Beautiful and functional objects are the essence of the everyday. Designers seem to know this too well – blending ingenious practicality with the attractiveness of the form while remaining cognizant of the value that lies in the material and the work of human hands. Contemporary design brings handmade artisanry and modern technology together, infusing timelessness into current trends. Today, we look at the most enthralling Polish designers who exhibited during this year’s edition of Arena Design.
Grynasz Studio. The archaeology of the everyday
Marta Niemywska-Grynasz and Dawid Grynasz create objects that turn daily surroundings into scenography that is pleasing and functional at the same time. Passionate about the mechanics of creation and the context of the material, the designer duo has recently been engaged in the making of “Zasoby”/”Resources” – an exhibition that takes a peek behind the scenes of contemporary production processes. Both Marta and Dawid enjoy walking in nature and…among the exhibits at museums of archeology.
Tok Studio The power is in the detail
They debuted as a duo during this year’s Arena Design but, truth be told, they had been working together for a few years already – for example as interns learning craft from older colleagues: Jan Kochański and Nikodem Szpunar. The duo creates meticulously crafted, subtle objects that take a stand with their color and detail. What we liked particularly was the Woodturn Mirror created for TRE. Inspired by the sculptures from Easter Island, the mirror retains the sculpture shape while embodying the simplicity of form. Make sure you check what Sonia and Michał are up to!
UAU Project. The digital craft
Toys for kids, functional utensils or experiments with form? All at once? Why not! Things created by Justyna Fałdzińska and Miłosz Dąbrowski are not only beautiful, joyful, and functional, but – most importantly – they are 3D-printed from the biodegradable PLA filament. As a result, all vases, candle-holders, and bowls are not only eco-, but also user-friendly because you can make them at home using your own 3D printer.
Tartaruga. Slow fabrics
The word tartaruga stands for “turtle” – an aquatic reptile that is slow, but also strong and unique – just like textiles from Wiktoria Podolec and Jadzia Lenart’s studio. Sharing a friendship and enthusiasm for Polish craft, the designers have been weaving rugs and wall hangings in the rhythm of the slow life philosophy. All materials are ethically sourced – most of them come from recycling or local sustainable sheep farming – and the yarn is dyed with natural colorants. As Tartaruga, Wiktoria and Jadzia have contributed significantly to the popularity of weaving techniques and weaving-related crafts. At this year’s Arena Design, they were named Designers of the Year.
Jan Kochański. The art of the object
In his work as a designer, Jan Kochański has been consistent in proving the supremacy of minimalism and the purity of form. Experimenting with materials and technologies, the designer makes sure to put simplicity and functionality in the limelight, showing that objects of everyday use can be beautiful. For example, the already iconic dustpan and brush set designed by Kochański is now produced by the Danish brand Menu. The designer’s work has brought him a worldwide recognition, with one of the most recent accolades being the title of the Designer of the Year awarded during Arena Design 2020.
I like form because it’s unrestrained. Function is like a framework you must stick to – says Magda Jurek. As a designer, Magda masterfully blends art and design, creating beautiful, sophisticated objects in an attempt to embody the passing of time, the sensory nature of objects, and the relationship between the light and the sight. Magda’s design aesthetic has been influenced by her experiences with the visually impaired; she has grown more conscious of the sensory and non-visual features of the material. During this year’s Arena Design, she presented her astonishing collection of lamps and furniture – TRN – inspired by the work of Jan Tarasin. Calligraphic forms, bold colors, quality materials, and handmade artisanry come together representing design at its finest.
Malwina Konopacka. A feast for the eyes
Malwina’s EYE vases – the mouth-watering eye candy: sensuous, colorful, and elaborate – have become one of the most recognizable Polish designs. The artist herself had long worked as an illustrator for leading Polish publications before she was mature enough, as she says, to create aesthetically-pleasing forms – toys for grown-ups. We share Malwina’s belief in the power of design – a true feast for the eyes and the senses.
Agata Nowak A beautiful function
Agata designs furniture, objects, and exhibitions (“Ciało na rozdrożu” is currently exhibited at BWA Wrocław). So far, she has worked for, among others, Studio Rygalik and Studion Ganszyniec, and received the must have honorable mention at Łódź Design Festival for the troost night table and the ogen lamp she had designed for the Polish brand Borcas. We are head over heels with Agata’s latest project – a wooden bench in an electrifying shade of blue. Simple, beautiful, functional.
Ola Mirecka. Genre scenes
Ola came up with the idea for “People from Greek Vases” when she was exploring one of the Danish museums in search of the implementations and usages of clay terracotta. Funny scenes showcasing the modern life – people shopping, doing yoga, or walking the dog – appeared for the first time as illustrations, then as figurines. Ola uses fun as a design tool to tell stories, reveal the absurdity of form and function, and explore the meanings of culture. And let us assure you – she’s having fun doing it!
Sensuousness and an eye for the material, the detail, the color, and the texture – all these come together to represent design by Beza Projekt. Here, however, design is craft because Zofia Strumiłło-Sukiennik and Anna Łoskiewicz-Zakrzewska make most of their designs with their own hands and the use of traditional techniques. Their latest work is no different. SPLOT is a collection of furniture inspired by the legacy of the Podlasie region and the longing for simplicity and tradition. Isn’t that what we all long for?
Text: Agata Kiedrowicz
Photo: courtesy of the designers