital and organic Pastel and subtle

Andreas Nichols Fischer is an artist working in Berlin. In his works, he examines the scope of digital media. His latest series, entitled “Schwarm”, was made using an autonomous system downloaded on an open source basis. The painter (if that is what Fischer can be called...) reckons that the software broadens his artistic capabilities. What does his creation process look like? First, he develops an algorithm and then opens the program to design a picture – one picture takes 24 hours to three days. Finally, it is printed and a pastel collage is ready, www.anf.nu Angelika Ogrocka


Schwarm2015 Orange























A Swedish greenhouse

with a view of Vättern How to join a typical barn with a greenhouse? Tailor Made Arkitekter, a studio which designed Uppgrenna Nature House, knows the answer. Traditional Swedish architecture, i.e. the Nature House concept developed by Benght Warne in the 1970s, inspired the designers, who created a spa and a meeting place all in one. It consists of three elements: an insulated building, glass surfaces (which ensure protection against atmospheric conditions as well as provide an immense amount of light and beautiful views) and a wastewater recycling system. The architects highlight that their vision while developing the design allowed them to create a self-sufficient house which produces food instead of waste. This also explains why so much greenery can be found there – some of those plants bear fruit and vegetables. The Uppgrenna Nature House is located in southern Sweden on the shore of Lake Vättern, www.tailor-made.se Sylwia Chrapek

Photos: courtesy Tailor Made Arkitekter, Odd Matter



newsletter 21


The recipe for liberation

VANK is more than just utility objects VANK is a new Polish brand which offers not only seats, but also beautiful and functional aluminium tables (i.a. with adjustable height), partitions and acoustic cubicles. This furniture is suitable not only for offices, reception desks, halls and cafes, but also for home use. This year, VANK has won two prestigious iF Design Awards. “To us, the pieces of VANK furniture are more than just utility objects: they are sculptures which determine the atmosphere of a room. Our aim was the creation of a sophisticated space which would achieve perfection owing to craft,” says Anna Vonhausen, head of VANK. “The objects that surround us say the most about ourselves. We believe that objects with intelligent design, carefully made using new technologies, are the recipe for liberation from mediocrity and temporariness. VANK is also a spatial sign signalling our attitude to ecology,” Anna Vonhausen remarks, www.vank.pl

Photo: vank

Łukasz Potocki


22 newsletter

The time machine This space, which brings to mind the style from half a century ago, is a new acquisition of Southbank Centre from London. The archive was designed by Jonathan Tuckey Design architecture studio; it is a reading room, a library and a conference room all in one. The bookshelf system used in the project comes from the 1950s – the period when the Centre was established. Thus, the new space not only fulfils the storage function, but also tells the story of the building it serves. www.southbankcentre.co.uk

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photos: Dirk Lindner; drawing: courtesy Southbank

Eliza Ziemińska


ARCHITEXTILES on the catwalk

Showered with awards, textured fabrics by Polish designer Aleksandra Gaca had previously appeared mainly in rooms as furnishing elements and acoustic panels. They played the same role in fashion houses belonging to Hermes in Korea and China – and we now know it was just the beginning of Architextiles’ fashion adventures. Fabrics from Floro series were used in this year’s Autumn/ Winter collection by Iris van Herpen. Now, after their presentation during the Paris Fashion Week, you can find them in boutiques around the world. The photo shoot presenting the combination of fashion and architecture was done by Studio Matusiak Amsterdam in cooperation with Eddy Wenting Photography for Aleksandra Gaca Textile Design, www.aleksandragaca.nl, www.irisvanherpen.com

Photo: eddy wenting

Eliza Ziemińska


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Remarkable stickers

How do you add variety to office space or facilitate finding information during studying? The creators of Sticky Page Makers have found a solution! They replaced colourful sticky notes with images of landscapes and cities. New York, Tokyo, London, the sky, the desert and the ocean are all thematic series offered by Duncan Shotton studio. Stick them on a page and you will get an incredible composition: Godzilla attacking skyscrapers, the Loch Ness monster diving in the deep (or the paper in this particular case...) or aliens traversing Mars. Work with documents doesn’t have to be monotonous at all! www.dshott.co.uk Angelika Ogrocka



A positive message


You Can Do It!

Be strong. Be brave. Think positive. Love yourself. Breathe. – such are the messages carried by tattoos designed by psychologist Fransesca Timbers. These temporary stickers are applied in a very simple way: the quotes are put on drawings which resemble sticking plasters. You select your message, apply it to the skin and moisten it. When you get bored with the quote or need a different motivational support, you just have to wash off the tattoo – and apply a new one, of course, preferably in an immediately visible place, www.motivationaltattoos.com Angelika Ogrocka

photos: courtesy motivationaltattoos, Duncan Shotton

Office landscapes


Tame the plug

What links Hong Kong and London? If you have ever been to either of them, you probably know that charging a phone or connecting a hair drier to the mains may present a problem of sorts. This is caused by a rather characteristic plug and it seems that we’re not the only ones troubled by it. A Hong Kong team OneAdaptr decided to modify the old plug a bit in order to make it finally satisfy contemporary needs. They created Flip – an adapter which has a USB connection and can be plugged into a socket. It is much thinner than the traditional plug, so it perfectly fits in all cases and its structure prevents scratching the surface of devices. It is also really easy to use when compared to other solutions of this kind – two steps are enough. It was designed in three versions: Duo, Quad and Power. The first one has two USB ports, the second – four, while the third – two and a power bank. The offer also includes special stickers with images allowing you to personalize your adapter. Flip was available in a presales at Kickstarter for as little as GBP 7–14. The first items are planned to be sent to customers in February 2016. www.oneadaptr.com

The beauty of coincidence

photos: courtesy Odd Matter Studio, oneadaptr

Unpredictable vases

No Sir is both an online shop and a brand promoting the female side of design. Its products include jewellery, furniture, lighting devices, textiles and home accessories. OVII vases, a unique combination of glass and copper, were designed by Odd Matter studio, which applied galvanization processes to join copper with glass as good as possible. Therefore, the edges of glass modules are painted first; then, the modules are immersed in a special bath and copper starts to form in the spots where paint was applied. Owing to those production processes, each vase takes on a unique character. The abovementioned bath is most important: even a small difference in tension, time or temperature can produce a totally different result. The vases are available in three sizes and three colour versions: mint, opalescent black and ivory. www.no-sir.com

Sylwia Chrapek

Sylwia Chrapek


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13 Local artefacts

The tissue of geometry

Al Sadu is a traditional weaving technique used i.a. by Bedouin women. These local and nearly antique abilities were used by Aljoud Lootah – a multidisciplinary designer coming from the United Arab Emirates. She watched skilled craftsmen and, with their help, created Misnad & Uwairyan. The hand-woven carpets refer to artefacts of nomadic communities. Textiles made of natural wool by women from the countryside become decorative elements themselves owing to colourful geometrical patterns. Thus, the old craftsmanship has been interpreted anew. The carpets are available on request. www.aljoudlootah.com

photos: courtesy Aljoud Lootah

Angelika Ogrocka



15 Delicate lines

The newest project by Nendo studio isn’t easy to describe: it significantly diverges from the furniture we know, which is universal, fits in every kind of interior and has shapes that we recognize on the spot. Oki Sato, the person behind the Nendo brand, decided to change the relationship between the space and the objects it contains. Border table is a set of variations: incredibly delicate objects seem to grow from the walls and columns, entwining around their untypical curves; they deal well even with difficult surfaces. It is a specific symbiosis of the space and the objects within it. The furniture consists of thin bars and small, round table tops (their diameter is only 100 mm!). As usual for Nendo, the design is original and minimalistic. The collection was exhibited in Eye of Gyre gallery in Omotesando during Tokyo Designers Week 2015, www.nendo.jp Tekst: Sylwia Chrapek

Photos: courtesy BANG & OLUFSEN, Hiroshi Iwasaki

simplicity and peace

newsletter 29

The future of sound The famous Danish brand Bang & Olufsen is celebrating its 90th anniversary by presenting the most innovative speakers on the market: BeoLab 90.

Bang & Olufsen is a cult brand for enthusiasts of good sound and highest-quality design. However, this Danish producer of audio-visual equipment never markets devices which “only” sound and look good: there is an innovation behind every new product. The situation is the same with BeoLab 90, equipped with Active Room Compensation – a new technology which compensates the influence of the room, furniture, location of the speakers and the precise location of the listener. Thus, it offers an incredible experience, making you feel virtually every sound it emits. BeoLab 90 also features a technology controlling sound width and direction: you can change the perception with one button, making the sound spread from one spot to the entire flat. Moreover, the device allows you to direct the soundwaves exactly at where you are. “BeoLab 90 is the future of sound. This intelligent speaker examines the acoustics of the surroundings and directs fantastic sound directly at the listener’s favourite spot. You don’t have to be close to it or even in front of it to experience this marvellous sound,” says Tue Mantoni, CEO of Bang & Olufsen. The new speaker by Bang & Olufsen also has a beautiful design: it resembles a black rock levitating above the ground and able to match virtually every kind of interior. “BeoLab 90 is an important investment in perfect craft, flawless materials and best technologies. Bang & Olufsen’s future products will draw on the innovation and skills we obtained while creating BeoLab 90,” Tue Mantoni concludes, www.bang-olufsen.com, www.beoplay.com Wojciech Trzcionka

The diagram The lamp is an agent between us and the light. It has two states: it can be turned on or off. This is how its function is revealed. But what is the lamp when it doesn’t emit light? A piece of wire, a shade and a button – can anything be added here? A Londonbased studio Odd Matter, inspired with circuit diagrams, gave those flat drawings a third dimension. This way, they created beautiful lamps from Node series, whose forms look precisely like enlarged circuit diagrams, www.oddmatterstudio.com Eliza Ziemińska

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DOUBLED After a few years of its premiere, DIAGO – an iconic chair from Tabanda design studio based in Gdańsk (Poland), is transforming into two new models: DIAGO Barstool and DIAGO Kitchen Stool. Its eye-catching origami shape invites you to have both, a morning caffe or evening pale ale. So, let’s meet&greet new DIAGO at Sensorial Carpentry Interactive Exhibition during Milan Design Week 2016 (Zona Tortona, via Tortona 28)! www.tabanda.pl


The magic of wood “Sensorial Carpentry”, a “must touch” interactive exhibition, is presented now in Milan. photo: szajewski.com

Located in a vibrant area of Zona Tortona during Milan Design Week 2016, “Sensorial Carpentry” presents wood in a straightforward and adept, yet unorthodox manner. Here you can feel like a natural-born woodworker or simply look at the material from a fresh angle. It depends on you what role you will play in this space. One of an observer? An explorer? Maybe an artist or creator? Pull on plaid woollen shirts, put lumberjack beards on your face and get thrilled by our timber world, full of wonderful sensory cues.



#SensorialCarpentry Exhibition location: Zona Tortona, via Tortona 28, Milan Opening hours: Tuesday 12th April – Saturday 16th April: 10:00 am – 8:00 pm, Sunday 19th April: 10:00 am – 5:00 pm Opening party/cocktail (open to the public): Monday 11th April 6:00 pm – 10:00 pm designalivemag.com


Touch the wood! Feel its roughness under your fingers, then compare it to the ultimate smoothness achieved with sandpaper polishing. Enjoy its gentle warmth. You can even give it a hug – it’s a very pleasant sensation.

The premiere show of Sensorial Carpentry took place during last year’s Lodz Design Festival in Poland. Look what a great fun we had and do it your way in Milan! Photo: szajewski.com, Marek Swoboda

Work with tools! They are the connection between the human imagination and raw matter. It’s the tools that allow you to bring form out of the wood: shape, scent, texture and sensation. The ones we have prepared for you served in many carpentries and mills before – each of them has plenty of experience and a broad dossier. To work in the wood with these is like to travel in time, perform a primordial study or conduct a creative analysis. The two-man saw offers plenty of fun and competition. This is the very first step in woodwork. Jack-planes and chisels will help you through the processes of further dividing, shaping and adjusting the material. Later on, with hand saws, sandpaper and gouges, you will delve into the details, applying the finishes and fully realizing your ideas. We will offer you braces, so that you can drill holes in a large oak plank, leaving behind an unusual signature. Every interaction with wood leaves a trace and results in a certain effect. To us, each piece of wood you modify will become a sort of a diary page.


Smell the wood! Inhale that unearthly scent that brings calm and relaxation, altering your mood and thoughts like aromatherapy. The fragrances of timber can act as an aphrodisiac. They embody freshness, nature, certain cosiness or even the very sense of feeling safe.

Look at the wood! Look at the wood carefully. Allow your eyes to travel along the lines and circles of timber growth rings and knots. Become fascinated with these unique patterns and drawings you can discover in every piece of wood. They might resemble a human eye, an owl or even one of Kandinsky’s abstract paintings.


Three partners one fine idea!

Dorota Karbowska-Zawadzka Barlinek


ensorial Carpentry is a place full of magic: magic that Barlinek, an engineered wood floors manufacturer, has been experiencing for more than 200 years now, consistently experimenting and creating; magic that Tabanda, a design studio, has been experiencing for 7 years so far, as carpentry proved to be the ground zero for each of their projects and ideas; and finally magic that inspired Design Alive Magazine to match partners together in one fine idea. We talked to three open-minded women, initiators and authors of Sensorial Carpentry: Dorota Karbowska-Zawadzka (Barlinek marketing director), Megi Malinowski (Tabanda head designer) and Iwona Gach (Design Alive marketing director). How did Sensorial Carpentry come into being? Iwona Gach: We simply wanted to have some fun chopping, sawing and drilling in wood! (she laughs) Design Alive Magazine has cooperated with Barlinek for several years now. Sensorial Carpentry is a part of a broader idea named “Creations of Nature”. We work together on many


Megi Malinowski Tabanda

interesting things which show the creative potential hidden in nature. We organize workshops for designers in Barlinek’s factories and a contest for new product designs; moreover, we think up a performance combining art, design and craft every year. Sensorial Carpentry was born out of the need to show how pleasant and nearly metaphysical it may be to deal with natural wood, interact with it, touch it, smell it and alter it using tools. We involved Tabanda design studio in this task because they’re the masters at building interaction with the audience. It’s all a lot of fun and sentimental attachment to the craftsmen’s old working methods, but we also wink at the audience because we take this opportunity to make some fun of lumbersexual style by putting on those artificial beards and pulling on plaid shirts. Barlinek wood is the heart of Sensorial Carpentry. The history of your company spans 200 years. Why is this material so important to you? Dorota Karbowska-Zawadzka: Wood is our basic material which we use to manufacture floorboards. Nature has been

Iwona Gach Design Alive

deep within us since the very beginning. We cannot even imagine working with another material. Barlinek’s sawmills and factories have gone a long way of evolution throughout that time: we have been enhancing our capacities and technological possibilities, but natural wood is always with us. How about Tabanda, then? What connects you with wood and nature? Megi Malinowski: The driving force of our design studio is fascination with the material – the desire to explore its potential and limitations. Plywood, Tabanda’s trademark, is manually processed by us, which makes the production personal. Consequently, our designs live their own lives. We developed a style based on subtle contrasts and unobvious combinations: we slip nature-inspired motifs into modern geometrical forms and join austere, industrial features with bright, joyful colours. The exhibition will show our chairs, bookshelves and tables because we have furnished the press zone with them. The exhibition was premiered last year in Poland during the Lodz Design Festival.

About Sensorial Carpentry partners: The Barlinek Group is one of the world’s leading manufacturers of engineered wood floors, with potential production of 9m m2 per annum. As well as the Barlinek floorboard, the group also produces certified flooring for sporting facilities, skirting boards and wood biofuels known for their high quality – wood pellets and fireplace briquettes. Barlinek has also initiated many programmes concerning environmental protection and ecological education. For many years now the company has been conducting its “1 for 1” programme, whereby the planting of one tree is co-financed for each purchased pack of Barlinek floorboards marked with a logo of this pro-ecological initiative. Barlinek’s Customer Forest now numbers almost 13 m trees! www.barlinek.com

PhotoS: szajewski.com, Lidia Popiel, courtesy Dorota karbowska-zawadzka

HELLO, we are Tabanda design studio. We would like to introduce you to our products and the key ideas behind them. Our work is driven by our love for the materials and curiosity about their potential and limitations. With every manually finished piece, we try to add something very intimate to each of our trademark plywood designs. As a result, our products gain a personality of their own. The ones that we have created so far have become full-fledged members of our team and very often hint us towards new ideas. Together we have developed a style based on subtle contrasts and juxtapositions: we smuggle organic themes into modern geometric shapes and balance raw industrial touch by joyful colours. We try to stick to our crucial motto – to design and produce cool things. We really hope you will enjoy them as much as we do. www.tabanda.pl

Iwona Gach: Yes – and it was so much fun! Sensorial Carpentry was the most crowded exhibition of the entire festival. It was really nice to see how many emotions it gave people – especially when using the two-man saw. (she laughs) The international audience in Milan is bound to love it, too! How often do you have the opportunity to become a woodcutter or a carpenter and work with a hand saw, a drill or a chisel, after all? And what about ecology? Wood means cut-down trees, doesn’t it? Dorota Karbowska-Zawadzka: It’s true and we cannot deny it. You need to cut down a tree to get a board. We run a responsible business activity: when we take something away from nature, we have to give something back to it afterwards. Therefore, we have implemented a program called “1 for 1”: we plant one three for every manufactured board pack. We currently act this way in several European countries. We will distribute trees in Milan, too: every person who visits Sensorial Carpentry will receive one oak sapling – they will get the noblest Polish tree.

What does your company gain owing to such unconventional actions as Sensorial Carpentry? Dorota Karbowska-Zawadzka: Such projects are multidimensional. First of all, we learn a lot and get to know the specificity of designers’ work; we then invite them to cooperate with us. Unconventional undertakings also provide us with a lot of feedback and we consolidate our identity of a brand connected with nature and wood. They’re also a sign that we’re willing to do and think more. We want to show our competence as one of the world’s biggest manufacturers of three-layer floors and skilfully combine the capacities of modern production lines, simultaneously creating products for very demanding consumers who expect not just a floor, but a full decoration of their interiors. Do woodcutters and carpenters really work in your factory? Of course! We have a special finish department where we manufacture a part of our most refined products. They process boards manually there, sometimes with the use of tools you will see at the exhibition! Thank you for your time.

