måndag 16 maj 2011

Studiebesök i Warszawa

På studiebesök i Warszawa tillsammans med utställningsproducenten Cathrine von Hauswolff, på inbjudan av polska institutet i Stockholm. Smart sätt att främja sitt lands kultur, att bjuda in nyckelpersoner till Polen från olika kulturella sektorer, och visa vad som finns på plats. Sverige är ju så nära, så det är genomförbart. Vi vill ju också helst att besökare ska komma till oss i strävan efter ökad internationalisering. Vi blir så väl omhändertagna och har fått en underbar tolk och guide, en ung konstnär som talar svenska och som brinner för att få berätta för oss om Warszawas historia och arkitektur, och de vedermödor som staden genomgått sedan total utbombning under andra världskriget, stalinistisk kommunism, utrensningar och idag en stad med blandning av alla stilar - en spännande mix för unga kreatörer i staden som lever i ständig förändring och med spännande berättelser bakom varje renoveringsobjekt och nybyggnader. 50-talets och 60-talets arkitektur, möbler, neonskyltar och artifakter börjar bli trendiga och komma tillbaka och uppskattas för deras egenvärde. Det märks också hur stolt man är över sin kultur, och hur mycket som satsas på kultur och design idag, ofta med EU-pengar, och med energi och engagemang som smittar. Slående är också att alla de vi träffar talar om produktion, den industriella delen av designprocessen, och vikten av att företag kan använda design på rätt sätt för att bli konkurrenskraftiga. Kanske inte så konstigt i ett land som är världens fjärde största möbelproducent (!!) inte minst tack vare IKEA, som nu firar 50 år här, men också alltmer aktiv med inhemska designutvecklingen. Här lever man nära produktionen, vilken tillgång!

Little did we know, Cathrine and I, about Poland and Warsaw, before we sat our feet here for the first time yesterday. Didn't know that Poland is the 4th largest furniture producer in the world for example. Cathrine von Hauswolff is a producer of exhibitions and a consultant for Svenskt Tenn, and we were invited by the Polish institute in Stockholm on a study visit to get to know the actual design scene in Warsaw for three intensive days. Several Swedish professionals within the cultural field have been invited by the Polish institute to come and experience the country and the culture close-up. Much more efficient to bring people here, when Sweden is actually so close. So close geographically, and yet, I am ashamed to say, far in our knowledge. We know relatively little about Poland and Polish design compared to many other nearby countries. Our first day was filled with amazing impressions. So well taken care of. Our wonderful guide, Karolina Bregula, young contemporary artist, showed us places and told us stories of the history of Warsaw, from the war until today, the story behind the architectural blend of the city, an exciting mix for a young artist, with constantly changing sceneries and many stories and memories built in each part. We also became aware of the recent revival of all the furniture, architecture, neon signs etc from the 50's and 60's, now part of a new trendy scene. Our first program was a visit was to the Institute of Industrial Design - an impressive building, built in the 50's, then a state affair of course. Today renovated and transformed into an efficient and wonderfully practical institution, with a healthy matter-of-fact approach to design as a means to increase business success and profit. All exhibitions, seminars, courses, publications are tools in this mission. Latest EU project "Design your profit" for three years amounts to 30 million Swedish Crowns. An ok budget I would say. They have 40 employees, a yearly allowance from the ministry of economy, didn't get the exact amount. They produce 5-6 exhibitions per year, and each exhibition has approx 10.000 visitors, 10 publications, competitions for established as well as young designers. In the young design competition the designers get money and a possibility to have an internship at an established design company. They also have a special web site over contemporary Polish design visited by 800 visitors per day, and they have recently launched a new web showing new trends of Polish design. They concentrate a lot on furniture industry, since this is such a large part of production and export. They educate companies and designers to be better buyers and clients of design, and they match making activities. Their dream is to become even better and stronger as advisers to the industry of the importance of design for profit. With their passion, I am sure they will succeed, and faster too, with their speed and resources. After this impressive meeting, we went on to a newly opened lively café to meet the journalist couple Ewa and Vojciech Trzcionka, publishers running the design web www.designalive.pl trying introduce the stories behind the design to ordinary people. They also run a gallery cafe in a design castle in their home town Cieszyn. It gave such energy and hope to see their knowledge and mission to bring good design to the people, like I imagine it was a long time back in Sweden. Although now, with this contemporary social media, the impact is increasing. They have 10.000 unique visitors, and about 1 million visitors per year. We wish them good luck, and hope we can invite them to Sweden one day. To the Stockholm Design Week for example. Our last meeting for the day was with the successful furniture company Comfortyliving, just returning from a fruitful and talked-about exhibition in Superstudio Píu in Milan, where they presented a series of new products and protypes with young and coming designers from various countries. They produce their furniture, mostly upholstered, in Poland, in their own factory. One of the largest in Poland with 3500 employees - you can imagine the possibilities to explore the production process and opportunities. Of course they mass produce a lot of other furniture besides this high end selection of exlusive furniture, but it was also great to see the enthusiasm of design manager Pawet Kubara, whom we met, how he likes to develop the products together with the designers and craftsmen. All the various cultures and designers giving new challenges and opportunities. The evening ended with a nice meal with our guide Karolina in front of the Frederic Chopin Hall. 

