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A Short Guide to Design in the Baltics


Culture.pl

The Roundabout Baltic exhibition, curated by Agnieszka Jacobson-Cielecka, an art curator and critic, is a personal story about designing in the Baltics. Objects, created by designers from Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Lithuania, Latvia, Germany, Poland and Sweden are divided into six ‘chapters’, which correspond to the regions that we pass through from inland to the sea.

Forests, meadows, fields and villages – Kosmos Project rugs

Forefathers’ Eve rug, Kosmos Project, 2013, photo: courtesy of the Regional Museum in Stalowa Wola
Forefathers’ Eve rug, Kosmos Project, 2013, photo: courtesy of the Regional Museum in Stalowa Wola

The curator, Agnieszka Jacobsen-Cielecka writes in the catalogue of the Roundabout Baltic exhibition:

To reach the sea, we need to pass through land, through forests and meadows, hills, pass wooden architecture and barren lands, cultivated with simple tools.

The Forefathers’ Eve kilim, by the Polish duo Kosmos Project, is part of the Collective Unconscious collection (2013) and was inspired by the old Slavic rituals of Forefathers’ Eve and the Night of Kupała. The fabric presented at the exhibition is made by hand using the kilim technique. The curator adds:

It can serve both as a decoration for the wall and as a rug. Hand-painted sheep wool was used for its production, which is why each one is unique.

The Kosmos Project was created by Ewa Bochen and Maciej Jelski, graduates of the Faculty of Design at the Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw and the Politecnico di Milano. Their inspiration is drawn from observing the world around them, both nature and civilisation. The Warsaw-based duet designs both unique and industrial objects. 

Sand dunes, piers and bridges – a lamp by Maija Puoskari

Maija Puoskari, Vanamo lamp, 2012, photo: courtesy of the Regional Museum in Stalowa Wola
Maija Puoskari, Vanamo lamp, 2012, photo: courtesy of the Regional Museum in Stalowa Wola

We pass through sand dunes and rocks covered with puny but stubborn vegetation and openwork constructions, tied together with elastic joints. Posed against the sky, they look like drawings.

The Finnish designer Maija Puoskari created the Vanamo lamp in 2012. Its form is inspired by the subarctic plant Linnea borealis (Twinflower) with distinctive double floral cups. The construction of the lamp is made from powder painted steel with glass blown lampshades which come in three colours.

Maija Puoskari (born in 1978) studies Glass and Ceramics at the Academy of Design in Kuopio and Design at the Aalto University in Helsinki. She is inspired by the wild nature of Finland. Her pieces have been awarded in numerous contests. The Helsinki-based artist often collaborates with her partner – graphic artist Tuukka Tujula.

Nets, plaitings, traps – Studio Fem bench

Bendy bench by Studio Fem, 2014, photo: courtesy of the Regional Museum in Stalowa Wola
Bendy bench by Studio Fem, 2014, photo: courtesy of the Regional Museum in Stalowa Wola

We carry our possessions in baskets, protect ourselves from the wind with plaiting and catch fish in nets. Sand and water flows through nets, they are flexible and airy and don’t catch the wind the way sails do.

The Danish Studio Fem designed the Bendy bench (2014) – a reinterpretation of a traditional Scandinavian kitchen bench. The exhibition catalogue describes it:

It’s designed to be attractive from each side. It is made entirely from glued ash wood using craftsmanship methods. The back and armrests were weaved from wide strips of ash plywood.

The Aarhus-based creators behind Studio Fem are Anders Engholm (born in 1982) and Sarah Cramer (born in 1990) ­– graduates of Furniture Design at the VIA University College in Denmark. Their furniture and interiors have been well-received at many competitions for young designers, i.e. the imm Cologne and the Danish Entrepreneurship Award organised by Hay.

Rocks, sand and sea forms – Lisa Hilland’s pouffe

Pompom pouf by Lisa Hilland, 2014, photo: courtesy of the Regional Museum in Stalowa Wola
Pompom pouf by Lisa Hilland, 2014, photo: courtesy of the Regional Museum in Stalowa Wola

Whatever the sea throws out, we collect as lucky charms. Seashells, pieces of wood, colored glass pieces, amber. They lay nicely on the palm of our hand, seem precious, they shine. When taken home, they become matte and gray, they lose their original value and demand that we return to them to the seaside.

Pompom (2014) is a pouffe by Swedish designer Lisa Hilland. The seat, covered with raw, Russian leather was made by craftsmen from the Studio Carina Grefmar. The producer is Svenskt Tenn.

Lisa Hilland (born in 1973) studied design at Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design in London.  In 2005, she founded her own design studio in Sweden. Her work combines new technology with a craftsman’s quality. Her clients include Klong, Kullaro, IKEA, Gärsnäs, Gemla and Svenskt Tenn. In 2013, Plaza magazine named Hilland Designer of the Year. At the same time, she won a distinction from Residence magazine for her Bow chair. The designer lives in Malmö.

Water, seashells, under the sea – Johanna Tammsalu’s lamps

Solid Spin lamps by Johanna Tammsalu, 2013, photo: courtesy of the Regional Museum in Stalowa Wola
Solid Spin lamps by Johanna Tammsalu, 2013, photo: courtesy of the Regional Museum in Stalowa Wola

Walking by the seaside, we see shapes formed by water. The slightly blurred rocks, little stones and rounded shape of the land. We admire the relentless force of nature and imagine the underwater world based on what the water brings out to shore.

The Solid Spin porcelain lamp collection (2013) by the Estonian designer is a result of a series of eccentric experiments. Johanna Tammsalu used a potter’s wheel to form the clay with everyday objects: shoes, glasses, mugs and books. This way she created forms which are later cast for made-to-order ceramic lamps.

Johanna Tammsalu (born in 1987) is a graduate of Industrial Design at the Instituto Europeo de Diseño in Madrid. Her work has been presented at the London Design Festival, Clerkenwell Design Week, Greenhouse in Stockholm, X Disainiöö in Tallinn. In 2015, the Tallinn-based designer started her own company – Tamma Design.

The horizon – Modus Design dishes

Blue Line collection by Modus Design (Marek Cecuła, Daga Rogers), 2013, photo: courtesy of the Regional Museum in Stalowa Wola
Blue Line collection by Modus Design (Marek Cecuła, Daga Rogers), 2013, photo: courtesy of the Regional Museum in Stalowa Wola

We marvel at the mystery of the day transforming into night and in reverse, shattered with such opulence and intensity of colour, the palette of which never repeats itself.

A collection of porcelain dishes with hand-painted cobalt lining (Blue Line, 2013) is a product by Modus Design – a Polish studio led by Marek Cecuła (born in 1944), Dagmara Rogers (born in 1971) and Edyta Cieloch (born in 1969). As of 2013, together with the Porcelain Manufacture Ćmielów and Chodzież, they form the Ćmielów Design Studio. The ceramics made by Modus Design encourages setting the table to become a ceremony of creating a new landscape each day. The studio is based in Kielce.

Sources: Regional Museum in Stalowa Wola, Culture.pl, compiled by AS, Mar 2017, translated by WF Mar 2017

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