Design Alive Magazine is all about fine life. It showcases trends, individualities, inspirations, ideas and novelties for open-minded readers sensitive to beauty. Breath-taking photographs and absorbing words are pervaded with versatile topics related to design, architecture, fashion, arts and lifestyle. This visually captivating magazine is an absorbing reading for those not indifferent either to fine objects or to inner human beauty and the beauty of interpersonal relations. Our readers, who aspire to an interesting life full of beauty and explorations, are presented with intriguing novelties and releases of world’s top designs and fashion. We invite you to go on a journey into the dimension of architecture, fine interiors and original places. Follow our hints and get yourself inspired. We introduce profiles of exceptional designers and authorities: you will get to know their passions, opinions and outstanding ideas. We also follow trendsetters and describe changes in our environment. Design Alive is more than 140 pages of breath-taking photo shoots, extraordinary arrangements and recommendations, coverage, reportages, exclusive interviews and commentaries. Now, going online, www.designalivemag.com welcomes you to Milan, the world’s heart of inspiring ideas, influential opinions and emotions. www.designalivemag.com designalivemag.com

38 Dział

BEFORE ‘Before the Orgy’ – that’s the painting behind me. I could talk about it for a long time; a lot is going on there. You don’t know what will happen in a moment... but I won’t deprive you of the pleasure to interpret it by yourselves” Pola Dwurnik Text and photos: Ewa Trzcionka


people 39 the neighbouring page BEFORE THE ORGY, 2012, oil on canvas, 150 × 210 cm. Painting dedicated to Andrzej Zaucha and Pierre Klossowski the next page ALL THIS, ALWAYS... 2014, oil on canvas, 150 × 210 cm. Courtesy Pola Dwurnik


niform colour patches and lines drawn with a thick brush using incompletely mixed paint – these are the artist’s trademarks; a seemingly simplified reality. Pola Dwurnik builds multi-layered works. When creating, she explores the images from her subconsciousness and dreams, sometimes balancing on the brink of exhibitionism. Sometimes she also seduces, misleads or even cheats and manipulates. When she uncovers the loin, a thigh or the neck and shoulders, does she cover the more precious things? She can also cleverly juggle the symbols and references to works of art, mythology, history and culture. Her erudition in drawing on all sources overawes the viewer. You see swarms of objects as well as human and animal silhouettes; you notice black pupils, tails, skulls, buttocks, feathers, blushed cheeks, computers and fangs... The adventure of initiation can only happen once. Thus, before my meeting with Pola I decided to forget. I forgot that four or five years ago, I saw her painting “The Smile of the Artist” in Agata and Oskar Zięta’s apartment. I forgot that “Apolonia’s Dream Garden” was about to appear on the opposite side soon. I forgot that she had sent me a book Girl on Canvas and that the book lay open on “Love” – a copy of the painting by her father Edward Dwurnik – for half a year. I forgot about Edward and the comments. I forgot the before. “Before the Orgy” was the first exhibition of the artist’s works with such a big scope. In response to an invitation submitted by Marek Zieliński, director of Ars Cameralis Cultural Institution, it was displayed during the 24th Ars Cameralis Festival in Rondo Sztuki – an art gallery in Katowice whose columns became a symbolic element of the underground that Pola uses when she’s in Berlin. Thus, the exhibition included an additional element of the artist’s personal life: moving and being in between. On the walls behind the columns there were small, square portraits of “Strangers from Berlin

The small portraits, shown to the public for the first time, form a series entitled “Strangers from Berlin U-Bahn”. I secretly took photos of them when I used to come back home at night. That procedure helped me cope with the feeling of being a stranger.

U-Bahn”, shown for the first time as a series. On the other walls there were works lit by spotlights; they included paintings from two cycles: “Apolonia’s Garden” and “The Main Series”, the latter spanning over a decade. You could see “The Great Fox” ( 2015 ), “The Last Scene” ( 2010 ), “Insomnia I” ( 2008 ) and many other works… However, visitors were welcomed by “Queen of Monkeys, Sex Slave or a Trainer” ( 2012 ), which looked at them with tension, just “before”. Was she actually looking at us? Well, maybe she was looking behind us – at “Your Bride” (hanging upside down), also known as “Guardians of the Palace”. Her palace. A man and a woman Told by: Marek Zieliński Written down by: Ewa Trzcionka I met Pola two years ago owing to Sławek Elsner (Sławomir Elsner: a Polish painter and photographer born in 1976 – editor’s note) because they share an atelier in Berlin. I was enchanted by her book Girl on Canvas and the works shown there. I first watched them and only afterwards did I read the comments. She’s different – she’s naive. I mean the “naivety” that Guillaume Apollinaire had ascribed to Henri Rousseau and his paintings. When I was in her Berlin atelier, I suddenly saw a big photo of “The Customs Officer” by Rousseau – which proved her fascination with him. It was my discovery. I noticed that they shared a certain way of thinking “out of spite”. Pola Dwurnik’s education is an important element: she’s an art historian. Naivety in her paintings is her way to protest and escape. Rousseau had protested and escaped from impressionism, which had been becoming very commercial at that time. Pola escaped from Poland to Berlin: she paints there and draws here. She creates a different world, which often isn’t understood. Her features describing the life in Berlin were not understood in Poland, either: she was mocked for her otherness, just like “The Customs Officer” in the past.

She feels different in Berlin, too, and speaks about it openly. There’s a thousand ways to interpret her paintings, e.g. the relationship of culture and nature or civilizational problems. Her works bring to mind the last scenes from Werner Herzog’s film Aguirre, the Wrath of God, where the apes take control of the invaders’ ship. There are personal motifs there, too – the least exposed ones, concealed by the painter, such as the relationships at home or contacts with her father (Edward Dwurnik: a Polish painter and graphic artist, one of the most recognizable personalities of contemporary Polish art – editor’s note). She draws quite a lot on his work from the 1960s. He taught her to paint, after all. This is visible in structures, monochromatic colours as well as showing fitness and primitiveness: her paintings depict apes, while her father’s showed workers and peasants. She also employs cultural motifs; you immediately remember Mozart’s opera The Magic Flute describing the stories of Tamino, Pamina, Papageno and Papagena – their escapes, trials they were put through and their wandering toward the light as a protest against narrowmindedness. Oftentimes, an artist won’t tell you everything; sometimes they’ll even cheat and lie. Watching Pola Dwurnik’s paintings you can guess a lot – sometimes they tell you more about her than she does. Therefore, whenever I meet her, I’m very curious of her as a person, not as an artist. Pola is a person “in between” and “on the brink”; her constant cultural balancing as well as constant search and crossing the boundaries is intriguing to me. It might sound silly, but I don’t feel our age difference or the border between us as a man and a woman. It’s an entirely different level of discourse, which has crossed the limitations, schemes and stereotypes. She’s an intelligent, warm person – an intriguing one. Her paintings made many people feel uneasy; this is their interpretation-related problem not only in Poland. Cultural bardesignalivemag.com

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42 ludzie


people 43 YOUR BRIDE Another title of this painting is GUARDIANS OF THE PALACE. Edward Dwurnik, Pola’s father, gave an identical title to his painting in 1984. 2012, oil on canvas, 150 × 210 cm.

Pola (Apolonia) Dwurnik – a visual artist born in 1979 in Warsaw. She does mainly oil painting, various forms of drawing, collage and mail art. She is also involved in self-publishing and editing activity as well as writes about art. Since 2012, she has been a member of Berlinerpool Arts Network and Mobile Archive in Berlin. Her works are included

in public collections in the Museum of Contemporary Art in Kraków (MOCAK) and the Wrocław Contemporary Museum as well as in private collections in Poland, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Belgium, Great Britain, Spain, France, Slovakia, Czech Republic, the USA, Mexico, Japan and Australia. She lives and works in Berlin and Warsaw.

Paintings hunt me. I have to paint them and set myself free

riers do exist. However, her works show her incredible intelligence and proper education. Beside the painting skills she acquired at home, she has also obtained other tools of entering the world. Let me mention here her painting depicting parrots (“All This, Always” –editor’s note): it reflects her virtually operatic thinking of the art. She has even admitted in a conversation she’d like to be an opera stage designer in the future. Her paintings are incredibly touched up; especially the big ones are full of narration to the brim. I notice a musical structure and a refined visual structure in them. They convey an intelligent message and historicalcultural context; they lead to various spaces. It’s building art on the basis of many levels: images, words, sounds, taste and colours. Those colour juxtapositions have their own taste – I think that only a woman can paint like this. Pola’s paintings contain traces of Mexican art from the 1920s and the 1930s (Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera), the abovementioned Henri Rousseau, Spanish baroque, Velazquez and Latin America. She has a different viewpoint and maybe it’s this detachment that allows her to see, feel and describe the world in a different way. The world is to her what a box of chocolates was to Forrest Gump: she constantly searches and discovers new tastes – and this keeps translating into new points of view, feelings, tastes and visual thinking. You could also make the story about Pola a very simple narration – the necessity and act of selling. She looks for a new source and core for her art every single time.

riences that), but they’re whole, complicated narrations then and not tiring at all. They’re dreams. Sometimes they’re beautiful, another day – hard to remember and yet another day I forget them altogether. However, they also attack me during the daytime – then they’re static, fixed scenes, nearly like real paintings. When such an image keeps coming back persistently, I start wondering where it comes from, I don’t know... It keeps appearing and coming back to me like an insistent thought. If it’s simultaneously interesting, I sit down and start thinking what it may mean. I do small sketches in pencil and it’s already work on a painting. After I paint it – and I do paint slowly and for a long time – I rid my head of it. In the meantime, I modify it, figure it out and try to interpret it as well as give it a meaning or change its meaning completely. When it’s scary, I try to sharpen and strengthen it. Isn’t it like a conversation with your subconsciousness, superconsciousness and unknown “I”? I guess so – but it doesn’t scare me. It interests me. I explore it, but I often don’t know what comes from where. Sometimes I suddenly realize something, while in other situations I start to understand much later. Sometimes I do paint in a different manner: I think up paintings when I want to show a real-life event (but this happens much rarer). I’ve been thinking of animal motifs which often appear on your paintings. Do you usually give an animal’s face and features to a significant person? Animals appear on their own –they are usuA woman and a woman ally the ones to come to me. The painting showing colourful, yellow-red-green parQuestions: Ewa Trzcionka rots hanging in a rather weird way above Answers: Pola Dwurnik a girl sitting in front of a computer simply appeared before my eyes. Paintings attack you. Do they do it duThose parrots look like effigies. ring the daytime or at night? Unfortunately daytime. Of course, they They look a bit as if they were dead. They also come when I sleep (everybody expe- don’t have tails – there’s no room for their

entire silhouettes there. They’re like costumes with big heads, put back on the hangers. It was disturbing when it appeared before my eyes, but it was simultaneously very interesting – virtually fascinating. I painted that painting with pleasure. Animals as people or people as animals aren’t usually present on those paintings which appear before my eyes. However, I made a series of paintings showing my ex-boyfriends as animals. That was my conscious concept which I carried out consistently from the beginning till the end. It wasn’t any kind of vision. The bride is accompanied by quite a lot of animals, too. Those are very bad, furious dogs, which... This painting is entitled “Guardians of the Palace” (another title of that work is “Your Bride”; Pola hesitated which one to use in the conversation – editor’s note) because you don’t know if the bad dogs protect the bride, i.e. the palace, against the groom or if they protect him against her. Or is it they that appear in her head and isolate her from various possibilities? This painting is a bit about me. Is art like a safe room in which no one fully knows how much truth about an artist the painting shows and how many deceptive tricks it contains? You have painting skills: is it a method for exhibitionism so that you can open up on the canvas... ...instead of in real life? It’s possible, but not certain because I lead a relatively normal life, after all. I’m not a total freak. Still, it definitely purifies me. This is the therapeutic power of art, though I wouldn’t unambiguously call it a “therapy”. It’s my work and profession which I treat very seriously. I’m disciplined. This work can be exhaustive for the psyche, but it’s also physically exhaustive. Big canvases, preparing them, carrying them from one corner of the room to another, hours of standing still – I do it all by myself. Thus, my painting is aid, work and profession all in one. designalivemag.com

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A DIFFERENT REALITY AR, VR, programming, application, procedural modelling, 3D mapping, artificial intelligence, Internet of Things, data cloud, customization, network, algorithm, qubit… We asked Artur Puszkarewicz from Tetauri and Jacek Nagłowski from Circus Digitalis to explain the new reality to us Text: Julia Cieszko

You take a device and start an application. You move your hand in the air and see your project appear in the space before you. You wave and scroll. You may scan a real object, a chair, a work of art or your own face and create their digital 3D copies. The computer understands even the moves of your head. Moreover, you can have a video conversation in the virtual world, making your materials and presentations available to others as if you were all sitting at one table. Impressive, isn’t it? The digital world, still not fully explored, has emerged in parallel to our real world. Some find it rather funny, intriguing or even fascinating. Others are scared. Tech-

A computer without the Internet is still a typewriter; you can, of course, use it to perform a few additional activities, but they don’t make it exceptional

nology is quietly entering our lives, bossing around morning till night. It determines many behaviours: surprising us with functions and forms, it generates new solutions and needs. Things that seemed figments of writers and science fiction artists’ imagination just a few years ago are now lying on our tables or are built in ovens and cars, increasingly democratized and cheaper. We, the recipients, know new technologies in the form of ready, simplified products, but the phenomena behind them that drive the world of production and services are much more dispersed. They include virtual reality, augmented reality, application programming, 3D procedural modelling, 3D mapping, artificial intelligence, Internet of Things, data clouds and the entire network of other proposals based on algorithms created by programmers, scientists, engineers and designers. Luckily, there are people around us who are trying to name and skilfully use this different reality. They design and implement technologically advanced solutions which are supposed to help us with communication, having fun and experiencing completely new things. They’re sometimes pessimistic and sceptical, but I hope that they can show us around the world full of virtual riddles. I talked to Artur Puszkarewicz from Tetauri and Jacek Nagłowski from Circus Digitalis about the way that new technologies change the world. Both of you come from the creative industry – you developed products and images. Jacek still works in the film making industry, while Artur creates products for AZE Design studio. Why have you suddenly found yourselves in the new technology industry? ARTUR: This is what we actually did all the time in the studio. New technologies supporting the creation process are completely natural to designers of my generation. Our work is not over when a technical drawing is ready. The documentation for each stage is also presented in the digital form so that team members and investors can assess, test and accept it. In my case it was natural to move from traditional object shaping in 3D and presenting it as a 2D image as well as to show it, for instance, in virtual

reality (VR). Such solutions have already become a part of work in architecture or with products, so tools applying the newest technologies have always been close to me. JACEK: In my case it was a decision. In my company, Centrala, we’ve made a dozen documentaries and several feature films – and we still do. However, I understood that I needed another challenge because with films, I would simply copy the old pattern, though I would obviously try to do it better – but nothing new would happen. Going for new technologies opens another area and that’s why Circus Digitalis was established. We can experiment and learn new things. We used to have a flirtation with typically digital products and we still do so, but we’ve also come back to films, although from another side – the technological one which is connected with virtual reality. So let’s try to describe that new reality you deal with. In 1968, Arthur C. Clarke wrote, and Kubrick filmed, 2001: A Space Odyssey, in which we could see PADD – a portable computer in the form of an electronic notebook. Then, in Back to the Future, we were shown Oculus and HoloLens – electronics worn by people and based on virtual and augmented reality. Finally, in 2002, Minority Report presented an interactive holographic display. Those things are no longer just elements of science fiction art. ARTUR: It had all existed earlier, you know. I’m not saying that Clarke didn’t invent it, but people like him never create such things completely by themselves – they actually integrate what philosophers and columnists create and publish. They become a kind of a hub joining the emerging, initiated ideas, which grow if the ground is appropriate and all the necessary factors allow for it. They may grow faster or slower, and sometimes they naturally die. JACEK: The legendary interface from Minority Report wasn’t just a figment of the filmmakers’ imagination, either. The special effects crew and Steven Spielberg contacted computer interface experts to develop a realistic vision of the future together. We can see it today owing to such inventions as Kinect from game consoles or Leap Motion – devices generating a depth map. This also concerns 2001: A Space Odyssey, which

showed touchscreen devices and Hal 9000 – a fictional computer and its interface allowing for voice communication. It caused feedback, which is cool. Everyone reading the book or watching the film later on thinks, “Wow! Great! This is what it should look like”. A certain notion about a device or solution becomes a point of reference for what may happen in technology. If you follow analyses concerning interface design, you will see a huge number of references precisely to Minority Report. ARTUR: This is simply the power of popular culture, which filters our brains and retains what they need in the right time. Such messages stimulate needs or maybe simply release them because they’re deep within us so that we’re unaware of them. Consider this example: I want to communicate with my phone using voice because I drive a lot. Similar ideas were already recorded over 100 years ago! I’ve seen a drawing depicting a person talking to a machine with a speaking tube and some “carrier” object recording the voice. What important events have taken place in technology in the last few years? JACEK: We must depart from the Internet. The ability to send data packets over a distance initially seemed useful only for the army and science. Later on, however, those packets grew bigger and were sent faster, while computers were able to generate and send increasingly complex data. Finally, we stopped treating them as packets and started to send one another stories: texts, photos, videos, games and music. We sent and stored – and each story stimulated another story, response, processing or extension. As a result, we all have access to enormous resources of knowledge and artistic work at hand and this stimulates further development on a mass scale. Gigantic acceleration of communication and exchange of thoughts and ideas as well as smartphones, tablets and applications are all subsequent means of communicating with the network. ARTUR: The communication rules have changed completely. Mark you, a computer without the Internet is still a typewriter; you can, of course, use it to perform a few additional activities, but they don’t make it designalivemag.com

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If we gathered all the information collected by secret services of all countries since the beginning of mankind, their amount would be smaller than that of the information we can nowadays gather about societies within an hour.

