Polish design was presented at the Seoul International Handmade Fair. The exhibition It’s a Polish Thing. New Design from Polska was an attempt to challenge the vision of Poland, which is internationally recognised as one of the biggest producers of furniture and interior design, but still known rather for the quantity and availability of products rather than the quality of design.
The curator of the exhibition Agnieszka Jacobson-Cielecka said:
We present good design, products and designers. There are more and more of them in Poland nowadays. We quickly made our way from the anonymous subcontractor manufacturing products sold under the brand 'made in Poland' to establishing ourselves as the brand 'design from Poland'. Over the last dozen or so years, we have not only educated a generation of young, talented and resourceful designers, but we have also learned to appreciate our own history and draw from it.
All 56 objects presented at the exhibition were everyday objects: china and glass vessels, lamps made from paper, recycled materials and wood, decorative textiles, toys. Designed by different designers, what these objects have in common is a simple form, a careful selection of materials, happy colours, and a sense of humour. The objects in the exhibit were designed by 20 designers born in the 1980s. They are a generation of self-directed designers who follow very different professional paths in the world of design. Many work with big corporations, producers of furniture, textiles and ceramics, both in Poland, Europe, and Asia. Others do not want to work for the industry and find a market niche as self-employed professionals by following their personal needs and temperaments in their practice. They move well beyond the standard roles and functions of designers: they not only design and manufacture objects but also develop brands, strategies and distribution methods. Others still rediscover long-forgotten icons of 20th century Polish design to reinterpret them or to relaunch original designs based on new technology.
The exhibition It's a Polish Thing. New Design from Polska was presented at the Dongdaemun Design Plaza, a design centre in Seoul which opened in 2014. The DDP is the key design space in Korea and an incubator of young Korean talent. Its attractive location in central Seoul, modern architecture alongside interesting exhibitions and music performances have attracted more than 8.5 million visitors within a year from opening. The DDP is housed in a unique building designed by Zaha Hadid, which is the world’s biggest amorphous 3D structure.
The exhibition included a pop-up store, where the visitors had a chance to buy showcased projects. There is growing interest of visitors in buying Polish design presented at exhibits. To address the need, the Adam Mickiewicz Institute for the first time ever combined an exhibit with a pop-up store in Seoul.
The goal of the Adam Mickiewicz Institute, a state-funded cultural institution operating under its flagship brand Culture.pl, is to promote Poland and Polish culture abroad. Through the presentation of high-quality initiatives and events in the fields of art, music, and design, the Institute aspires to introduce an international audience to contemporary Polish culture.
The Culture.pl website, run by the Adam Mickiewicz Institute, provides daily fresh information on the most exciting Polish cultural events worldwide; it is also the biggest and most comprehensive source of knowledge about Polish culture. A special section dedicated to Polish design includes information about the latest trends, and the newest projects by Polish designers – the young and up-and-coming and the well-established and world-renowned.
Worldwide promotion of Polish design and its continuous support is one of the Adam Mickiewicz Institute's main priorities. Design serves as a platform for the presentation of contemporary Polish culture and the promotion of Polish creativity. Our success in the pursuit of this goal has been possible thanks to fruitful cooperation with such renowned partners as Ventura Lambrate (Milan), London Design Festival, Maison&Objet (Paris), Paris Design Week, DW! Săo Paulo Design Weekend, Inno Design Tech Expo (Hong Kong), Business of Design Week (Hong Kong), Istanbul Design Biennale, International Furniture Fair Singapore, Design Trade Copenhagen, International Contemporary Furniture Fair (New York), Wanted Design (New York), Stockholm Furniture and Light Fair, What Design Can Do! (Amsterdam), Dutch Design Week (Eindhoven), London Design Biennale and Wallpaper*.
The exhibition was organised by the Adam Mickiewicz Institute under the Culture.pl brand and is part of a programme promoting Polish design worldwide. It was curated by Agnieszka Jacobson-Cielecka and designed by Studio Beton.
The exhibition was accompanied by a seminar and two workshops:
Date: 2nd May 2017
Time: 5:00 - 6:00 pm
Place: Business Lounge, DDP
What global trends as juxtaposed against unique abilities of Polish designers decide on the growing popularity and visibility of products from Poland on the biggest international fairs? What is so special about design made and produced in Poland?
The seminar focused on discussing the current Polish design market, trying to define distinct characteristics of Polish products as well as present the ways of supporting the designers by the Adam Mickiewicz Institute – a state-funded institution which aims to promote Polish culture and support activities of Polish artists and designers worldwide.
Monika Brauntsch: CRUMPLED BAGS workshop
Date: 4th May 2017
Time: 11:00 am - 12:30 pm
Place: Business Lounge, DDP
Age Limit: 10 – no limits (younger children can participate with their parents)
The participants of the workshop produced tyvek bags. Even though all of them were made of the same materials and by using the same techniques, each bag had a different shape. Special features of the actual material (tyvek) make the bags crumple in a different way, making them unique. The participants could choose the size of their bags, attach straps wherever they want and print patterns.
Designer's website: www.kafti.pl
Bartosz Mucha: THE POOR TOYS workshop
Date: 5th May 2017
Time: 11:00 am – 12:30 pm
Place: Business Lounge
Age Limit: 10-15 years
The topic of the workshop was related to a collection of toys presented at the exhibition. Participants assembled wooden toy cars using provided components. They were able to paint the toys the colour of their choice or impregnate them with a special wood oil. Each participant could take home the toy they made during the workshop.
Designer's website: www.poorex.com