Say Hello from Your Studio: "The Conceptual Part of Our Projects Is Made by Hand" Design Studio Kosmos Project on their Creative Practice

Kosmos Project is a design studio set up in 2008 by Ewa Bochen and Maciej Jelski. Having acquired their professional experience in the renowned Milan offices of Alessandro Mendini and Denis Santachiara, they have created a number of commercial and artistic projects, collaborating with Vitra Home and Paul Smith among others. The studio’s projects have received numerous awards; they have been presented at exhibitions in London, Milan, Stockholm, Reykjavik, Tokyo and New York. Of paramount importance for the group’s work are a conceptual approach to design and overcoming stereotypical thinking about the object and its material. The group’s portfolio includes such highly appreciated exhibition projects as ‘Everything is Art to Me’ at the Zachęta National Gallery of Art, the Empik Apostrof Festival, ‘The Rebellion of Matter’ at the Central Museum of the Textile Industry in Łódź and ‘Irrational Times’ at The Form/Design Center, Malmö.

Kosmos Project

Kosmos Project

What project are you working on right now?

We’re working on several projects at the moment. We’re collaborating with a young emerging brand Square Drop on a series of ‘new antiques’ — a collection of high-end furniture designed to last. Our goal is to create objects to which people will feel emotionally connected, so it won’t be a one-season whim. For a while now we have tried to redefine our role as designers in the world of climate change and natural degradation. Having less, but quality products can be one of the solutions. The collection is made of one hundred per cent local natural materials, made by fine local craftsmen. The second interesting project we’re working on now is the exhibition at the Emigration Museum in Gdynia.

How does the COVID-19 crisis affect your work and everyday life?

The main difference is the disorganization and uncertainty. Everything is changing very quickly; some projects are paused, some are cancelled. There are also a lot of doubts, e.g. about how we should change our way of thinking, designing as the epidemic is the very tangible effect of human conflict with nature.

What is your morning routine?

We really hate routines, so we search for constant change. Trying different things, approaches, schemas.

Kosmos Project

Kosmos Project

What is the first thing you do when you arrive at your studio?

Nowadays unfortunately we really rarely arrive in our studio. Mostly working from home. We really miss face-to-face meetings, traveling and all the inspiring movement that was usually connected to executing new projects.

Do you prefer Instagram, Facebook or no social media at all?

I’m not a very social media person, I do have a profile, but it’s not my way of expression. Maciek is much more into it. Before, he used Facebook, but now he’s shifted to Instagram.

Which magazines and books do you read?

Lately we’ve turned to books written by great design and architectural icons from the twenties and thirties. We do read books by Gropius, Le Corbusier. Our times are dangerously close to theirs, so it’s good to know how they were thinking about reality. We also read the books by Arne Naess. We are very inspired by his idea of deep ecology.

Kosmos Project

Kosmos Project

Which three objects would you say are essential to your work?

Probably we should say computer, mouse and the chair, but in fact we work more and more manually. The conceptual part of our projects is made by hand, so I would say that, rather than objects, emotional and physical states are essential to our work — calmness, desire and light.

What are your favorite tools to help you get the job done?

The pencil, sketchbook and ruler.

What inspires you and motivates you to get your work done?

Change and movement. The thing we hate is stagnation.

Kosmos Project

Kosmos Project

Can you tell us a funny story from your work?

It was some years ago. We created the ‘Collective Unconscious’ collection, and we showcased it on one of design fairs. We made animal masks. One day two different people came to us and told us that they had had a dream about our masks, and so they needed to have them. It was quite surprising.

What do you love about your job? What don’t you like?

We love inventing new objects. The moment when they appear out of vague imaginations. We don’t like rush, too small budgets and the situation where the client ‘knows better’.

Do you prefer hand-made or mass-produced?

It doesn’t matter to us. The most important thing is good cooperation with the client, his openness and courage. Some clients are not ready to take risks, but those who have trusted us are satisfied. And this is how the best projects are created.

How do you rest and relax after work?

The best relaxation is to take a long walk in the forest, get rid of all excessive stimuli and reset the brain.

Kosmos Project, "Melancholia" exhibition

Kosmos Project, “Melancholia” exhibition

Do you have any advice for someone who wants to work in your field?

Be original, don’t make too many compromises and skip Pinterest.

If you could collaborate with any artist/designer, living or deceased, who would it be?

Luis Barragán. We would like to design objects for his interiors.

Kosmos Project, "Melancholia" exhibition

Kosmos Project, “Melancholia” exhibition

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About The Author


Founder of Contemporary Lynx (2013). Editor-in-chief of the Contemporary Lynx in print and online. The art historian with a Master of Arts degree in Arts Policy & Management (the University of London, Birkbeck College) and Master of Arts in History of Art (Jagiellonian University in Cracow).

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