Jacek Nagłowski Holder of a scholarship granted by the Minister of Culture in filmmaking and member of the Polish Film Academy. He debuted as a producer and director of the film Katatonia. In 2004, together with Agnieszka Janowska, he founded Centrala – a company producing feature films and documentaries, most of which have won awards at international film festivals in Poland and abroad. In 2008, together with anthropologist Andrzej Dybczak, he directed the film Gugara, which was presented at the Cannes International Film Festival and is included in the collection of Centre Pompidou in Paris. In 2012, together with Anna Giemzik and Przemek Mastela, he founded Circus Digitalis – a company dealing with the creation of digital solutions for 2D and 3D image as well as virtual reality.


exceptional. The availability and common nature of content as well as the possibility of publishing it release an information-related critical mass which entirely changes the reality around us. The phenomenon of mobility, e.g. in relation to work and sale, has also accelerated: I can work where I am at the moment, having constant access to virtual drives and there are very few limitations on me. The Internet has simply made us live in digital reality. JACEK: But we should explain how we understand digital reality. To me, it’s all the information found on the Internet – all the digital content and its communication. It’s like a fifth dimension or even a parallel space in which we’re already immersed almost like in the material space. Latest surveys have revealed that people aged 16-35 spend on average nine hours a day in front of various screens. Those screens are nothing more than windows leading to digital reality governed by totally different laws. We’re unaware that we live and function in it all the time. So let’s indicate the most important userready solutions based on the revolution in technology and communication. JACEK: Social networks revolutionize the way people spend time together. Streaming services completely change the way of communicating the audio-visual content and their side effect is turning upside down of the entertainment industry business models. Mobile and wearable technologies such as smartwatches make our contact with digital reality increasingly spontaneous. Technology enters subsequent deep areas of our lives, e.g. the control of physiological processes or sleep – these are all small steps, but they’re taken incredibly fast. Finally, we must remember about big data processing, i.e. obtaining information about us and drawing conclusions on a previously unimaginable scale. I think that if we gathered all the information collected by secret services of all countries since the beginning of mankind, their amount would be smaller than that of the information we can nowadays gather about societies within an hour. ARTUR: We can’t forget that what we see and talk about is a very small subset in

a set of solutions and devices generated by people working with technology and on its development. An example close to ordinary people like us, which may be a tangible proof of the dynamics of those changes, is 3D PEACHY Printer. It’s exceptional not only because it comes from the 3D printing industry, but first and foremost because its constructors work in an open-source model. The printer is planned to be simple and democratic and its retail price is supposed to be approx. 100 dollars. What about the money? It comes from community funding – not a qubit (the smallest indivisible unit of quantum information thus far – editor’s note) of corporate activity has been in it yet. Thus, I hope it’ll be commonly used and this will introduce another powerful direction of changes in our world. We should also mention virtual reality (VR) – a technology currently associated with glasses; it provides a multimedia vision of objects, spaces and events which both reproduces the real world and creates the fictional one we know from computer games, simulators and films. JACEK: Virtual reality is essentially an image of digitally generated space, but marketing specialists have recently caused every content we can see through virtual reality glasses to be called VR. In other words, you can observe a fictional (computergenerated) castle with a dragon, lay on an air mattress in the Maldives or watch a VR documentary showing the living conditions of Syrian refugees. The difference in relation to TV or cinema is that you’re no longer a viewer – you’re “inside”, while the castle, the Maldives or bombed Syria are around you. ARTUR: I remember that when I was a student, i.e. at the times when the capabilities of processors were like those of calculators, I participated in a conference on virtual reality – scientists already treated that subject very seriously. The first visualizations, digital images and objects produced entirely with use of numerical methods were created then. Now you have the possibility of “immersing” in a space full of images. Design, tourism, the automotive industry, video games – everyone has already become interested in VR. They order prod-

ucts connected with this issue and invest money in companies from this industry. The topic is becoming more popular than smartphones. Isn’t it dangerously blown up? ARTUR: Despite the marketing frenzy I reckon that it absolutely makes sense and isn’t just a gadget. Why couldn’t a grandmother talking to her granddaughter through a video communicator (which is no longer surprising) see her in a more realistic way so that they could exchange more emotions than during a phone conversation or in a letter? It’s technologically possible, though I support natural, personal human contact. JACEK: VR can introduce the sensation of eye contact, which will undoubtedly improve communication quality (when you use Skype, you still look at a camera). We must remember that displaying image directly on eye retina using light has been possible for a long time, especially in military technologies. This may also enter the mainstream soon. Thus, our world has been divided into material and virtual (digital) reality. What possibilities has the digital one given mankind? What new possibilities do you generate for the man, the recipient, the client? JACEK: What virtual reality has brought mankind is an enormous set, still not fully explored and tamed. I guess that the most important fact is that these two realities mix and penetrate each other increasingly. I think one could risk saying that we’re slowly witnessing the emergence of a hybrid reality – a combination of material and virtual reality. ARTUR: Within that enormous set, we deal with such issues as transferring your phone to VR – we reproduce the world. We work i.a. on 3D procedural modelling, that is, everything connected with “growing” a landscape. Imagine the production of a film in VR: we create elements, or pieces, of that film from which someone will assemble it. We do things that give us fun and experiment with them, but we also do things that let us make a living. For instance, we create high-quality digital textures for the production of prototypes; they’ll be tested on future consumers. The manufacturers

will then know the recipients’ real preferences and stop relying on economic surveys conducted by sales specialists. Add to that the programming of applications in VR extended to smartwatches or 3D mapping. JACEK: We’re working on three projects. The first one, nearly finished, is CUST – digital catalogues of products which we offer mainly the furniture design industry. It’s an application for mobile devices and websites owing to which the recipient will be able to present their products in 3D in a very realistic way. Their customers, in turn, will be able to configure objects in any way before the purchase on their phone, tablet or computer. The second project is Parametric Rabbit – a program for very fast and easy creation of 3D models so that they could be made by a person who doesn’t have knowledge of this field, but needs those models e.g. for a graphic design, a game or a film that they’re preparing. We’re developing this project in cooperation with the Department of Information Technology (DIT) of the Poznań University of Economics. The third project, which we’re beginning now, is a mutual undertaking with the New Media Laboratory in the Łódź Film School (Leon Schiller Polish National Film, Television and Theatre School in Łódź: one of Poland’s most important film schools – editor’s note). It’s a research project going back to film roots, that is, an analysis of language and interaction methods of VR film, whose more correct name is stereoscopic spherical film. We want to examine the language that governs this medium, which is currently at the same stage as was the cinema at the beginning of the 20th century. We have tools and know the technical aspect of using them, but we have no idea of how we should actually use them to create content of a real cultural value. As recipients, we’re unaware of advanced solutions behind the ready products present in our everyday life, healthcare or entertainment. ARTUR: Exactly. New technologies are virtually everywhere, in all industries: medicine, transport, construction, the armaments industry, the furniture industry... Name the area and you’ll find them there in nine out of every ten cases.

Is there something there that has surprised or interested you? ARTUR: Unfortunately, many products and technologies we know, even a touchless thermometer for children, were initially designed for the army. For instance, a project called Tytan, which is already being carried out by Polish army, allows soldiers to check through a wall who’s creeping behind it. Another example is HUD (head-up display), whose prototype was presented in Predator. It’s a transparent display showing information on a special pane without covering the view. This technique initially had an exclusively military application, but nowadays it’s used by ordinary people, e.g. in motorcycles or even bikes. You can already buy a GPS displaying data on the windscreen, almost in the same way as in combat planes until a short time ago. JACEK: You’ve mentioned Predator, which is another proof of the fact that a vision of a concrete behaviour of an object presented in popular culture facilitates the implementation of technological solutions. Owing to such popularization, we, the recipients, know how to treat it. Mass phenomena (films, books etc.) imprint in us a certain pattern, or behaviour form, to some extent. Sometimes, though, certain solutions are accepted much slower by collective imagination, for various reasons. ARTUR: Personally, I’m very interested in, but also worried by, the entire nanotechnology field. We’re already able to introduce nanorobots physically into the body – they can find and even fight cancer cells. Now imagine nanorobots joining protein amino acids – it will soon turn out that you could print yourself. Another interesting example is research for the power industry. Specially designed autonomous robots allow us to examine electromagnetic field strength, e.g. in high-voltage cables, in order to detect losses. We’ve also had an opportunity to cooperate with a person who grows virtual environment using algorithms. They grow virtual plants? I thought I could only see that in the cinema. ARTUR: Yes. He collects data using a real measurement unit – a small weather station which measures temperature, quality and type of minerals found in the ground

48 art of life

The contemporary technocratic thinking already has its symbol – a slogan saying “there’s an app for that”. We reduce the world to needs and responding to them – and this is a very simplified vision

Artur Puszkarewicz He founded a studio named AZE design in 2006 together with Anna Kotowicz-Puszkarewicz. The studio’s works have been presented at exhibitions in Poland and abroad. It has also been praised many times in international media such as Domus, Wallpaper, Interni, New York Times, Financial Times and Newsweek. They implement a part of the projects under their own commercial brand that operates in the sector of socially involved design, cooperating with socially excluded people and long-term unemployed people. They simultaneously established a technological-design hub called Tetauri, which designs processes and services with use of advanced materials and IT technologies. As Tetauri they design solutions applied in the automotive, furniture and film making industries, e-trade and construction as well as on the real estate market.


as well as precipitation and then transfers this data to software. It’s the next stage of a solution which he developed and implemented as an algorithmic ecosystem applied in Avatar. JACEK: There are lots of such things. I appreciate all cloud solutions – data (including mine) and programs out there on distributed servers and available for me after I log in from any device with access to the Internet. Another significant issue is wearable technologies: we don’t know at all how their development will affect our behaviour and how we’ll interact with virtual reality. Smartwatch is an example here. In such situation it seems rather absurd to communicate with my own phone. JACEK: If we supplement it with, for example, HoloLens by Microsoft – glasses placing in our field of vision three-dimensional objects with which we can interact, then having a phone no longer makes sense. There’s a noticeable strong drive for making technology as invisible as possible and integrated with our bodies – take microrobots and chips. It may seem absurd to us now, but soon crossing that boundary won’t be such a big problem to us. This is precisely hybrid reality. Yet another issue is artificial intelligence – ambiguous like nanotechnology. Let’s say it straight: it’s dangerous. Its development gives us a chance to solve problems which human mind can’t overcome. However, scientists dealing with this very field have published an open letter this year. It has turned out that even the greatest enthusiasts claim we should slow down, at least with military applications, because we have absolutely no control over it. We don’t actually know what it is that we’re creating. Let’s come back to us, then – to here and now. How do technological changes enter the design process and how will companies and recipients benefit from it? ARTUR: The automotive industry, for which we work, creates simulators. Before the first physical prototype appears in them, we test the sound volume level accompanying the rolling resistance and air resistance as well as the behaviour of tyres on a changing surface – we actually examine all circumstances in which the designed car will found itself in the future. However, this simulated

reality for tests needs to be created, so we develop software. Another example is our recent cooperation with German company Interprint. An installation we created during Łódź Design festival shows that it’s possible to skip the designer’s work in the process of creating furniture decorations, which are an important constituent of the furniture industry. Using appropriate software, you can make various combinations of colours and shapes by hands and then an algorithm changes them into a printable furniture decoration. Of course, you can first see what that decoration will look like on the furniture you want to have. Such scenarios are already possible to carry out, but the price of technological and material solutions is an obstacle. JACEK: Actually, the whole movement of mass customization emerged precisely owing to the development of technology, i.e. all applications and solutions allowing for personalization. Before that, there had been no tools for offering the customers such freedom in choosing solutions, colour, textures and forms. This includes technologies related to augmented reality – you can, so to speak, put a chair on the image of the interior and check what it will look like in reality. However, those solutions still need time. Beside communication and production, the design process itself is also changing. In this case, though, it may be dangerous: the students’ trust in digital tools is so big that they forget about material design. I’ve talked to design lecturers and I know that the designs created in computers are often simply unsuitable for implementation – they forget about the macroscale, which is the most important one for the product because the recipient finally experiences this very aspect. Whatever we say about new technologies, there is always this “but” at the end – a certain kind of reflection upon its negative results. JACEK: It’s impossible to judge new technologies, just like it’s impossible to judge the industrial revolution. These processes are completely beyond our control – they’re neither good nor bad. The only thing we can do is watch, draw conclusions and try to minimize the damage caused by these changes. The problem is that we’ve kept

making the same mistake for ages: when a new medium or technology appears, we behave like naive children and assume that it’s “transparent”. Counterculture used to say, “Everything is political”, which means that everything is connected with a certain hierarchy of values, world view or narration. Does technology also bring a hierarchy of values which influences the way we interpret reality? JACEK: The contemporary technocratic thinking already has its symbol – a slogan saying “there’s an app for that”. We reduce the world to needs and responding to them – and this is a very simplified vision. What do we receive? Tools saving our time and increasing productivity or tools for consumption, i.e. those that create and drive the market. When you’re aware of it, you can at least try to make things that break this convention. ARTUR: Yes, but it’s also our own fault. For some reason, we succumb to the media pap they feed us with. Instead of analysing, we act in a purely emotional way and someone cools or warms up our emotions. Technology may open new consumption channels of content, products and services, but the code (the programming language) itself isn’t marked at all – like letters, which form meanings only in words. Similarly, technology only becomes a tool in somebody’s hands. However, I do agree with Jacek; in relation to what he said, I must mention that some Swedish philosopher has already written there is a need to create a new technological god – a new religion for new times. Do you know what’s connected with it? Technological enslavement of brains [he laughs]. JACEK: I can see many analogies with religion here. I once went to an event concerning technology and art – and I had an impression that I found myself at a sect meeting. The way they idolized new technologies and believed in their transparency and the good caused by them was naive as in children. They reckoned that everything we did in the technological field, i.e. facilitation and acceleration, was pure good. At the same time, though, I couldn’t resist an impression that they excluded anyone who didn’t share their ardent faith.

This is certainly an analysis on the civilizational level, but what is happening to us? ARTUR: I don’t want to talk about already diagnosed problems such as compulsion to check the phone all the time or sliding the finger on surfaces. The phenomena whose consequences we don’t yet know seem more interesting – think, for instance, what may happen to the brain when it’s no longer stimulated. Too many inhalations result in mucous membrane atrophy, i.e. the ability to moisten the nose disappears. Similarly, applications deprive us of certain features: servers compare the content and produce answers for us – we don’t compare, consider the context or pass judgements. Algorithms tell us what’s good or bad. JACEK: We give certain functions to algorithms – there are well-known examples of drivers who trusted the GPS instead of their common sense. Certainly, the influence of new technologies hasn’t been determined and this is a big problem. I guess our scepticism is caused by the fact that media mainstream is dominated by overoptimism which says new technologies bring much good. I do agree that they’re very useful, but I can also see many obscure paths. Referring to content creation, mankind has literally learned to fabricate myths. In the past, we created one myth every few centuries – now we’re able to produce a few myths a week. We consume unimaginable amounts of information, so stories lose their value and no longer provide us with values we live by, as was the case with the Old Testament, the Gospel or the Koran. Today we jump from one myth to another and it causes a total confusion, lack of points of reference and problems with identity. It’s quite a scary vision. What about good news? ARTUR: I’d prefer to consider new technologies in the context of changes taking place in work and life models. I believe in the power of open source. I also believe that the change brought about by the Internet will make corporations yield and revise their well-established strategies. An example of this is the introduction of Blender – free 3D modelling software – on the market. After several years of being created from scratch by an open community, it has become a technological threat to quite a powerful

software belonging to a corporation which monopolized the market. It all happened owing to the Internet and joining forces. JACEK: It’s certainly positive that access to information is no longer rationed (and not so long ago it still was). Whatever you say about the negative results of technologies, they do democratize access to knowledge, i.e. make us free to organize our life and world in our own way. Medical progress is another phenomenon in which it would probably be hard to indicate negative consequences. Acceleration, facilitating communication and increasing productivity also helps us in many situations. It’s crucial that we don’t accept them without reflection and are aware of their negative consequences. If Zemeckis made Back to the Future today, what would the world in this film look like? JACEK: Whatever I say will become outdated in a year, a month or even a week. I certainly perceive virtual reality as a chance to create a new type of recipient experience – a completely new kind of sensations and therefore also a new quality of transfer. VR allows us to experience the scale and simulate the physical aspect the way no other medium before could. We can convey closeness, intimacy and space, and the related experience is very strong and profound. Chris Milk, one of the most important contemporary creators in this field, calls VR an empathy machine. Virtual reality literally allows us to be in somebody else’s shoes and see the world through their eyes. ARTUR: I’m afraid of a probable scenario presented in Spike Jonze’s film Being John Malkovich. Technologies and our concentration on others may lead to the emergence of “personality libraries”: you pay a subscription fee and you’re able to live the lives of stars and celebrities. A sure-fire way to a regression of social bonds. Nonetheless, I believe in the whole spectrum of positive possibilities brought about by technological progress – I participate in it myself with good intentions, after all. The 3D printing technology we’ve mentioned before is already used in medicine: cases previously considered as hopeless receive a new life – and it’s not just a metaphor. designalivemag.com

50 things


After publishing a dozen issues, it has unexpectedly turned out that we currently have more Polish than foreign products to show. Actually, only one is from abroad... Is our taste changing or does the exploration of Polish novelties give us so much pleasure and surprise that we search no more? One thing is certain: Polish designers know us and our needs increasingly better TEXT: Daria Linert, cooperation: ANGELIKA OGROCKA and ŁUKASZ POTOCKI photos: MARIUSZ GRUSZKA / ULTRABRAND


GLASSES made of crystal glass are an element of “The Polish Table” project which unites magnificent Polish producers of tableware. Kristoff porcelain factory, Julia glass works and “Manufaktura” Stone Pottery Factory joined their forces, guided by Katarzyna Świętek, Animateur of 2015 in Design Alive Awards Readers’ Poll (read more on p. 93 and 108). The result of this cooperation is a collection of dessert and breakfast tableware. Simple and modern, but at the same time containing sentimental references to the best days of design, they perfect the meals and become their rightful participants. www.polskistol.pl PAPER CUTS made of recycled materials form a series named Blokowice, which includes the iconic structures of Katowice brutalism. Spodek, Gwiazdy (the famous star-shaped blocks of flats – editor’s note), Superjednostka (one of Poland’s biggest residential buildings – editor’s note), the railway station and “Katowice” mine – now you can build them all by yourself (using paper, of course). Beside the cuts, the collection provides information about individual buildings, their location and the architects’ names. www.zupagrafika.com

52 things


UNIVERSAL toys were made under the auspices of the Association “Based in Warsaw” and its Chairwoman Edyta Ołdak – laureate of Animateur of 2015 title in Design Alive Awards (read more on p. 94). Parents raising disabled children on their own joined forces with architects and designers – the result is wooden puzzles and other educational aids based on the observation of children with special needs so as to support their development. The project entitled “Pudło w grochy albo gąbka na biegunach” [“A spotted box or a rocking sponge”] was carried out in cooperation with empathic creators: Pani Jurek, Kosmos Project and Artur Gosk. A concept. www.pudlo.wwarszawie.org.pl

54 things TASTES enclosed in beautifully designed tubes: Portuguese brand Meia Duzia offers hand-made fruit jams with additions of local alcohols. They combine various aromas – you can have, for instance, cherry with brandy, bananas with rum or cinnamon pumpkin with wine. www.meiaduzia.pt

CUPS like solid shapes of modern architecture: the tableware from a Warsaw-based studio are the result of applying contemporary solutions to everyday dishes. Modern is a cup designed by Kabo & Pydo for AVANT Ceramic Factory. www.kabo-pydo.com

CHOCOLATE BARS can be both healthy and tasty! A Polish company named Zmiany Zmiany offers a few kinds of natural sweets made solely of plant products. The energy enclosed in four versions with evocative names – Petarda [“petard”], Aloha, Kosmos [“cosmos”] and Lewy Sierpowy [“left hook”] – can be purchased in stores with healthy food. www.zmianyzmiany.pl A NOTEBOOK for those who value aesthetics and comfort: it’s solid (you can use it for years), multifunctional (it can accommodate notes, documents, pens or... a sketchbook) and made of leather (you can get it in one of three colour versions). www.labradorfactory.pl


SOAPS made of “black gold” – the coal extracted in the Bieszczady Mountains, Poland. Zew has made them especially for men in five versions: hair, body, face, shaving, beard and 3 in 1 (face, body and hair). All the cosmetics are manufactured in Poland using natural resources. Tasteful accessories are also available. www.poczujzew.pl