Cathrine von Hauswolff and I are welcomed by our guide, young visual artist Karolina Bregula. Our program and hosts are the Adam Mickiewicz institute of the Foreign Ministry of Poland

Luncheon in Warsaw- Cathrine and I eat a beet root yoghurt soup and birch juice - healthy and wonderful

On top of our luncheon café, named Cafe, a newly opened secret hotel (not any more) for special visitors understanding to appreciated the genuine design from the 50's and 60's in a mix from Poland, USA and Japan - all authentic mixed with contemporary design in beddings and bathroom

The impressive and big Institute of Industrial design- big space for exhibitions, seminars, offices, tenants, archive, library. A real treasure chest - I can't but think of what we could have done with Telefonplan. Here 40 employees.

Wonderfully charming promotion manager Katarzyna Rzehak receieves us in the exhibition hall togheter with her colleage Ewa Cieslik (nice name) - no exhibition today, but they produce between 6-10 exhibitions per, with about 10.000 visitors each. 

Recently launched new web site over 37 trends and 8 tendencies within Polish design. www.trendwizor.pl

Combined seminar and exhibition room - always with the approach design for industrial profit

Another Ewa presented a recent exhibition project - 1 Euro Design - where influential people within in design and related areas had been asked to choose some of their favorite design products at affordable prices out on the market.

Ongoing class with companies and entrepreneurs learning to work with design as a method. Here they learn how to make a good brief to a designer. Companies within production and services. They also give courses with designers for the same purposes, and also match making between designers and companies. All financed by EU money and very popular both among companies and designers. I wish...

Publisher (trained originally as a machine engineer) Ewa Trzcionka,  passionate in her mission to promote good design to ordinary people, together with her business partner and husband Wojchich Trzcionka came all the way from their home in Cieszyn to see us and interview us for their popular web site www.designalive.pl

one of the many nice cafés we discovered under our first day, enhancing again the quality furniture from earlier days

Design Manager Pawet Kubara of successful Comforty furniture company www.comfortyliving.com shows some of the prototypes and furniture developed together with young designers from various countries. This one in collaboration with Swedish Company Form us With Love.
IKEA celebrating their 50 years in Poland with several manifestations, this one with kids in the old town

Lilies of the Valley

Entering the Old town - mainly restored in the old way in the 40-50's after the war

New stadium being constructed for the EU cup in 2012

Big open streets and squares from the communist era
Norman Forster architecture

Many decorated facades - Sergels torg

Rectangular clouds coming in

Old neon signs being renovated back to life - this one a healthy young volley boll girl from the communist era

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