Polish designers at Fuorisalone in Milan.
19 April marked the end of Milan Design Week – the biggest and most prestigious design fairs in the world. Every year, for the duration of the fairs, the city transforms to adapt to the needs of designers and design enthusiasts. Design Week consists of several independent exhibitions and showrooms. The largest of these is the Salone del Mobile located in Rho. Nearby is the Salone Satellite – this year full of very good projects. Another important fair is Fuorisalone located in the district of Lambrate. From the perspective of Polish design, Fuorisalone, held for the sixth time, was by far the most interesting part of Design Week. Young Polish designers presented their innovative and imaginative designs following the fair’s theme ‘Unite and Connect’. This edition also set the stage for crossovers between design and fields of science and social progress, material research and pioneering design-fashion / couture hybrids.
Do It Your Way!
The biggest showcase of Polish design was an exhibition ‘Do It Your Way. Polish Design in Pieces’, curated by Ewa Solarz and TABANDA group (Megi Malinowska, Filip Ludka and Tomek Kempa). It was organised by Culture.pl on behalf of the Adam Mickiewicz Institute. Since more than a decade this national institution is effectively building Polish culture’s brand by supporting Polish participation in such prestigious events. Attentive observers could see how after 2005 Polish design was reborn and earned a permanent spot on the international map of design.
‘Do It Your Way’ exhibition featured: My Dear – a modern form of a hunter’s trophy created by Agnieszka Bar, the Maria S.C. lamp designed by Pani Jurek, Dynks modular shelving created by Tabanda, Robert Czajka’s Paper Town, a set of cut-outs by Zupagrafika, a set of Jan Godlewski’s Patyczaki elements, the BOOMINI dollhouse, a woven carpet by Joanna Rusin, Oskar Zięta’s stillage, Beton’s playground, Bajo’s cars and Domostrada by Zuzu Toys. The organisers provided REBORN’s pillows for visitors exhausted by their DIY creative process.
‘Do It Your Way’ aimed to remind the audience that design is created for its users, and without them it doesn’t exist; design can be a source of curiosity, inspiration and fun. Visitors could use their own creativity to compose new spaces and furniture and determine their final shape. For instance, Tabanda presented DYNKS – a funky modular shelving system. This creative piece of furniture offered limitless solutions and inspired to design your own unique shelving solution. Designers gave users maximum control of the objects, which strengthened the bond between objects and their users. This approach fit with a recent report by Stylus which observed that design industry now is opening up to all-comers. In this free-for-all landscape, everyone – including designer, manufacturer and consumer – has a contribution to make. Perhaps alarming, undoubtedly exhilarating, the new Design Democracy transforms design into an ever-more collaborative process, where professional and amateur alike can hold their input. The end result, Stylus believes, will be revolutionary and transformative.
Malafor, Martyna Barbara Golik & Crea-re
Fuorisalone also featured young Polish designers exhibiting their projects independently. They too allowed visitors to touch and feel the objects, inviting the audience to try to create something new. This creative approach was evidenced not only in form but also by the use of interesting materials like Crea-Re studio’s lamps made from recycled materials.
At Fuorisalone, Malafor studio showcased its newest collection of inflatable furniture – AIR that refined continuation of Malafor’s inflatable furniture. This time the inflatable pillows are set on oak frames. The frames have a plain, nearly ascetic form, subdued in construction and function. The inflatable pillows are hidden in colourful cases (in soft grey, sharp yellow, orange and other colours) which are sewn from a very durable, flame-retardant and puncture-resistant fabric which is easy to maintain. Malafor represents the recent international trend to respond to the users’ changing needs. As noted in the Stylus report, people tend to relocate more often than ever before. This trend is particularly visible among so called generation Y. Nowadays, issues like shipping and weight are essential considerations. Products need to be easy to assemble and lightweight, easing logistics for an unsettled consumer.
Martyna Barbara Golik has presented the collection of furniture titled ‘Touch that taste!’. Her project is concerned with the translation of smell and taste of food into touch and vision to create an experimental collection of textile objects. More specifically, she took the five main tastes: umami, sweet, salty, bitter and sour as a point of departure to design a collection of five interior-related textile objects where each of the object is a translation of one taste; for example, grimace and shiver when tasting something sour inspired a grey and yellow throw made of cut stripes of material. In Golik’s projects, the combination of smell and taste in textile create a complex sensory experience.
Crea-re design studio based in Valencia presented “Terra” – a paper pulp pendant lamp inspired by Jean Dubuffet‘s “Matériologies” (1959-60), a series of paintings which represents the apotheosis of soil. Just like those paintings, the surface of the lamp resembles a rugged terrain, very organic and irregular. The interior part of the lamp is in ochre colour that gives a warm and pleasant glow when the lamp is on. Crea-re gives a second life to abandoned or unloved objects and materials. This approach to design is part of a wider trend increasingly sought by consumers.
A clear trend at this year’s Milan Design Week was an attempt to erase barriers between the design and the audience, between the objects and the consumer. This process of co-creation was also evident in Polish designs. Consumers are enjoying a new degree of control over, and insight into, the design process turning everyone into an engineer, a creator, an inventor – a trend that is certain to grow in the years ahead.
written by Sylwia Krason