THE MANTLE is minimalistic: the grey palette from Zwykłe [“ordinary”] collection was inspired by the Morse code and waters of the Baltic Sea. The gauzy item can serve as a coat, a suit or everyday clothing. It’s the result of cooperation between Polish companies Nenukko and Pan Tu Nie Stał. Available on request. www.pantuniestal.com, www.nenukko.com TRACKSUITS – the bad spell cast on them has been removed. These trousers with a perfect cut are also suitable for attending formal events. The classical black colour guarantees an elegant look, while cotton is responsible for a perfect fit. Clothes from Zwykłe [“ordinary”] collection are the result of cooperation between Pan Tu Nie Stał studio and Nenukko brand; they have already amazed not only enthusiasts of ascetic projects. www.pantuniestal.com, www.nenukko.com FLOWER BAGS: easy to assemble and use, they’re made of high-quality paper and decorated with printed patterns. They’re a good solution for holding or transporting flowers. Since they’re resistant to dampness, they also allow for displaying the flowers in a beautiful way. You can obtain them in four variants – Open, Retro, Heart and Dot – on the producer’s website: www.blumabag.com THE BAG in the city version offers simplicity allowing for quick changes: you can carry it as a sling bag and then remove the belt to get a clutch. Balagan is a brand created between Warsaw and Tel Aviv, on the border of cultures of two continents. Its roots are entirely Polish, but it emanates many emotions straight from Israel. It was founded by Agata Matlak-Lutyk and Hanna Ferenc Hildsen. On request. www.balaganstudio.com THE TABLE: multifunctionality, smooth lines, a dynamic shape and a subtle structure are its trademarks. The wooden form surprises the user with three arms sticking out from it. OIIIO was developed by Wojciech Morsztyn – a young Polish designer who has already received several awards for this project. On request. www.facebook.com/wmorsztyndesign THE COOKBOOK entitled “Warzywo” [“vegetable”] by Dominika Wójciak contains several dozen recipes, in which the author proves that you can use vegetables to cook delicious dishes. She promotes untypical combinations such as carrot with orange or beetroot with blackberry; they’re all sophisticated, but easy to cook. As the author herself says, enjoy your vegetables! Pascal publishing house; Polish version already available. www.pascal.pl

56 things

UNOBVIOUS Prepared for several decades, the colourful watercolours waited 83 years for publication. The fifth part of the most important project by Stanisław Barabasz (a Polish artist, ethnographer, teacher, community activist and pioneer of skiing who lived at the turn of the 19th and 20th century) entitled Folk Art in Podhale. Part V. Embroidery on Garments conveys authentic knowledge of Podhale region outfits from the period when they were incredibly diversified. The document was published by the Tatra Museum and its patron is Design Alive. It’s a source of inspiration and an objective record whose meticulousness captivates and offers new possibilities to creators that like to draw on unobvious sources. Prepared by: Daria Linert, cooperation: Angelika Ogrocka, photos: Mariusz Gruszka / Ultrabrand


Patterns and colours: they’re often symbolic and communicate status, condition or age. They tell you the owner’s history, place and origin. Today their main function is the decorative one, conditioned by culture. The need for beauty is a feature that sets us apart from all other living beings.


Found in the file: Folk Art in Podhale, St. Barabasz Folk Art in Podhale. Part V. Embroidery on Garments, available in English and Polish. Publishing House of the Tytus Chałubiński Tatra Museum in Zakopane. www.muzeumtatrzanskie.pl

“Wool threads for embroidery were originally only red and dark blue, while the cloth was green. Other colours were added with time and today all the existing colours are used. A new highlander jacket often dazzles with its fresh, raw embroidery colours, but many old ones show colours perfectly harmonized by rain and sunlight. The flowers on jackets, trousers and shoes are significantly transformed so that it’s often hard to guess the original plant by which they’re inspired. You can find there lilies, tulips, roses, daisies, forget-me-nots, edelweiss, Parnassia, Asphodelus and so on.”

BOWLS, TRAYS and PLATES. Some are made of porcelain, others – of stoneware, but they all come from “The Polish Table” collection. Read more on p. 51, www.polskistol.pl CUPS: Modern. Read more on p. 54, www.kabo-pydo.com BRACELET from Air series – read on p. 6, www.aleksandrakujawska.pl

GRINDERS. The model called Totem, designed by Krystian Kowalski, is a new offer from Tylko – a brand which won the title of Design Alive Award Strategist of 2015 (read more on p. 98). Personalized kitchen accessories join technology with craft. You can choose from various combinations of elements, shapes and colours, which can be selected so as to match your interiors and other tableware using augmented reality. www.tylko.com

58 things


Each waste is an economic and ecological cost. Software used in sewing rooms can plan the cuts so as to minimize the amount of waste, but some people are able to improve its calculations and regain precious centimetres multiplied by thousands of items. Sometimes this determines the final appearance of clothes and their beauty stems directly from their noble function.

CHILDREN’S CLOTHES by an original brand named Mali include simple, functional hats, trousers and sweatshirts for children and teenagers. The collection was designed by Kamila Kowalczyk and is made entirely in Poland, which ensures the selection of the best materials and beautifully cut models. The offer also contains jackets, dresses and waistcoats. All clothes are in subdued colours – just right for young people who know what they want... or know that they don’t want sweet pink or infantile imprints. www.malistore.pl THE MANTLE is minimalistic. See p. 55, www.pantuniestal.com, www.nenukko.com


Found in the file: Folk Art in Podhale, St. Barabasz

“The cut of the highlander jacket is relatively simple: it resembles a kimono whose sleeves and back part are made from one piece of material. It is so cleverly designed that a given piece of cloth whose length equals the length of spread arms from one hand to the other and whose width equals the length of the jacket from the neck down leaves no waste after cutting the back and front parts.”

“When going to church, they put the jacket on sleeves, while on working days they hung it over the arms and turned it depending on the direction of the wind.”

60 things


A comfortable shoe model designed in the shoemaker’s workshop of the Balagan brand received a form which resembles cloth shoes worn in Podhale region nearly a century ago as documented by Stanisław Barabasz. Natural materials such as flax, cloth, leather and wool as well as comfortable utility forms have always been used intuitively. The future won’t change that, either.


Found in the file: Folk Art in Podhale, St. Barabasz

“Highland women wear them also at home and in the household. They refer to them as ‘Orawa stockings’ because Polish stockings were sewn from cloth, but they had a cut like that of Polish highlanders’ traditional pointed shoes, while ordinary stockings are called by them just ‘knee socks’. These shoes have recently received decorations in the form of colourful embroidery and become so widespread that making them is many women’s job. They’re sold all over Poland. . . . Moreover, every female tourist feels obliged to bring such shoes and a carved alpenstock home with her. It must be stressed, though, that the shoes are tastefully embroidered, while alpenstocks are characterized by ugliness and careless workmanship.”

BEDLOCTHES made of flax: Yelen introduced incredibly soft and delicate, yet durable textiles to the market. The diversified sewing method strengthens the materials and gives them classical elegance. You can choose from tones of grey, beige and orange. www.yelenshop.com

SHOES by Balagan: they’re intended for born walkers. Their light soles and soft leather makes marching a pleasure, not a torture. On request. Read more on p. 55, www.balaganstudio.com A NOTEBOOK with an elegant look. Read more on p. 54, www.labradorfactory.pl

BAGS by Balagan. Read more on p. 55, www.balaganstudio.com


way into unknown designalivemag.com

Let them surprise you I have to admit, I absolutely love being surprised. I have always liked it. I reckon that, as an above-average consumer, I simply deserve it. Sadly, it happens extremely rarely these days. “Try to surprise me,” I tell them, “Come on! Invent something new. Do something in a new way.” So they try, make effort and think things up, but it’s evident that they are getting worse Text and illustrationS: marek Warchoł

Premier Tower designed by Elenberg Fraser


marek warchoł architectural phrase 65


’m going to a restaurant – first and foremost to let them surprise me, of course. What’s on the menu today? What culinary creations has the cook prepared for me? How about something from deconstructivist cooking? For instance, a salad with grilled hen foetuses, kale, red algae and dates, served in bird nests made of swift saliva. Cannelloni stuffed with fried cicadas and mousse with an aroma of soil, semen and sweat. A soup made of fermented rye flour served in asparagus bread with pieces of bat brains. Human placenta coated with breadcrumbs, with a million-dollar aroma and an addition of carrot caviar, chickpea and oyster mushrooms. Baked buckwheat with bluebottle fly larvae, roasted sweet potato and chocolate cabbage. And for dessert? Ox blood pudding and ice-cream made of seal fat. And a glass of wine with snake blood to warm up. I’m browsing architecture websites. The headlines attack my eyes and dance attendance on me like colourful clowns in a travelling circus. “The stunning facade of the new Shake-aLeg Dance Centre was made of velour plates reinforced with cement of the highest surpriseability class.” “The architecture of the new railway station in Jerkwater Town may be incredibly attractive, but is it sufficiently shocking?” “How to create a surprising home space?” The contemporary residential architecture has a relatively high shocking coefficient. This comes as no surprise because it’s hard to find a contemporary person who wouldn’t dream of living in a surprising space, live a surprising life and show off with their surprising house in front of their friends. Therefore, many architects have an

ambition to create not just an exceptional and original space, but an entirely new typology for every single project. Robert Konieczny’s KWK Promes studio is the leader here – a short visit to his website is enough to notice the number of new construction forms already invented or still possible to invent (actually, they are not new – they are results of processing traditional types). There are all sorts of ideas there. Take the “autofamily house”, designed to integrate the family with its means of transport: the garage is a celebration hall with an access tunnel playing the role of a picture gallery. Or the house with the residential space integrated with the access road. Or the house wrapped around with a concrete ribbon of a road, which fulfils the functions of ceilings, walls or terraces interchangeably. Consider the “living-garden house”, whose living room is merged with a garden hidden under the storey as if under a cliff. Reflect upon the “safe house” (a bunker with moving walls), the “atrial house” with access from the inside and turned to the outside or the “OUTrial house” with the atrium on the roof. They also have snail houses, hybrid houses, triangular houses, round houses and, on top of that, houses hidden underground, which are invisible to the eye. They are all unique, surprising and new. Each of them is a transfiguration and a transformation – or

is it a transformation of a transfiguration? We have deconstructed walls and roofs. We have mastered conquering matter and gravitation. We have turned the space inside out and ripped its guts off in every possible way. We have built houses without walls, houses made of paper and houses made of rubbish. We built on the water, underground and in the air. We keep reaching higher, further and deeper. We have got a crazy wheel going and it can’t be stopped now, so we add grease and oil and light up the stove as much as we can to prevent that increasingly complicated mechanism from seizing and the red-hot gears from breaking. I’m completely bored with the theatre: nowadays they only yell there, make porn and fling cow blood on the audience. Thus, I go to the cinema to get another portion of surprising experiences – I can be sure that they will give me something new every time, break conventions and cross genre boundaries. What is on today? A romantic comedy with a dozen-minute scene of rough gay sex – ejaculation filmed in 3D. Previously niche genres such as gonzo, mondo or snuff taken in by mainstream. Old classics converted to 4DX technology (take Rocky – many viewers have left its showings with massacred faces). Mobile armchairs, electric shock, virtually real excrement stench, the feeling of wind on

The compulsion to surprise continuously has something in common with the compulsion to take drugs: you just know that you have to take more every time. You cannot stop or say no. It’s a drug – a promise of satisfaction which will never be fulfilled

Mauzoleum Martyrologii Wsi Polskich w Michniowie designed by Nizio Design International

We have deconstructed walls and roofs. We have mastered conquering matter and gravitation. We have turned the space inside out and ripped its guts off in every possible way naked skin and simulated orgasms. And Disney’s remake of The Human Centipede. I guess that the smallest surpriseability potential is demonstrated by architecture of high buildings. They go higher and higher toward the sky, but what for? Is there anyone there still impressed by subsequent hundreds of metres? How long will they tire us with steel and glass wall surfaces or bandy about the proportions of windows, partitions and mullions or erect spires? Luckily, shocking exceptions to that rule do happen as proved by Tour Phare skyscraper designed by Morphosis, which is planned to be built in 2017 in La Défense, a district of Paris. This construction will resemble a monstrous pear cut in half as well as, from another perspective, a twisted and bent rebar or a bunch of cables or wires, with glass epidermis pulled on it and a ragged mop on the top giving an impression that it was wiped out by a sudden explosion. All this, however, is nothing compared with a building under construction in Melbourne, called Premier Tower (design by Elenberg Fraser studio). Its silhouette is inspired by curves of singer Beyoncé, who likes “to move it, move it” in one of her music videos, in which she is tightly wrapped up in a tube made of some grey material. Indeed, the Australian skyscraper seems to be bending in a sensual dance, exposing various cambers and curves here and there. “We live in a free world,” I keep being told designalivemag.com

by various people. But what is that notorious freedom, actually? Is it the multitude of attractions they feed us with? The infinite number of objects and phenomena from which we can choose and which are pushed right in front of our face to give an impression that there is nothing else beyond them? Freedom is a big bother. I watch photographs of the Polish Village Martyrdom Mausoleum in Michniów (design by Nizio Design International) and interpret that architecture as an illustration of a certain process. Gradual permutation, degradation and deformation of subsequent segments of that construction – from a simple concrete hut, through its wobbly and massacred versions, to a complete decomposition to sand and gravel – is actually an image of making architecture progressively bizarre and a desperate search for sense in shallow flashiness and fanfaronade. It seems nowadays that pure desire to surprise and shock the audience constantly, not contaminated by any profound reason, is a self-contained and self-sufficient value – and maybe even the highest one. On the one hand, buildings try to delight us so that we are carried up and away by some immense euphoria. They want to make us experience something unnamed which is always one step in front of us. They resort to weirdness, cheating and mystification – take all those mirror houses which

seem to blur the lines between space and form (e.g. the house in Izabelin near Warsaw, designed by reFORM Architekci). They show off their structural finesse, pretending that the law of gravitation doesn’t apply to them – I mean here various peculiar levitating brackets, overhangs and monoliths. They try to seduce and enchant us with sterile brightness of materials, as in the case of Prada Foundation’s Milan headquarters, whose facade is covered with 24-carat gold (design by OMA). Finally, some of them – like Zaha Hadid’s crystals, Calatrava’s lace-like structures or Libeskind’s twisted buildings – are striking and seductive on the outside, but in reality contain only faint traces of a rebellion that was mollified long ago and freshness that has become stale. On the other hand, there is a type of architecture I would define as masochistic, undermining its own foundations and relishing self-destruction. What does this one do to surprise us? How does it shock? Well, there are many options. It’s a celebration of ugliness and creates artificial ruins, like BEST department stores designed in the 1970s by James Wines, with their twisted facades and brick heaps coming from crumbling walls. It takes experiments with form to absurd levels, like the early houses by Peter Eisenman, glued up from meshes and full of absent pillars and implied walls, which massacred structure and function. It glorifies the aesthetics of destruction and

marek warchoł architectural phrase 67

ruins as if they were the essence of beauty – take the Toruń concert hall designed by Fernando Menis, which provokes associations with crumbling lumps of mud or a bombed bunker exposing its open, bleeding wounds. Finally, when it becomes ashamed of its own impotence and bored with all masks, styles and fads, it covers itself with the ground and hides under the city, as does the “Przełomy” Dialogue Centre in Szczecin (design by KWK Promes) – a building with no form, absent and blurred in the space. The compulsion to surprise continuously has something in common with the compulsion to take drugs: you just know that you have to take more every time. You cannot stop or say no. It’s a drug – a promise of satisfaction which will never be fulfilled. It seems that this illusory hope has become a beauty substitute for us. However, just like beauty in art should emerge as a specific side effect of striving after the truth (at least according to a theory expressed by Hermann Broch in his essay entitled Notes on the Problem of Kitsch), the shocking or surprising effect should avoid being a selfcontained value. It’s good when it comes up to the surface as a result of profound changes and movements deep inside culture. Too often, however, it’s just a trace in the sand and a scratch on the surface of our everyday lives through which we slide in great haste, chasing the new and the elusive.

Tour Phare designed by Morphosis; it is planned to be built in 2017 in La Défense, a district of Paris

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Boundless sacrum An alpine glade. A clear white structure with substantial glazing, situated in the middle of it, frames the green landscape Text: Eliza Ziemińska, photos: Paul Ott, Gerhard Sacher


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If you go through it, you will immerse in radiant white and discover the simple language of this form even if you’re the most staunched agnostic


his concrete building is a small family chapel located on the wine hills of Zollfeld in Austria. It was designed by Gerhard Sacher, who runs his studio, Sacher LoCicero Architectes, in Graz. The architect’s task was to create a space for contemplating family ceremonies and holidays. The spatial form of the building incorporates the surrounding landscape into the temple. The cross cast in bronze, designed by Czech artist Jaromir Gargulak, was placed outside the chapel, breaking the convention of traditionally closed sacred spaces. Similarly, the huge chapel door opens as a whole wall surface, eliminating any boundaries between the inside and the outside. The statue of Mary Magdalene, the patron of the chapel, was put in one of the recesses in the wall. Other, smaller niches beside that one are intended for urns. Narrow vertical slits in the side walls of the designaliveMAG.com

chapel are filled with colourful stainedglass windows. The edges of window recesses were installed at an angle letting the sunlight into the building both in the morning and in the evening. The windows show scenes from Genesis; they were made by local artist Karl-Heinz Simonitsch. The glass surface enclosed by concrete walls is a frame – a symbolic window changing the perspective of viewing and perceiving the world. “This white sculpture cannot be passed by without impressing the guest. If you go through it, you will immerse in radiant white and discover the simple language of this form even if you’re the most staunched agnostic,” Sacher says. The form of the chapel resembles the red Torii gates, which are an element of Japanese culture: they symbolize transition from the material world (which leads to death) to infinity. It’s enough to stop at the building for a while in order to see that the whole world is a temple.


The reflection of time Walking through subsequent rooms of the Sonneveld House we feel as if we were swimming or levitating. We feel like crystals in an enormous kaleidoscope. This is caused by the floor, which is fully covered by... mirrors TEXT: ANGELIKA OGROCKA, WOJCIECH TRZCIONKA PHOTOS: JOHANNES SCHWARTZ, WOJCIECH TRZCIONKA



he end of the 1920s and the beginning of the 1930s was the time of Dutch avantgarde. The interwar cultural and business elite shone in salons or built them for itself – anew. The Sonnevelds, a married couple of famous manufacturers owning the Van Nelle plant which produced tobacco, was also looking for a place for themselves. Albertus Sonneveld, delighted with the latest architectural solutions seen during his numerous business trips to America, wished to apply them in his country. He did it in Rotterdam, where he first built an ultramodern factory (today included on UNESCO World Heritage List) and then a family house. He hired Johannes Andreas Brinkman and Leendert Cornelis van der Vlugt from Brinkman & Van der Vlugt (a studio which was only rising to fame at the time) to carry our both projects. The Sonneveld family moved into the residence in 1932. Due to frequent business meetings, the owner was only a guest in the villa, which was therefore managed by designaliveMAG.com

The monochromatic facade and big windows letting in the sunlight are clear references to modernist buildings photo in the upper right corner: JOHANNES SCHWARTZ


Smooth and curved furniture shapes were innovative at the time: conical, cylindrical and spherical lamps made of crystal glass are subtle accessories creating the extraordinary atmosphere of the house

his wife Gesine Grietje Bos – a thoroughly practical and modern woman in her time. Though she loved luxury (the manufacturers from Rotterdam had the first car in the city), she taught their children by herself and had an ambitious approach to home decoration. The kitchen was equipped with the most innovative solutions of the time such as electric cooker rings and coffee grinders, while the bathroom – with a heated towel hanger and hydromassage fittings. The latter was quite extraordinary given that very few Dutch homes had a bathroom at all in that period. The dishes were transported from the kitchen to the dining room using an electric lift operated by servants, who had their own rooms with small bathrooms in the house. The Sonneveld House delights the visitors with its atmosphere of Dutch functionalism and neoplasticism, whose reflection in architecture is the Nieuwe Bouwen (new construction) style. With every step, we notice the influence of De designalivemag.com

The Sonneveld House delights the visitors with its atmosphere of Dutch functionalism and neoplasticism, whose reflection in architecture is the Nieuwe Bouwen style

Stijl and Bauhaus. The play of horizontal and vertical lines determines the orderly distribution of furniture – and the latter is minimalistic and coherent. Metal tubes in chairs, tables and wardrobes are contrasted with dim colours of upholstery. Smooth and curved furniture shapes were innovative at the time: conical, cylindrical and spherical lamps made of crystal glass are subtle accessories creating the extraordinary atmosphere of the house. Most of them were made especially for the villa by famous Dutch designer Willem Hendrik Gispen. Big windows letting in the sunlight and a monochromatic facade are clear references to modernist buildings – and it only gets better as we go on. The entire floor is covered by mirrors. Walking through subsequent rooms we feel as if we were swimming or levitating. The house seems infinitely big, especially toward the far end. designaliveMAG.com

archicons 77 Brinkman & Van der Vlugt – an architecture studio founded by Johannes Andreas Brinkman and Leendert Cornelis van der Vlugt. They were one of the most recognizable creative duets and left their mark on the appearance of Dutch cities, mainly Rotterdam. After der Vlugt’s sudden death in 1936, the studio ceased its thriving activity of over 15 years.

The bathroom was equipped with a heated towel hanger and hydromassage fittings, which was quite extraordinary given that very few Dutch homes had a bathroom at all in that period

When we look at the floor, everything on it is reflected, mixed and multiplied. We feel like crystals in an enormous kaleidoscope. When the sunlight comes in through the huge windows, the apartment glistens like a jewel which reflects the light in all directions. The Sonneveld House is currently maintained by Het Nieuwe Instituut, located on the other side of Jongkindstraat street, and managed by Stichting Volkskracht Historische Monumenten – a foundation which bought the building in 1977. Owing to cooperation with the Netherlands Architecture Institute, it was open for visitors in 2001. The original interiors were restored by valued Dutch designer Richard Hutten. The reconstruction recreated the equipment from 1933, which was possible due to detailed drawings and documents gathered in the owners’ family archive. Tickets: EUR 6.50–10. www.huissonneveld.nl designalivemag.com

He ended his education when he was 13, but he has created one of the biggest design collections in the world, opened and maintained one of the most important design museums as well as conducted the famous design workshops in Domaine de Boisbuchet, France. “In your life you need to have ideas, valour and determination,” argues Alexander von Vegesack during an interview with Wojciech Trzcionka text: WOJCIECH TRZCIONKA


here are places you don’t want to leave for all the world. Boisbuchet is a beautifully situated palace estate in southwestern France, around which summer design workshops conducted by the world’s most influential designers, architects and artists have been organized for 25 years. The place was created by Alexander von Vegesack – one of the most famous collectors of design, mainly furniture from the Bauhaus period and that designed by Michael Thonet. Vegesack is also the creator of Vitra Design Museum and its former long-term director. We meet over a late morning coffee in an old mill converted into a cafe, opposite a palace built in 1860 which houses Vegesack’s collection. An idyll. I can only hear the chirping of birds and the swoosh of the river. Alexander, as everyone calls him here, is a dignified and very peaceful elderly man who decides to tell me about his whole life. You were born in March 1945, when World War II was nearly over. What did the life in post-war Germany look like to you and your family? A part of my family came from near Wrocław in Lower Silesia, while the other part – from near Riga. After being resettled to Germany we were put in transit designaliveMAG.com

camps. We weren’t warmly welcomed in Germany. After that we wandered around between our relatives’ homes and various farms. It was extremely hard to get a job. People were very suspicious and considered us intruders. We were treated very badly as refugees – I felt that in school later on. Did you feel German? Yes. Baltic Germans considered themselves Germans, but Germany didn’t care about them. You established your first business already at school – it was a school employment agency. I did little at school. I didn’t understand how school was supposed to help me – it was my nightmare. I had terrible dreams associated with that place until I was 30. It was a tough time for my parents. I always had some ideas instead. My parents couldn’t afford anything; we were very poor. We had lost everything and had no accounts in Switzerland. If I wanted something, I had to get money for it by myself. That’s why I established a school employment agency, which, by the way, was the reason they expelled me. Contrary to my parents, I was extremely happy. I did a real lot of various things afterwards, but it was always something I was greatly interested in. I had no skills, but I’d always take the

Photo: Wojciech trzcionka

Collector of ideas

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80 people Large buildings are created during the workshops beside temporary installations; they are included in the architectural park afterwards. The latest one is snow-white Techstyle House, commissioned for use in the spring of 2015. Other facilities were designed by such famous creators as Shigeru Ban or Simón Vélez

plunge, sacrifice myself and try to learn everything fast by myself. When did you end your education? I left school when I was 13. I don’t intend to advise others to do the same, but if young people have problems with school, can’t make it and end their education, it doesn’t mean that their life has ended and their future will be terrible. However, they’ll have to be patient and ready to fight for their values and carry out their ideas – or search for another way if their plans don’t work. You must always consistently search for your own way. I had never wanted to work in a bank or open a meat shop. I had always known what I wanted to do. I loved visiting flea markets and collecting things. But before that passion appeared there had been the famous Fucktory episode in Hamburg… When I left school, my parents sent me to work in a bank in Hamburg. I quit after three months, so they said that I had to fend for myself. I decided to renovate old flats with my friends. We were doing quite fine, but I didn’t have the faintest notion designaliveMAG.com

I collected only those objects that demonstrated technological progress – I was fascinated by industrial development

of conducting business activity and doing the accounts, so we went bankrupt. I and my eight friends moved into a former factory hall which we rented. We practised experimental theatre, pantomime and ballet, held film shows and invited various artists. We lived together in an open community, which was very fashionable in Germany at that time. It gave me enormous joy. Fucktory was financed by a weekend discotheque. We were very popular: it was a beautiful old hall with a wooden floor (today we’d call it a loft). We lived in the same hall where the discotheque was organized. When our guests left the place, we spread our mattresses and went to bed. We also had a kitchen and an open bathroom. Actually, all our life was really open. The police arrested us every few weeks because we didn’t have a license to run a club, but we kept evading the ban by proving that it was a private place. What also helped us was the fact that the judge who decided about our fate was a regular guest at our discotheque. It was an incredible time which influenced

photos: Julia Hasse, Deidi von Schaewen / Domaine de Boisbuchet, wojciech trzcionka

Boisbuchet influences young people’s lives in a very strong way. They see here not only beauty, but also completely different possibilities of developing ideas.

Boisbuchet is a beautifully situated palace estate in southwestern France, around which summer design workshops have been organized for 25 years

us greatly. We were no more than 18-21 years old. And how did you become a collector? We needed chairs for our theatre performances, so I searched for them at flea markets. The best ones were Thonet’s chairs (Michael Thonet, 1796-1871: a GermanAustrian pioneer of furniture production on an industrial scale – editor’s note). When one of them broke, you could easily repair it by replacing the faulty part with a fragment from another chair. I became interested in those chairs and started to search for literature concerning them, but I found nothing. I used to visit Andalusia in the summertime to travel on horseback with my friends. Finally, a German magazine Stern, which had often written about Fucktory before, wrote about us. The text reached Álvaro Domecq Díez ( 1917-2005 – editor’s note), a famous Spanish aristocrat, who offered me business: he wanted me to organize trips through Andalusia on horseback. He gave me a good sum of money, so I created a tourist company for him within a year. It operated very well,

The place is visited by eminent designers and crowds of young, creative people craving for development

but I decided to leave after one year because the job was incredibly demanding: I was on the go all the time. The company functions until now and is one of the biggest in the world in this industry. I moved to French coast, where I kept buying old carriages to renovate them and then we took German tourists on trips in them. We earned a great profit, so I was able to do winter journeys to Czechoslovakia, Russia and Poland, where I visited furniture factories as well as collected documentation and Thonet’s furniture. At the beginning, I brought the biggest number of Thonet’s objects from Spain – one of the first countries which had bought a huge number of them after the first Expo, held in London in 1851, because they were very light and easy to carry on a terrace. I found beautiful chairs there, disassembled them, fixed them on the horse’s back behind the saddle and took them to France. I also found a lot of furniture on flea markets, e.g. in Amsterdam. I collected only those objects that demonstrated technological progress – I was fascinated by industrial development. Michael Thonet’s furniture or our clothing is the best example of how the world changes and how civilization progresses. Has Thonet’s chair changed so much within 150 years? I can say which year a Thonet’s chair comes from upon just a casual inspection. It has changed because of fashion, influences, wars, social conditions and increasingly wealthy societies. This furniture is the witness of time. I initially collected only wooden chairs, but then also those made of bent tubes and the latter ones made me become interested in Bauhaus. I held the first big exhibition in 1968 in the USA and it visited ten more museums after New York. designalivemag.com

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Owing to my hobby, I met Billy Wilder ( 1906-2002: an American screenwriter, director and producer born in Sucha Beskidzka, which is currently situated in Poland – editor’s note), who also collected wooden furniture. One day I heard that he was dead, so I phoned his family because I wanted to talk to his inheritors. The phone was answered by Wilder himself – it turned out that he was alive and kicking. He was terribly annoyed, but he gave me his address and invited me to visit him on the same day. We knew each other 18 years and did a lot together. He was a fascinating man. In the meantime, you created Vitra Design Museum – the second design museum in the world after the one in London. We were supposed to be first, but our construction works were delayed and our museum opened in the autumn of 1989 instead of spring. Vitra’s owner, Rolf Fehlbaum, wanted to create a museum, but he didn’t know how to run it, so he hired me and gave me a free hand. He had one condition: designaliveMAG.com

the museum wouldn’t cost him a penny – a typical Swiss attitude. He only chose an architect, Frank Gehry, while I was to manage the rest. And I was successful. I run the institution till 2010 and our financial results were very good even though it was very difficult to find sponsors. Everyone kept asking why they should pay given that the museum owner was a rich company. However, Vitra preferred financing other undertakings instead of ours. During that time you bought an estate with a palace in southern France and established Domaine de Boisbuchet – a place which has organized the annual summer design workshops conducted by the world’s most famous architects and designers for 25 years. I had money for that after selling a part of my Thonet collection. The sum wasn’t exorbitant – you’d have to pay a similar price for a big house on the outskirts of a relatively big city. The purchase wasn’t a problem: renovation and maintenance proved to be

photos: Carlo Cialli / Domaine de Boisbuchet, wojciech trzcionka

Last summer, Domaine de Boisbuchet, which organizes an event considered as the most important summer design workshops in the world, held 25 one-week seminars united by one motto: “Design and community”. They were conducted by i.a. Campana brothers, Philippe Malouin, Jamie Hayon, Josh Owen, Go Hasegawa, BCXSY, Philippe Nigro and Studio Rygalik. The participants were, as usual, people from all over the world who held various positions – from a bank cashier to design students. Sigga Heimis from Iceland, one of IKEA’s main designers, led a workshop entitled “Cooking, Eating & Designing”, in which I decided to participate and it was an incredible time for me. Boisbuchet, however, emanates its magic on everyone, lecturers included. “Boisbuchet is an unbelievably charming place with magnificent architecture of old and new buildings. I have visited it for many years – this year I came with my daughter. I discover myself and other people here. Virtually every participant comes from a different country – and there are as many viewpoints as there are countries. We meet people and their beautiful ideas, discuss, create, have fun and work; we’re not afraid of creating new things,” Sigga Heimis says. Every interested person can take part in the workshops, submitting an application via the website: www.boisbuchet.org

You need to have ideas, valour and discipline to carry out what you have planned. This place was my big dream

the real challenge. I always do everything with friends – Fucktory, the museum, and finally Boisbuchet. Friends from Poland and Ukraine were among those who helped me a lot. Sadly, for three years I had enormous problems with squatters, who illegally occupied the palace and were eventually expelled by the police under a court verdict. We opened this place immediately after the fall of the Berlin Wall and the launch of Vitra Design Museum. 1989 was a difficult, but also incredible and very important year to me. Boisbuchet is a magical place, but it’s also famous for fantastic workshops. Do you organize it for money or for pleasure? The place is financed by my lectures, sponsors and selling my furniture. The workshop revenue itself wouldn’t do – it covers only one third of the costs. Let me refer here to the beginning of our conversation. I don’t want to hold this up as an examMy story is a clear proof that ending the ple for anyone to follow, but my story is education very early doesn’t make the a clear proof that ending the education very person an immediate looser

early doesn’t make the person an immediate looser. You need to have ideas, valour and discipline to carry out what you have planned. This place was my big dream. I don’t have children, but I can’t take my eyes off young people coming here from all over the world who are impressed both by the place and the workshops. Boisbuchet influences young people’s lives in a very strong way. They see here not only beauty, but also completely different possibilities of developing ideas. The palace displays your magnificent furniture collection and library. The collection includes several thousand items, but only a few dozen are on display. There is no other centre like this: its surrounding nature is outstanding, it conveys vast knowledge and has a library featuring 40 thousand items and a furniture collection demonstrating all the changes that have taken place in the industrialization of furniture production. What is the future of this place? I’ve been looking for a partner, such as a university or a company, which would care for the same as I do, i.e. this place and education development. The future of this estate depends on the fact if we manage to find a method of permanent financing. This is my homeland after wandering throughout my entire life. Do you have children? Yes. They’re six and nine years old. So come with them the next time, as do our designers. We’re not able to offer them a lot in terms of money, but we can give them a magnificent place for rest and creative development. This is a perfect place for children. They’ll be glad. Interviewer: Wojciech Trzcionka designalivemag.com

source of new experiences designalivemag.com

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henrik lindberg – The key is simplicity and search for a perfect solution – that is how success in business is defined by the owner of Lindberg, Danish family-owned company, famous for its titanium eyewear Photos: WOJCIECH TRZCIONKA



Henrik Lindberg in his hut placed inside his company. This is his office, designed by Mats Theselius who named the project „A Man’s Need”. Inside there are only essentials: a bed, a chair and a table.

meet on the premises of the company in Aarhus, second largest city in Denmark. One of the most state-of-the-art eyewear companies in the world operates out of historic factory halls resembling spacious lofts. – We are a luxury brand, however, luxury means comfort not frippery – Peter Warrer, the Sales & Marketing Director of Lindberg, explains. – We describe ourselves as explorers of new solutions in eyewear – Henrik Lindberg adds. All Lindberg frames are made of titanium, which makes them both light and solid. Additionally they do not collapse as there is no welding, no screws. The eyewear is unusual for one more reason: I do not know how they do this but I feel that every single model, no matter which one I try, fits me ideally. They all fit like a glove. No wonder everyone desires them, from Margrethe II of Denmark to Brad Pitt or Miuccia Prada and Giorgio Armani. I wondered if you have a secretary. – I mostly use assistance of the person who works at the reception. I also have a few people who write letters or do other office jobs for me, but I do not have my own secretary. You also do not have your own office? – I closed my office two years ago. I am getting older and I realise that, first of all, I should do things immediately – on the spot - and, secondly, I found that most of what I had in the office was something from the past and I am not interested in the past. I am interested in today, tomorrow and the future. So I closed my old office and moved into my little hut. It is a hut I tried to buy for many years. At first, it was not for sale, but then I got the opportunity to purchase it. Tell me more about the house. Is it just a small hut with a bed? – It is a very famous type of a hut. The hut may not have a typical Scandinavian look, but it was designed by a very famous Swedish architect and designer called Mats Theselius, primarily known for his furniture. I like his design philosophy because it is very material oriented. I also like the way he works with materials as well as his ‘form language’. The hut itself is very clean and clear. I discovered that most furniture designs may look good but they are not necessarily comfortable. Here, in my hut, I appreciate what I have. Anyway, I really admire what he is doing. He made this house more than ten years ago and called it „A Man’s need”. It is simple and there are only few objects – a bed, a chair and a table. Did your wife banish you from your house? – Yes... exactly (laugh). The creator of the house is a very interesting person and I visited him two weeks ago, the day after his 60th birthday. I like to see the way he thinks, he is amazing. Do you like to stay close to your employees and work together? – Yes, I do. This is the essence of what we do at Lindberg, and this is what the design designalivemag.com

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is about. We have a lot of extraordinary artefacts here that have been created in a unique process of the production. It is wonderful. The basic idea for the first Lindberg frame was just an experiment and we figured out, at that time it was my father and me, that we needed an element of success, at least just to get some return on investment by selling a few pieces from our existing optical store. We knew that was necessary and we actually succeeded from the beginning. Then we knew we needed a machine to expand the production in order to sell in a traditional way to distributors. Unfortunately, the machine we were dreaming about did not exist. Machines available on the market at that time did not meet our requirements as they left scratches and marks. Basically we had to start from scratch. First person who I employed was‌ a tool maker. The next step was to invent our own tools, small and able to bend wire without scratching. It was the beginning. We also realised that to be successful we needed to contact opticians directly, regardless of their location. We observed the market in order to have everything under control. There were many opportunities, however, we did not have anything - no brand, no reputation. And then, halfway between the new idea and the tool-making, the titanium came in. designaliveMAG.com

We are a luxury brand, however, luxury means comfort not frippery When using the titanium you realise how difficult it is. You move by one millimeter and try to bend the wire, then you move forward and try to press with the same strength. You have to make two identical bendings, which is impossible. That is the character of the titanium - it is a fantastic material, both solid and extremely light, but only if you know how to master it. We realized that what we needed to do was impossible even with a machine. So we decided to put off the larger scale production and start from scratch. Most importantly, we wanted to create a building system for the opticians so they could fill more tailor-made orders. At that time it meant use of many different components as the lenses were not very advanced. It required a lot of wire to fit the lenses which had the diopter of 3, 4, 5 or 6. Today the technology is much better, which means there is no difference in thickness of lenses with diopter of 4 or 6. It is only a matter of how the lenses are made. The next stage was to make the tools ourselves, manufacture the end product and

find a seller. Getting to the first customer seemed to be a long and expensive way. It required money and banks did not trust me as I wanted to make everything myself. Bank clerks may have trusted me a little bit more if they had any products to sell by auction in case we went bankrupt. Eventually, our only available capital were the earnings from the little optical shop. It took what felt like a lifetime before we were able to ship our products for the first time. It was not complete at that time but at least we did not have to close down. We were also lucky enough to have a lot of friends in the optical business who had their shops in Denmark. They agreed to take our glasses, although they admitted they did not understand our idea. Just after that we had an opportunity to appear on television and talk to a very famous designer and artist called Per Arnoldi. He is quite famous in foreign countries and at that time also hosted a prime time tv-show. His focus was the use of these completely new materials, as we were first in the world to use titanium wire and we of course

Design is everything The brand was created 28 years ago by Poul-Jorn Lindberg, the optometrist. He could not find the right, light glasses that he would like, so he decided to start designing and making the eyewear from nothing but a titanium wire. Today the Lindberg company, led by the founder’s son Henrik Lindberg (an architect by profession), is a world leading independent manufacturer of original eyewear, known for its Scandinavian minimalism and good design. – I spend 24 hours a day designing. For me, design is not only a creation of a new pattern of an eyewear. It is much about how you lead your company. A good product is not enough if you do not distribute rightly or cannot manage people. For me this is design, in a sense – points out Henrik Lindberg. www.lindberg.com

explained about the rimless system, too. Breakthrough came the day after the broadcast - people rushed to the optical shops asking about the new eyeglasses, everyone wanted them. Our system was beyond anything known so far. In the meantime I hired Peter Warrer, who is our Sales & Marketing Director still to this day, and also an opportunity to enter foreign markets appeared. It was by pure coincidence – a few foreign customers being on vacation in Denmark came into an optician and were taken aback by our eyewear. They bought the glasses and took them to their own country. Luck is a part of the business, then? – Yes, it is a big part of it. Our luck was coincidence of different occasions. First, titanium came in and we figured out how to use it to our advantage. Then we got the opportunity to be on television and our idea started to be internationally recognised. Additionally, a lot of small events happened that helped us enter the market such as improvements in the international communication. Calling abroad became much easier through toll-free numbers and nobody was afraid anymore. The open market came in and became the foundation of our success. Today you are in 200 countries? – 138. You are a global company, then. – Actually, the first country after Germany

that we entered was Japan, which was a coincidence. There was an interest from some Japanese who saw our eyewear at the German optician and showed big interested in it. And so we went to Japan. This was 25 years ago. We say – our market is the world. Is this the philosophy of the Lindberg company? – The philosophy is one thing and the reality is another (laugh). The key is to be as simple as possible. An idea has to be so simple that everybody can understand it. If you look at the single product, you will see pure simplicity – 5 components and nothing but a wire. There is no welding, there is only properly bent wire. But if you look at the outcome, you will see the most complicated system with billions of combinations. It is the contradiction. We describe ourselves as the explorers of new solutions in eyewear. We offer a huge amount of combinations and colours to choose from, incomparable to others in this branch. Basically the philosphy of Lindberg is to steer away from what everyone else is doing and just go with our own feeling of what simply fits. Our philosophy is slightly stuck in tradition, but it is not purely Scandinavian. To say it is Scandinavian is a simplification of the idea. The Scandinavian design philosophy is basically different. I admit, I am into Danish philosophy as for the materials, the way you use them

and the desire to simplify. Take for instance the architecture and decor of buildings here, there are not many ornaments, it is about the basics. In my opinion it could be weather related. In Denmark the weather is rough, more than in Poland. Look at our collection today and you will see our desire to minimise things, to approach the problem from different angles and to combine the materials suitably. We always seek the perfect solution. How do you manage to be so successful in Denmark where there are so many known international brands? – It might be related to the fact that Denmark is a small country. Although we do not have many design schools, we had very good teachers, to be honest even famous ones. On the other hand, I have to admit that from the end of the 60s until 8 to 5 years ago nothing important happened. It seems that manufacturers were satisfied with what they already achieved. They were satisfied with their good sales and anybody who tried to bring something new soon realised they had to make way for the bigger winner - Ikea. No effort was put into studying new designs or new solutions. It seems that to be innovative you cannot stop working on new design and functionality. – At present the greatest problem for young designers is lack of capital or infrastructure designalivemag.com

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Wearing glasses is not like wearing shoes shoes can hurt a little as long as they look good. An eyewear must be perfect

to take off. Manufacturers do not trust them, they are only able to develop a small local business. What is the future of brands and of Lindberg company in this globalised world? – I do not know, it is difficult to say. The world is big and Lindberg has a limited number of goods manufactured every year. So far we are satisfied with what we have. It makes us flexible as far as the sales are concerned and also it enables us to move without losing our customers. Anyway, we do not have a board to pressure us, nobody tells us what sales targets must be achieved this year. It is only me and the system. You do not have any investors? – No. We do not need any investors as we do not have a professional board apart from a panel meeting once a year. And the panel is me, my sister and my parents. What can I say more about the future? The best things are changing. The old school opticians are disappearing and the next generation do not want to take over. At present, some of our old customers have been sold to big players such as Ray-Ban or Prada. We notice the market changes and challenges and face them by having what they do not have, namely titanium frames, rimless frames, new contact lenses technology and precious frame materials. We designaliveMAG.com

fit in the market quite well as long as we do not lose our flexibility. Competitors are of course aware of our presence. It is a bit of a shame that they are controlling many brands and shops at once, both individual and chains. It is sometimes difficult to find out who is behind. As far as I know your love is both racing and sailing? – I have been sailing a lot since I was I year old. Did it help you somehow in your business? – For many years it was sailing. At 7 years old both Peter and I went into the sport and competed for many years on the same team. At some point I realised that it was just the same at work – it was all about team work and I wanted to do something different, I wanted to do something on my own. I am too old to run, I do not like golf so I had to find something else. And then I discovered racing go-karts – just me against the others. My only problem is to find the time as I am travelling a lot for business. The races require travelling as well – UK, France, Korea. Do you travel to meet your customers? – Yes, I meet my customers anywhere and everywhere from Taipei to Milan to New York and many other places. It never ends. But I enjoy it and I am going to travel as long as needed. What exactly is your job today at Lindberg?

– I contribute with the big ideas and set the overall direction for the company as well as for our designs. I continuously have ideas and I am also a member of the Lindberg design group. There are seven of us now. We sit and discuss on every single millimeter of the eyewear. I also like to call myself „the helicopter”. I talk to people a lot but I do not want to be the one taking decisions on behalf of the managers. However, we, as designers, do a lot of things we are not allowed to, we cross borders (laugh). Are you workaholic like most of the owners of companies? – I work 24/7. The company is my life. Sometimes I take a vacation but I am not the one to lie on the beach. In my spare time I get in my car and race. How old are you? – I am 60 but I still like to be a part of the team, create the products and sell them. We need to take a stand against those selling two for the price of one or buy one, get one free for your neighbour. We believe that what is placed in the center of your face is very important. It has to feel comfortable and look good at the same time. Wearing glasses is not like wearing shoes - shoes can hurt a little as long as they look good. An eyewear must be perfect. Interviewer: Wojciech Trzcionka

Thank you for being with us again! TEXT: JULIA CIESZKO PHOTOS: KRZYSZTOF PACHOLAK

The fourth Design Alive Awards gala is now history. On December 2nd in Iluzjon cinema in Warsaw we granted awards for the best animateurs, strategists and creators, summing up twelve incredibly interesting months in Polish design industry. The annual Cocktail of Ideas ensured, as always, a high concentration of creative concepts, thought exchanges and encounters. “Thank you for being with us again,” said Ewa Trzcionka, editor-in-chief of Design Alive and Chair of the Chapter in the competition in which we reward eminent personalities for creativity and culture-generating impact. Iluzjon – a cult cinema, a must-visit place on the cultural map of Warsaw and a magnificent example of modernist architecture – once again became an extraordinary companion of the Design Alive Awards gala. The awards are granted for the ability to respond to the needs of the changing world and society. They appreciate all those who co-create brands, services, products and spaces as well as those who effectively manage the flow of knowledge, skills and inspirations. The unique meeting on December 2nd revealed the winners in three most important categories: strategist, creator and animateur. The guests, jury members and nominees were traditionally greeted from the stage by Ewa Trzcionka and Dariusz Stańczuk from RMF Classic radio. After a short presentation and expressing gratitude to sponsors and partners, we began the fourth award ceremony, which was thrilling, but not devoid of touching moments. The results of the exciting online readers’ poll had already been announced at the beginning of November, but the jury’s verdict was kept secret till the very end. This year’s laureates were selected after another heated deliberation of the Chapter formed by: Ewa Trzcionka – chair of the jury, Ewa Voelkel-Krokowicz – president of Concordia Design in Poznań, Iwona Gach – marketing and advertisement director of Design Alive, Przemo Łukasik – architect in Medusa Group, Magdalena Węglewska – PR director of Mazda Polska, Małgorzata Żmijska – sociologist, exhibition curator and design process practitioner as well as

Oskar Zięta – Polish designer, scientist and author of statuettes for the winners. “This person deserves to have received the award a long time ago” was what Wojtek Trzcionka, publishing director of Design Alive, said from the stage as he announced the first result of DesignAlive.pl Readers’ Poll and gave Katarzyna Świętek a distinction in the Cultural Manager category for “The Polish Table” project, which had involved three Polish brands in the creation of a mutual product expressing contemporary design. A moment later we got to know the Mazda Design distinction winner, who was announced by Magdalena Węglewska on behalf of the patron of this year’s gala. “We want to reward a person who has made an exceptional contribution to culture-generating activities, breaks stereotypes, acts in a different way than everybody else and against the system as well as proves than her work can also influence the future of Polish design,” said the competition jury member... and the award went to Agata Wilam from the Children’s University. Małgorzata Żmijska was the next person to appear on the stage in order to announce one of the three most important awards of the evening. The title of Cultural Manager of 2015 went to Edyta Ołdak. “The title was awarded for accurate diagnoses of social problems and making efforts to solve them effectively,” the jury justified its decision. “I’m very grateful to everyone. 20% of what we do is magnificent ideas born not only in my head, but also in the heads of my collaborators from the Association ‘Based in Warsaw’,” said the winner, who was surprised and truly moved. “Then the ideas are carried out in a fantastic way and during that time we look forward to meeting our recipients. However, the next 60% is squeezing the money out of a stone. Sometimes we simply lose our strength. Moments such as this one let me believe that what we do has a tremendous meaning, after all,” she added. Owing to cooperation between Design Alive Awards and Domain de Boisbuchet, Cultural Manager of 2015 will also spend a week in one of the most famous creative workshop centres in the world. In the next category, Strategist, the Readers’

design alive awards 2015 91 Poll distinction went to Ewa Stiasny, Joanna Rzyska and Jadwiga Jędryas – founders of Polish publishing house Wydawnictwo Dwie Siostry. According to the jury’s justification, “the title was awarded for treating children seriously and adults with tongue in cheek as well as for an incredible sense visible in this year’s enhancement of their unique offer of books which make the reader drink in the content expressed both in words and illustrations”. The distinction was presented by Iwona Gach, who reminded the audience that it was precisely the books by Wydawnictwo Dwie Siostry which gathered magnificent authors, architects and designers whom Design Alive was honoured to present and reward every year. “A cheeky team that knows what they do and what they want,” Oskar Zięta said from the stage as he announced the next winners. “This is what the future will look like,” the designer added, pointing to representatives of Tylko brand (Hanna Kokczyńska, Michał Piasecki, Mikołaj Molenda, Benjamin Kuna and Jacek Majewski), which won the title of Strategist of 2015 in Design Alive Awards “for taking the risk of being first and taking a courageous step toward the future while creating an avant-garde interior design brand”. Architects from Mode:lina studio, Paweł Garus and Jerzy Woźniak, also expressed their cordial thanks from the stage: they had been rewarded by the Readers and thus received a distinction in the Creator category. The duet from Poznań had been nominated this year i.a. for lightness and distance in designing public space interiors. “Nowadays we need people who can make others follow them because of their attitude and actions as well as share the passion for what they do,” said Ewa Trzcionka before announcing the winner of Creator of 2015. The DAA statuette went to Gosia and Tomek Rygalik. The title was awarded for the invaluable participation in changing the face of Polish furniture industry and a skilful summary of their work to date via the exhibition “Rygalik. The Heart of Things”. The title rewarded not only the design work, but also an ability which is very rare and desired these days: the ability to be a mentor for students, employees and admirers. After the exciting award ceremony the guests were invited for a good dose of electronic sounds by SOXSO duet. The stage was taken over by Natasza Ptakova and Maciej “Tayrand” Sawoch, who presented i.a. their debut track entitled “Noise Wash”. The energetic and yet sensual voice combined with the aesthetics of the 1980s was a perfect conclusion to the official part of the program. That evening, we also invited our guests to the Cocktail of Ideas – a traditional opportunity for having interesting conversations and, most importantly, exchanging creative ideas, summing up the events of 2015 in the design industry. designalivemag.com

Design Alive Awards 2015

Design Alive Awards 2015 are granted in Poland for conscious, creative and culture-generating responses to the needs of the changing world and society. They go to those who co-create brands, services, products and spaces as well as those who have the strength and competence to manage the flow of knowledge, skills and inspirations.

The judges of Design Alive Awards 2015

Magdalena Węglewska PR director of Mazda Design (Warsaw)

Iwona Gach Member of the Management Board of Presso – the publisher of “Design Alive”

Ewa Voelkel–Krokowicz President of the Management Board of Concordia Design (Poznań)

Przemo Łukasik architect and founder of Medusa Group studio (Bytom)

Oskar Zięta designer and scientist, founder of Zieta Prozessdesign (Wrocław)

Ewa Trzcionka editor-in-chief of “Design Alive”, Chair of the Judges

Małgorzata Żmijska curator and design practitioner (Łódź)

Patron of the competition:




design alive awards 2015 93

animateur nominations

for managing the flow of knowledge, skills and inspirations

Anna Pięta and Magda Korcz organizers of Hush Warsaw Edyta Ołdak Chair of the Association “Based in Warsaw” Anna Kopaniarz, Adam Godziek, Adam Pomian and Daniel Wahl organizers of Tauron New Music Festival Katarzyna Świętek independent curator

Photo: courtesy KatarzynA świętek

Agata Wilam President of the Children’s University Aleksander Krajewski co-founder of Napraw Sobie Miasto foundation Paweł Janowski, Zofia Machowiak, Agata Pakieła and Żaneta Przepiera originators of Zakład Makerspace (Poznań) Ewa Solarz independent curator Barbara Krzeska manager at the Adam Mickiewicz Institute

The title of animateur in Design Alive Awards Readers’ Poll was granted to Katarzyna Świętek, independent curator nominated for a project named “The Polish Table”, which involved three Polish manufacturers in the creation of a mutual product expressing good contemporary design and long-term experience with production technologies. designalivemag.com

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animateur of 2015 The title was awarded for accurate diagnoses of social problems and making efforts to solve them effectively through such activities as seminars entitled “Culture for social changes” and “A spotted box or a rocking sponge” – a project for disabled children, as well as for the ability to involve creative, sensitive people and above-average empathy with small communities, including socially excluded ones. designalivemag.com

Edyta Ołdak text: julia ceszko photo: krzysztof pacholak

She comes from artistic circles, but her work reaches far beyond the borders of aesthetics and beauty. To her, education is an art. She uses her knowledge and skills to diagnose social problems and come closer to solving them every day. She founded the Association “Based in Warsaw”, which cooperates with designers and has already carried out several dozen prosocial projects such as “BUUM”, “Urban safari” or “Grand architecture and colours of impaired vision”. She involves culture creators, artists, sociologists and animateurs so that they cooperate with citizens and, guided by the idea of sustainable design, try to revive neglected places in Warsaw. The Association created “Release the project” – a new model of production and distribution of objects based on free licenses, owing to which everyone can have access to contemporary versions of traditional artefacts. The project named “A spotted box or a rocking sponge” showed the potential of universal educational toys made by parents and Polish designers invited to cooperate. Edyta Ołdak is an invaluable consultant in projects concerning inclusive education, i.e. the one intended also for recipients with dysfunctions. She is able to notice needs, listen with patience, share energy, infect with optimism and encourage effective cooperation on the creation of correct solutions. Learn what the following words mean to her. CITY The city means simultaneously stability and risk, big and small sizes, digital and analogue technology, weariness and energy, people and absence. This notion is so comprehensive that everyone can shape it according to their own preferences. I know several cities named Warsaw: in one of them people grow tomatoes, in another one they fight for residents’ rights and in yet another one they break up or have careers in corporations. What counts in “my Warsaw” is relations among people because these create social tendencies. The city has taught us to organize and accept responsi-

bility for the space as well as to define the terms “common” and “private” in order to create a new phenomenon called “socially responsible”. Personally, I feel that groups of activists and artists take sufficient care of the city – and they do it in a marvellous way. Thus, I made a conscious decision to slowly withdraw from those areas and look for new ones, which are neglected, but equally fascinating. I’ve found them in Polish SCHOOL. SCHOOL A social organism entangled in architecture which has more closed than open doors (I always enter a school through the cloakroom because the main entrance is usually closed by 3 pm). It’s a huge but unused potential with very few activists or artists thus far. An architect appears there only when they have to create a “building” for very big or very small (never adequate) money. I’ve begun my work in those spaces by replacing the word “building” with the phrase “learning spaces”. I have an attitude which says that learning is a process that doesn’t take place at a school desk! It takes place during the pupil’s rest, conversations with friends and manner of contact with the surroundings at school. A quiet entrance to Polish school will let us achieve much more than we could do by organizing loud demonstrations in front of facilities built by greedy developers. I like this change in my life; it has made me replace banners with glue and scissors. How will I use those in Polish school? Well, this depends on me. PEOPLE I’m addicted to them. They’re more than just recipients of the Association’s activities: they’re the first and last link of all our projects. I engage in a dialogue with them every day in many ways. It’s fascinating how many specialists I meet while carrying out my events. The whole power in the Association’s events comes from a system of lenses whose focal lengths are as different as my collaborators’ views. I cooperate with educators, artists, designers, therapists and

teachers to create for children, students, corporate employees, blue collars, the unemployed, prisoners and lonely ones. People are always seen from the angle of their needs and expectations – if you don’t listen to those, you’ll sound like a politician from a party which lost the election. And you should listen every day. It’s easy when you have time for those observations: you walk or have a friendly chat with your favourite neighbour. It gets hard when you must notice the needs of a clerk who’s arguing with you or a hater who writes comments on you and then you happen to read them. At such moments I’m no longer so clever. Sometimes I can’t hold my tongue and I’m enormously ashamed of that. ACTION Let’s assume that an action is 24 frames per second. You can view them separately or as a sequence. You can also make a loop, creating a story. How you treat those frames depends on you. There is no single recipe for a successful action: it may be a final sum of many activities or a quiet entrance (e.g. to school). An action is a quiet or loud activity resulting in a change, but that change is frequently unnoticeable after you press STOP because it may be a much longer process than your tape can record. It takes place in your head or in the space; it’s more or less tangible. The activity of our Association began with actions in the city. We have been definitely withdrawing from them and we now opt for long-term activities instead of events. Those activities are frequently nearly experiments and this way they assess the reality. INSPIRATION Sometimes you don’t know where an accidental conversation with a fish seller or playing with your child will lead you. If you have an open mind, it’s easy to fish out important matters which are worth dealing with. “A spotted box or a rocking sponge” is a sublimation of many experiences. First, I made educational aids myself for my daughter who needs them. Then, I found a box full of dishcloths in a room belonging to my friend who is a therapist: I knew right away what to do with that. Who understands a child’s needs better than its parents? There was no such consultation process before in which opinions of the most important experts – the parents – were heard. And it’s so easy! Other projects came to life in equally ordinary circumstances: at a bus stop, in a queue, at a festival in my home town or during a nativity play in my daughters’ kindergarten. designalivemag.com

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The distinction was granted for: breaking conventions, which is also the ingredient of Mazda’s DNA; swimming against the tide in children’s education, which is a truly strategic discipline of cultural development; sharing passion and knowledge with those who want to teach in a different way and consider it as an enormous potential for society development; and the idea of lesson scenarios developed in cooperation with enthusiasts and experts in various fields and then made available for free on the Internet. designalivemag.com

Photo: yulka wilam

Mazda Design Distinction in the category of animateur Agata Wilam, President of the Children’s University

Strategist nominations for building the development strategy of an organization

Hanna Kokczyńska Michał Piasecki, Mikołaj Molenda, Benjamin Kuna and Jacek Majewski founders of Tylko brand Manuela Waliczek–Rączka, Szymon Rączka founder of Handimania.com Michał Śliwiński founder of Nozbe

PHOTO: courtesy wydawnictwO dwie siostry

Ewa Stiasny, Joanna Rzyska and Jadwiga Jędryas founders of Wydawnictwo Dwie Siostry Maciej Lebiedowicz and Justyna Burzyńska founders of Pan Tu Nie Stał Michał Wojas, Maciej Dubiel and Marcin Marchewka founders of FlyTech Solution Jakub Sobiepanek and Michał Woch co-founders of Vzór Piotr Wilam, Marek Kapturkiewicz, Ela Madej and Marcin Szeląg partners of Innovation Nest Jolanta Pasynkiewicz creative director at Comforty

The title of Strategist in Design Alive Awards Readers’ Poll was granted to Ewa Stiasny, Joanna Rzyska and Jadwiga Jędryas, founders of Wydawnictwo Dwie Siostry for treating children seriously and adults with tongue in cheek as well as for an incredible sense visible in this year’s enhancement of their unique offer of books which make the reader drink in the content expressed both in words and illustrations.

98 design alive awards 2015

Strategist of 2015 The title was awarded for taking the risk of being first and taking a courageous step toward the future while creating an avant-garde interior design brand as well as for skilful identification of the need to personalize the purchased goods among the trends of social changes, basing the strategy on good design and using augmented reality in the process of designing a final product by the client. designalivemag.com

Tylko: Hanna Kokczyńska, Benjamin Kuna, Jacek Majewski, Mikołaj Molenda, Michał Piasecki text: julia ceszko photo: krzysztof pacholak

Five specialists. Different fields. A mutual vision of the furniture industry: you, an application and a factory – no agents. Their work has shown us a completely new approach to design, shopping and home furnishing: it suddenly turns out that you can fully adjust a well-designed product to the capacity of the space you live in and the price doesn’t increase. They have involved the recipients in the process of designing their own furniture as well as provided automated production and a system of delivery straight to the client. The result is a convenient application bound to stir things up in our heads and business models. Tylko was created by designers Hanna Kokczyńska and Jacek Majewski, entrepreneur Benjamin Kuna, architect Mikołaj Molenda and parametric design specialist Michał Piasecki. Everything began in 2012 at Przemiany Festival held in the Copernicus Science Centre in Warsaw, where they showed a configurator allowing the participants to personalize seats. Positive opinions about the project gave them more energy and brought them much closer to the topic of customization. In the same year they established Bridge Design and Technology Bureau, cooperating with clients such as BMW or the European Space Agency. Their specialization in augmented reality, parametric modelling, 3D printing and CNC automation allowed them to launch CSTM – a startup which finally became Tylko. They built subsequent prototypes, examined production capabilities and kept exploring the world of applications for furniture personalization. The first person to believe in them was Jason Calacanis – an influential entrepreneur, the investor and organizer of Launch festival, who invited them to present a project during 1.0 Startup Competition. Not only did they return from San Francisco to Poland with Best Technical Achievement award, granted for an innovative application of a new technology, but they also met designer Yves Béhar, who soon became Tylko’s Supervisory Board member as an advisor and one of investors. Now they revolutionize the interior design industry together. This how they define some elements of reality: THE TEAM Tylko wouldn’t exist without it. We come from a very broadly understood world of

design, which includes branding, architecture, spatial design and parametric design. Tylko is a very complex concept and its business model refers to various aspects of new technologies such as automated CNC production and augmented reality. That’s why such a big and harmonious team of founders allowed us to get where we are now – it wouldn’t have been possible without its diversified skills. We do our best to assign tasks very precisely so that everyone in Tylko knows who works on what. We also implemented a very precise decision-making process, at the end of which there’s always a person responsible for a given task or for a specified fragment of our job. And this works. We also often organize “founders’ trips” outside the city, when we spend all day together, and, totally separated from the current work, talk a lot about our plans. It really helps us go on, regenerate and acquire a proper perspective.

element of online sale. We’re virtually the only company in this design field that offers full personalization in augmented reality and automated production. It’s an entirely original concept, which we develop and it will certainly become our asset in the future. The “wow” effect that we currently notice in our recipients will be easier to convey when the clients become familiar with the technology and understand it better. It will become natural in a way. Tylko is also based on technologies that already exist and are popular. We apply CNC (computer numerical control) production, which is offered by many manufacturers in Poland, but only on a mass scale. We show them how this kind of production can be used in customization processes. Owing to the automation we created, the production of personalized elements doesn’t take our manufacturers more time in comparison with mass-produced elements.

HOME We often highlight that we’re creating a new category. Tylko is not only a furniture brand, but also an entirely new concept which didn’t previously exist. Tylko defines an ideal home as the one which is fully adjusted to our clients’ needs. You can furnish your home with objects by designers whom you admire, like and value, which you buy at affordable prices and which you can fully COMMUNICATION adjust to your needs and the space in which Tylko is a new form of communication. We you live or work. If you have a small flat, you offer people a chance of creating a product can get a small table by Yves Béhar and if with a well-known designer, but the pro- you have more space to arrange, you conduct is adjusted to the client’s needs via a figure the same product in a bigger scale. fully safe and convenient creation process. Whatever the client decides will always WHEN THERE’S A POWER CUT... comply with the designer’s intentions; We’ve been in such situation many times. proper aesthetics and correct production When it happens, we have a coffee at a place process will be retained. For example, both next to our studio. When there’s a power a narrow kitchen version of a table and a cut, Tylko talks (most often about technobigger one for a conference room will bear logy, though). We certainly try not to use recognizable design by Yves Béhar created technology in relevant situations, especialtogether with the client. This is a funda- ly during meetings. However, we have to mental value in communication with our admit that we’re a bit addicted. Despite recipients. that fact, we still use many typical offline methods in our work, trying to put all deTECHNOLOGY vices aside. It’s something we truly admiTylko is based on three main technological re in and learn from Yves Béhar. During aspects: full personalization made possible a meeting with us, he devotes the planned by parametric design, augmented reality time exclusively to Tylko – nothing distracts and automated production. Augmented re- him. There are no phone calls or additional ality will soon became extremely popular in talks with assistants: everybody has to wait e-commerce; big companies such as Google because that time is only for us. After that, or Facebook already invest gigantic sums in he smoothly proceeds to the next task. We this field. It’s something new in furniture admire this consistency but at the same purchase to many of our recipients, so we time we think that it’s the only way to carry have to present the technology, explaining out so many projects simultaneously. Thus, how it operates, what it makes possible and if our team meets, for instance, to discuss what it facilitates. We don’t know the exact user experience, we deal only with that: we time, but we reckon that in one year or po- make sketches related to UX, discuss that ssibly in three years augmented reality will area and put our phones aside. We try to be recognizable enough to become a natural be completely unplugged.

100 design alive awards 2015

Designed by Oskar Zięta, made in innovative FIDU technology – the object of desire. The statuette DAA is covered with three-microns of pure copper (miedź), not protected by any varnish. There is no barrier between them and the outside world. This copper skin is sensitive to any touch and will always bear the traces of each hand which has held it in its structure. The statuettes will mature along with their holders and will absorb the world along with them. designalivemag.com

Creator nominations for creating new solutions

Maciej Siuda architect Gosia and Tomek Rygalik designers in Studio Rygalik Agata Bieleń jewellery designer Piotr Musiałowski architect

Photo: courtesy studiO mode:lina

Jerzy Woźniak and Paweł Garus designers in Mode:lina studio Marta Niemywska-Grynasz and Dawid Grynasz designers in Niemywska Grynasz Studio Jola Starzak and Dawid Strębicki architects in Atelier Starzak Strębicki Krystian Kowalski designer Alicja Patanowska designer Paweł Jasiewicz designer

The title of Creator in Design Alive Awards Readers’ Poll was granted to Jerzy Woźniak and Paweł Garus, designers in Mode:lina studio for lightness and distance in designing public space interiors, i.a. Jabłko Adama (an Apple shop) and an exhibition for Human Touch. designalivemag.com

102 design alive awards 2015

CREATOR OF 2015 The title was awarded for the invaluable participation in changing the face of Polish furniture industry and a skilful summary of the work to date via the exhibition “Rygalik. The Heart of Things�. The title rewarded not only the design work, but also an ability which is very rare and desired these days: the ability to be a mentor for students, employees and admirers. designalivemag.com

Gosia i Tomek Rygalik teXt: julia ceszko PHOTO: krzysztof pacholak

We feel like writing: at last! The Design Alive Award for Studio Rygalik rewarded not only their long-term design work, but also an ability which is very rare and desired these days: the ability to be a mentor. Gosia Rygalik graduated from the Faculty of Design at the Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw (ASP). During her studies she was a member of platform PG13 – a group of students carrying out experimental projects, organizing and participating in exhibitions, competitions and design workshops as well as cooperating with industry. She studied in Danmarks Designskole in Copenhagen, where she gained her first professional experience. Her greatest passions are design and food, which she combines, explores and adores in all their varieties. She’s an unquestioned food design specialist, for whom travels and cooking aren’t just forms of relaxation – they’re the most important sources of inspiration. She designs tableware, restaurant furniture, mobile kitchens and experimental objects as well as educates, writes, creates and organizes meetings concerning food and design. She highlights that she still searches for new, unexpected points of contact between these two areas which are so close to her. Not only does she explore various possibilities that emerge on the border of food and design, but she also infects others with her passion and skills. Even when tired, she reads culinary recipes in bed before sleep.

Noti, DuPont/Corian, Moroso, Artek, Heal’s, ABR and Ideal Standard. Together with Gosia, he leads one of Poland’s most important design studios. They provide comprehensive completion of various projects both for industry and cultural institutions. Their activities encompass not only professional products, but also experimental processes. They’re often away from home, living out of a suitcase, but they love it i.a. because mutual work and business travels can also become private, research-oriented journeys. They lead a studio together named Food Design at the Strzemiński Academy of Art Łódź (ASP Łódź): it’s a space for sharing experience, knowledge and skills in the scope of designing innovative culinary undertakings. Though their company carries out many international projects, they stress that Warsaw is an ideal base, full of energy and people close to them. They care about their free time scrupulously and live their lives locally. After traveling they come back to Tomek Rygalik is one of the most recogniz- their favourite places where everything they able personalities of Polish design – a de- need is at a distance of a short walk. Do signer, lecturer, curator of exhibitions and read a few definitions they shared with us. creative director of leading Polish brands. He made it to the top of international AN IDEAL designers i.a. owing to cooperation with is a goal worth striving after, full harmony, Moroso: everything began with Patrizia Mo- simplicity and leaving behind irrelevant roso’s delight with an armchair created as things. part of a project concerning the process of wet leather forming... and led to many A MEMORY subsequent successful mutual projects. He G: the taste of childhood – my grandma’s gave up his career in New York and, though crispy oatmeal cookies mixed with sand Ron Arad himself invited him to cooperate, from the beach. Tomek Rygalik staked his all on education T: extremely unhealthy life in the 1990s, and creating his own brand. He became a e.g. a greasy New York pizza and a bottle Research Associate in his home school, the of Coca-Cola at 4 am night by night durRoyal College of Art, where he conducted ing the period of my work in the studio research projects carried out with external on Brooklyn. companies. After coming back to Poland he founded his own studio and infected others LIVING LOCALLY with passion for design during numerous lets you enjoy life. workshops in Poznań, Łódź and Katowice. He also started to manage a design studio PEOPLE (PG13) at the Faculty of Design at the Acad- make the world progress when they proemy of Fine Arts in Warsaw (ASP). “By styl- gress themselves. izing a product of doubtful quality, we are able to give it undeserved attractiveness,” A COMPANY he wrote at the exhibition “Rygalik. The is a team that acts efficiently and plays well Heart of Things”, which was held in Gdynia together. and summed up his achievements to date. He’s a laureate of many prestigious awards LESS and his works have been shown at many is usually more. international exhibitions from New York through Milan to Tokyo. He cooperates i.a. MORE with such companies as Paged, Comforty, is usually less. designalivemag.com

104 design alive awards 2015

Photo: krzysztof pacholak


things 105

Paris, London, Prague… We had a very intense autumn visiting subsequent trade fairs and festivals. Here are a few novelties picked up during Maison & Objet in Paris, London Design Festival and Designblok in Prague

3. POCKET Czech studio Olgoj Chorchoj has conducted uninterrupted business since 1990, surprising the audience with increasingly modern solutions. Their design for this year is a folding knife developed especially for the Designblok festival in Prague. The tool, which was commissioned by Mikov, is exceptionally safe – you have to release a button to use it. A perfect item for those who like both practical and beautiful things, it is available in three sizes, www.mikov.cz, www.olgojchorchoj.cz

Photos: Press materials


1. HENZEL Since brand foundation in 1999, Calle Hanzel has invited contemporary artists to cooperate with him. The newest carpet collection is the result of such cooperation between Henzel studio and German painter Anselm Reyle. The textiles are hand-woven using highest-quality wool and with care for ecology because the materials come from biodegradable resources. On request. www.byhenzel.com

2. FOXES She says that she was inspired with figurines made in the famous Polish factory of porcelain in Ćmielów. Polish designer Magdalena Łapińska, founder of Łapińska Porcelana, created a collection of handdecorated foxes. These ceramic objects not only reflect her love for animal motives, but also carry a joke about cunning people. The sly little foxes are a perfect gift, too. On request. www.lapinska-porcelana.com


106 things

6. MUO Sculpture aesthetics translated into modern technology: the speakers designed by Ross Lovegrove are an innovative solution for enthusiasts of pure sound. The device eliminates distracting interference and vibrations. It works both in vertical and horizontal position as well as outdoors. It is available in five colour versions, www.rosslovegrove.com

4. WEEDS Karina Marusińska’s PhD project concerns the culture of communist China. Cobalt porcelain refers both to dissidents undesirable in the society and to wild-growing flora. Kaolin is a plant which also comes from China and was used here to make 60 objects. Their hierarchical arrangement is supposed to reflect the order in the republic and the use of plates as occasional monuments. A concept., www.marusinska.pl

5. HUB Polish brand Tylko promotes personalized furniture on the global market. Owing to a special application, you can now adjust a table to your individual needs. The initiative is carried out under the patronage of Yves Béhar – a designer much valued worldwide, who is also responsible for the design of Hub concept. You can read more about Tylko founders on p. .... On request., www.tylko.com


7. NIGHTINGALE The Nightingale, Andersen’s classic fairy tale about a Chinese emperor who preferred a mechanical device to the singing of a real nightingale, inspired Maria Jeglińska: she designed a coffee set for 1882 Ltd. Mechanical reproduction is contrasted here with a hand-painted pattern on enamel dishes. Available on request., www.1882ltd.com, www.mariajeglinska.com

8. MP01 We become increasingly discouraged by the possibilities offered by smartphones and search for simplicity. Such is the phone produced by Swiss studio Punkt: compact and black, it doesn’t distract the user and is made only for communication – it allows for sending messages and making calls. It was designed by Jasper Morrison, www.punkt.ch

10. LINO We have long been told that the era of paper is about to end, making room for digital revolution. However, the society increasingly often comes back to traditional methods such as writing letters or sending postcards. Lino, which is hand-made of stainless steel and covered with matt silver, is not just a paper knife: it is also a gadget serving as a small work of art in the office space, www.beyond-object.com

Photos: Press materials

9. BOMMA In 2016, František Vízner will celebrate his 80th birthday. To mark this anniversary, he designed a special edition of vessels named after him for Czech brand Bomma. The bowls and carafes were made of two types of glass: amber and crystal. They are available as a limited edition of 50 items, www.bomma.cz 11. BLACK PLANE How many times have you forgotten about something and needed to get up a dozen times after sitting down comfortably to have a conversation or meal? Arro Studio from Paris offers a chair with a shelf for accessories: all indispensable items are now at hand. The seat is made of solid oak wood and a black-painted steel frame. A prototype, www.arro-studio.com

12. SILAÏ Belgian designer Charlotte Lancelot was so fascinated by Indian craft that she changed it into a nostalgic idea. Hired by Gan, she designed carpets made of wool and plastic. Four weaving kinds produce incredible visual sensations – they become a decoration by themselves and don’t need any other accessories. On request, www.gan-rugs.com

108 THE ART OF choice katarzyna świętek

A citizen of Wrocław A globetrotter and local patriot. She often loves and hates simultaneously. We asked Katarzyna Świętek – an independent Polish curator and organizer of design-related events (the most recent one being “The Polish Table” exhibition) – to tell us about her city, travels, passions and weaknesses photos: Krzysztof Saj, Łukasz Gawroński and consumelavida.blogspot.com

Travels They’re my escape – the further the better. I come back in love. My great holiday loves are Cambodia and Syria... Well, I guess love has to be tough, right?


My city Wrocław The European Capital of Culture 2016 – just my city and I. I love and dislike it simultaneously. I’m its biggest lover and critic at the same time. I’ve tried to live and work in other cities – I haven’t made it. I cannot let go of Wrocław. That’s my karma...


Non-obviousness It means things hidden behind the facade and creating space for your own interpretation. Things that are... unobvious, obviously. I like it. Since I’m an archaeologist by profession, it lets me become both a searcher and a discoverer again.



Seats, or “Sit like Poles do” Discovering Polish design from the 1950s and 1960s is an adventure to me – I’m an ardent neophyte right now. This armchair (model no. 1234, found and manufactured by Fameg) is the one I adore for its sincerity. It’s not a new edition – it’s a form discovered in the factory a few years ago and brought to life again. It’s a reincarnation of an original seat. The photo comes from a calendar accompanying the exhibition “Usiądź po polsku” [“Sit like Poles do”], which we published in Wroclaw.


The art of cooking… …is something I haven’t mastered, but I envy those who have – and, in addition, can take beautiful photographs of that. What I cook may taste quite well, but it looks very unphotogenic. That’s why I feast my eyes on culinary blogs and dream that someone will finally feed my senses of aesthetics and taste. My favourite blog is consumelavida.blogspot.com. I guess it’s because I know its author, she has fed me many times (sadly, it was a long time ago) and I absolutely trust her choices.

02 PN




Model: Fotel B1234 Projket: Autor Nieznany Producent: Fameg

Luty PT
























The Polish Table I love it because it’s so Lower-Silesian and Polish at the same time; because it discovers anew the beauty of crystal, the delicacy of porcelain and the fleshiness of stoneware; because it restores the tradition of eating meals together; because it’s created by people with passion that I admire – owners and designers from Julia glass works in Piechowice, Kristoff porcelain factory in Wałbrzych and “Manufaktura” Stone Pottery in Bolesławiec; because I see that the audience is moved every time I talk about it.


A bathtub with a colonnade Does anyone pay attention to crooked road signs? Does anyone shudder upon seeing the epidemic of pastel-coloured housing estates or the rape committed by ads on public space? Welcome to the club! I know it’s not a cool topic for social discussions accompanied by alcoholic beverages, but if we happen to be at the same party, you’ll have to bear it.




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Selling the past as the future Het Nieuwe Instituut in Rotterdam confronts us with a fundamental question: what is contemporary fashion and whom does it really serve? TEXT: WOJCIECH TRZCIONKA PHOTOS: JOHANNES SCHWARTZ and WOJCIECH TRZCIONKA

s it only a reflection of the past and a source of speculations – or still a phenomenon? What troubles the designers’ minds? Whom does it all really serve? What is the user’s role – are they still objects that need to be dressed or already nothing more than piggy banks that the clothing companies are trying to steal and break? A photo of a drawbridge, which resembles a road going high up to the sky, seems to be completely unrelated to the topic of fashion at a first glance. But what if...? It’s Erasmus – a bridge in Rotterdam, where Het Nieuwe Instituut has opened the first Temporary Fashion Museum in the Netherlands (it was launched in autumn 2015 and will operate till May 8th, 2016 ). To me and the organizers, fashion is a bit like that bridge: it’s a road to nowhere. A total confusion. Someone told me recently that fashion was like inception from the famous movie and that the bridge resembled it a bit. Let’s try, then, to infiltrate the structure of the mind and reach the beginning of the idea created by the brain. Het Nieuwe Instituut in Rotterdam has decided not to cut corners. It hasn’t organized another exhibition about fashion with a red carpet and a wall serving as a photo background for celebrities known only for their fame. It hasn’t concentrated on vanity and products, but on fundamental and relevant questions. The first Temporary Fashion Museum in the Netherlands, opened in September, is aimed at making us think twice or even thrice before we buy something next time. The Museum involves us in a debate as well as forces us to reflect or even try on and buy – but there’s always an implied, hidden meaning in it. Anne van der Zwaag, a young Dutch designer, reckons that fashion will continue to exist in two worlds, fast and slow, but the latter one will develop. She gives herself as an example: “100-150 customers a year are enough for me to be well-provided for. I don’t have to go crazy and do several collections. I used to think of Paris and big catwalks, but I have ultimately chosen Amsterdam and the world that is truly mine.” “Fashion people are becoming editors. We, the customers, are designers ourselves and the editors are supposed to help us select an outfit,” Elisa van Joolen, a young designer, describes the direction in which Dutch fashion is heading. The slow style is also supposed to make us give up shopping at all.

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Fashion has found itself at the very centre of international capitalism. The task of the brands is no longer to broaden the creation field, but just to generate profit Clothing lending places pop up like mushrooms in the Netherlands (and beyond). I’m in such a place – one of the first in Amsterdam; its founders call it a Library. “You can borrow something just for a night or for a month. Why would you buy anything? We get bored with clothes, so it’s better to give them back afterwards,” argues Diana Jansen, one of Library founders. What can be seen at fashion weeks in Milan, Paris, London or New York – novelties, catwalks, glitter and a vanity fair – cannot be found in Het Nieuwe Instituut, either. Instead, you will begin asking yourselves about the purpose of making one collection after another and if someone is trying to make a fool of you. “Everything has already been invented in fashion, but designers are still trying to prove to us that they ‘revolutionize’ the notion of innovation. How? By renewing old patterns? Trying to sell us the past as the future?” Guus Beumer, director of Het Nieuwe Instituut in Rotterdam, is somewhat irritated as he shows me around the exhibition. “Fashion has found its own model of prolonging itself using the past as an infinite source of inspiration for the future.” The Dutch are famous for exhibitions which tend to confront, ask and educate rather

Erasmus. A drawbridge in Rotterdam that seems to be completely unrelated to the topic of fashion at a first glance

than show things in an obvious, superficial way. We all know this from Ventury Lambrate, where Dutch schools and workshops present themselves during Milan Design Week, showing us new trends and directions. You won’t find there easy questions or answers: each topic is explored in depth, as if put through a wringer. “This way the Dutch are killing fashion. They show it in a pragmatic way and deprive it of our Italian romanticism and beauty, which are foundations of fashion, after all. Being an Italian, I don’t like it, but I appreciate the educational aspect,” says Alessandro Gualieri, a perfume maker for a niche brand Nasomatto, as we meet at the vernissage of the Temporary Fashion Museum. He lives in Amsterdam because “people work too much in Italy”. “This exhibition is like Dutch fashion: functional and showing that boundaries don’t exist. Why functional? Well, a Dutch woman must feel comfortable when travelling by bike. Functionalism is the basis of our society,” says Cruden, a Dutch designer. The Temporary Fashion Museum examines the phenomenon of fashion in all its surprising forms and aspects including the dark side – the negative social and ecological impact. www.hetnieuweinstituut.nl designalivemag.com

Waiting for the Monk When passion, strong will and determination accumulate in one person, the result is often something extraordinary. Such was the case of Szymon Girtler, founder and creator of Monck Custom – a workshop which manufactures hand-made skis on request. Not only do they look unusual, but, much to many people’s astonishment, they also slide better than the mass-produced equipment made by great companies Text: Piotr Gnalicki Workshop photos: Kamil Janowski

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e made his first pair of skis in a garage near Warsaw, inspired with what could be observed in the USA. It happened far away from the mountains, without complex knowledge of the qualities and properties of materials and, last but not least, without a workshop full of technologically advanced machines. However, there were other ingredients there: enthusiasm, diligence and passion for skiing cultivated since childhood. “It’s an adventure of my life, which has already lasted through the fifth winter. In 2009, we cut open the first ski produced by a big manufacturer and made sure that a lot could still be improved,” says Szymon. A pneumatic heat press machine, a moulder for wooden cores, a bender for edges and many other devices necessary to produce skis were built from scratch. At that stage, the experienced skier did not plan to found his own brand – he simply wanted to check if it really was possible to make good skis by oneself. It was. The first pair touched the snow in 2010 and it dawned on the founder of the modest workshop that he could make it his profession. That way, a brand called Monck Custom appeared on the market. Girtler wanted to highlight its Polish char-

acter, so he made reference to the tradition of Tatra Mountain skiers from over 100 years ago: from the very beginning, his skis were to possess as many wooden elements as possible. The name and logo allude to a very characteristic Tatra peak – Mnich (“monk” – editor’s note), rising up by Morskie Oko (the biggest lake in the Tatra Mountains, situated 1395 m a.s.l.). Nowadays the Monck Custom team makes skis on request. It’s a bit like ordering a suit from a tailor: you know it will fit you perfectly and look fantastic – just on you. It’s similar with Girtler’s skis. “Our production system does not allow for stocks. Works on a new ski set begin after an order is placed and the project is agreed on with the customer, not earlier. It takes about three weeks for the skis to be ready; throughout that time, the customer can observe how the works proceed and how the production progresses,” Szymon explains. First, the shape, geometry and materials of the skis are agreed on with the constructor. The aim is to let a specific user experience pleasure when skiing. The production is a masterpiece of craft: it’s a sequence of grinding, cutting and matching individual elements. At the beginning, metal edges are attached to a perfectly cut

synthetic base to create the lower part of the ski. However, the heart of every highquality ski, mass-produced or hand-made on request, is always a wooden core. This very part makes the ski springy and allows for the accumulation of energy when taking a turn; an experienced skier uses that energy to “jump” with power into the next turn. The core is given a specific stiffness by gluing together several kinds of wood longitudinally. Monck Custom uses ash, spruce and bamboo. During mass production in great factories, where cost reduction is important, they also use poplar and maple, but these don’t maintain their properties as well as ash. The final quality of stiffness is achieved by adjusting core thickness in various spots of the ski. When the base and the core are ready, the most difficult and complicated production stage – so-called “lay-up” – follows: all layers of materials are put on one another to make a “sandwich-like” structure. From the bottom up, the ski consists of: a base with edges, modern plastics (such as glass fibre and carbon fibre impregnated with epoxy resins), a wooden core, the second fibre layer and a top coating made of various types of veneer. This stage allows for influencing the behaviour of a given ski on the snow:

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Girtler wanted to highlight its Polish character, so he made reference to the tradition of Tatra Mountain skiers from over 100 years ago: from the very beginning, his skis were to possess as many wooden elements as possible


using glass and carbon fibres with various weave patterns or basis weights as well as positioning them in various ways has a real impact on ski springiness. If you change even the smallest details, a good skier will be able to feel the difference. Therefore, the walls of the Monck Custom workshop are literally wallpapered with dozens of sheets containing recipes for particular ski types. The “sandwich making” process requires full concentration because after epoxy resins are mixed with a hardener, they are suitable for use only for a specified time. Thus, the constructor must first plan and practise every move they make when assembling individual elements. After such preparation, the components are put for several hours in the heat press machine, where the resins glue them into a whole. When the skis are taken out from the press machine, it’s time for the most pleasant part of the process from the customer’s point of view – the selection of a look and a pattern. Monck Custom follows a rule which says that the ski surface is always made of various types of natural veneer. It’s possible to put any pattern on it or design your own composition taking ad-

Three models of skis by Monck Custom were ranked in very high positions in the most important ski test in Poland conducted by the magazine NTN Snow & More

vantage of various wood colours using the incrustation method. At the very end, the ski surface is lacquered or oiled, depending on the preferences. After that, the customer usually begins to check the weather forecast increasingly often, waiting for the snow to test the new equipment! Many sceptics thought the workshop had no chance to make high-quality skis. The production process is indeed difficult, but with a great deal of determination, it’s possible to create your own brand and workshop offering high-quality, original, personalized products. Let the grades given by independent testers serve as the best proof invalidating all the disbelievers’ arguments. The skis were tested on a wellprepared ski route and in fresh, deep snow, in downhill and freestyle as well as in terms of speed and precision. The promises were kept: three models of skis by Monck Custom were ranked in very high positions in the most important ski test in Poland conducted by the magazine NTN Snow & More. Surprised? Check out how they slide. More information: ww.monckcustom.com www.facebook.com/MonckCustom

Photo: tomasz rakoczy

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LAST BELONGINGS, Aleksander Kotsis, 1870, oil on canvas, 65.5 × 78.5 cm, National Museum in Warsaw. Polish painter Kotsis came in half from a peasant family. His Tatra motifs included landscapes as well as the highlanders’ everyday life, poverty and folklore. He was also considered as one of the pioneers of realism. The colour range dominated by one tone was characteristic of works from so-called “Munich school” of Polish paintings, which Kotsis represented

Free time is fantastic Artists have come here enchanted by the beauty of nature and the people of Podhale. They have rested and created their works, fascinated with virgin landscapes, folklore and freedom Text: Daria Linert


his specific combination of culture and nature is enclosed in an album entitled Fine Arts at the Foot of the Polish Tatra Mountains, which is its first such exhaustive presentation – but 300 reproductions on 480 pages are still not enough. “Removing and putting aside what the book cannot accommodate is painful like open wounds. I’ve been collecting the materials since the 1980s, when I started working in the Tatra Museum and created an exhibition in Koliba Villa, where we showed Zakopane-style interiors. We managed to render the authentic interiors from 1894 faithfully. In 2011, I made my last exhibition: we gathered magnificent works from the interwar period in renovated Oksza Villa – we showed i.a. Witkacy, Wyczółkowski, Rafał Malczewski and Stryjeńska... It was then that I thought about retiring and preparing a book to sum it all up. Free time is fantastic – it’s truly the time for you. You can do whatever you want.” The author of the album is Teresa Jabłońska designaliveMAG.com

The bilingual (English-Polish) album is available in two versions – basic and limited (in a box). Its media patrons are: Design Alive, Channel 3 of the Polish Radio, Artinfo.pl and sklep.tpn.pl

– a Polish historian of art and long-term director of the Tytus Chałubiński Tatra Museum in Zakopane. The book stands out from previous albums concerning Tatra art owing to the wide variety of disciplines it presents: painting, drawing, graphic arts, photography, sculpture and applied arts. It describes the period spanning from the beginning of the 19th century to 1939 (i.a. works by Aleksander Kotsis, Jan Nepomucen Głowacki, Stanisław Witkiewicz, Aleksander Schouppé and Walery Eljasz). The cult of home landscapes had been growing since the end of the 18th century, but it intensified after Poland lost its independence. They were treated as an independent part of the divided homeland and thus became a symbol of freedom. The album allows the reader to follow the development of the Tatra current in Polish art from the moment it emerged. However, it should be stressed that this presentation of Tatra artistic legacy is a specific anthology aimed at showing the diversity and richness of the art inspired by the culture of the Tatra Mountains and its highlanders. The moment of publishing the album was also special because it crowned 2015 – the Year of the Witkiewicz Family and the 60th anniversary of the Tatra National Park (the latter is the publisher of the album beside the Tatra Museum). According to Szymon Ziobrowski, director of the Park, “Publications issued by TNP concern not only nature, but also the presence of man in the Tatra Mountains. It may not be that obvious

art 119 Teresa Jabłońska (born in 1944) – a Polish historian of art and long-term director of the Tytus Chałubiński Tatra Museum in Zakopane. She has written numerous research works. She specializes in issues concerning folk art (since 1977 mainly the art of Podhale region) as well as its development in Zakopane style theory and objects, Tatra art and history of Zakopane artistic colony.

VIEW OF MOUNT OSOBITA, Jan Stanisławski, 1901, oil on cardboard, 16.5 × 22.5 cm, National Museum in Kraków

SELF-PORTRAIT WITH TADEUSZ LANGIWER AND BRONISŁAWA WŁODARSKA–LITAUEROWA, Stanisław Ignacy Witkiewicz, paper, pastels, 1938, Tatra Museum in Zakopane. It was in Zakopane that Witkacy’s (Witkiewicz’s pseudonym – editor’s note) famous Portrait Company operated and the first Polish avant-garde group of artists was formed during World War I (also with Witkacy’s participation). Oksza Villa, one of galleries belonging to the Tatra Museum, boasts a vast collection of works by the most scandalous artist of the interwar period HEAD OF AN OLD HIGHLANDER, Władysław Skoczylas, 1911, handmade paper, aquafortis etching, dry needle, ink, 33 × 43.5 cm, National Museum in Kraków. The painter was connected with “Podhale Art” Association and contributed to the revival of applied arts on the basis of native folklore. He is considered as the founder of the Polish woodcut school and is therefore known first and foremost as a woodcut artist (“Parade of Highland Robbers”, “Fire-dance”). In 1913, he reprised the present motif in a woodcut entitled “Head of a Highlander”, which is included in the collection of the Tatra Museum in Zakopane

to many people, but it directly stems from our mission, which includes protection and popularization of cultural heritage. The Tatra Mountains have always been a source of inspiration for artists and they’re an important spot on the map of Polish culture. The Park notices this significance of the Tatra mountains.” The cover displays “Cemetery in the Mountains” ( 1894 ) by Wojciech Gerson. “I chose that painting together with graphic designer Tomasz Czech. It was our mutual enlightenment, though not everybody understood it. In the foreground there is a sad scene with a new grave at Pęksowy Brzyzek (a famous historic cemetery in Zakopane – editor’s note) – sorrow drowned in the beautiful landscape. In the background there are rocks on Nosal and, to the right, yellow, wind-driven clouds from above Giewont (Nosal and Giewont – famous peaks in the Tatra Mountains – editor’s note). It always moves me in Gerson’s paintings. Polish painter Leon Wyczółkowski, his disciple, called his master and tutor ‘the Polish Turner’,” the author says. Most works reproduced in the album come from the collection of the Tytus Chałubiński Tatra Museum in Zakopane, but the main plot is also created by works from several other Polish museums, i.a. the National Museum in Warsaw and the National Museum in Kraków. However, their collections do not end with works from 1939. “I dream of writing a book about the incredibly interesting period of the Polish People’s Republic at the foot of the Tatra Mountains because it was impossible to include it in the present album – we would have had to skip too much. Moreover, PPR is a totally different story which encompasses Władysław Hasior, Tadeusz Brzozowski, Antoni Rząsa and many other artists. If I don’t manage to do it, someone else must.” designalivemag.com

When I walk beside her I am the better man When I look to leave her I always stagger back again Once I built an ivory tower So I could worship from above When I climb down to be set free She took me in again There’s a big A big hard sun Beating on the big people In the big hard world Eddie Vedder „Hard Sun”


When I see drawings by Andreas Lie, I remember the soundtrack from Into the Wild, a film based on a famous book by Jon Krakauer. In one of its songs, Eddie Vedder – a Pearl Jam vocalist and an environmental activist – sings precisely about nature: “When I walk beside her, I am the better man”. The drawings are inspired by landscapes of the north and are very simple. They depict snowy mountain pe-



aks, deep woods and auroras inscribed in animal silhouettes. Using the double exposure effect allowed Lie to combine the photo of an animal with its natural habitat. This way, he created a series entitled “Norwegian Wood”, which shows the fragile connection between fauna and flora as well as the appreciation and respect with which the young Norwegian artist looks at the nature.

Strong back Alicja Woźnikowska–Woźniak 121

Maria Dek

selected by: Alicja Woźnikowska-Woźniak

A graduate of University of the Arts London and Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw, she regularly cooperates with several publishing houses and editorial teams. Her illustrations have been exhibited both in Poland and abroad. She creates mainly for children, aiming at stimulating their emotions and developing their aesthetic sensitivity. Though her works are characterized by a certain simplicity and austerity, she’s able to make them tell open, multi-layered stories. This allows us to come back to her works many times and always discover new, previously unnoticed details. Using only watercolours and simple means of expression, she’s able to create a colourful, implicit world, which absorbs the imagination of not just children, but also adults. Get absorbed, too – you won’t regret it!


122 Strong back Alicja Woźnikowska–Woźniak






Profile for DesignAlive

Design Alive 2016 Collector's Edition/Milan  

Design Alive 2016 Collector's Edition/Milan  


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