Szpunar Studio is the work of Nikodem Szpunar and Kamila Niedźwiedzka.
Their portfolio includes both functional product designs and more conceptual projects in which they reuse materials in unexpected ways. The courage to experiment lies at the core of their practice, resulting in such unusual ideas as a specially-designed space for an oft-overlooked activity – sulking.
Nikodem Szpunar (1987) was born in Rzeszów, yet graduated from the Department of Industrial Design of the Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw, and further pursued his education in Dublin at the National College of Art and Design. Szpunar Studio, which he founded, achieved international renown with its furniture and lamp designs, winning the MakeMe grand prix at the Łódź Design Festival and featuring in international design exhibitions. Szpunar Studio cooperates with the furniture industry, designing for Paged and Ervive, and is a member of the PG13 design group led by Tomek Rygalik. In regards to their design philosophy, they say that ‘we plan, we design, and we implement a broad range of ideas. We experiment with the object because we know that a well-designed object improves the quality of life’.
Szpunar Studio creates multitasking objects that provide the freedom to choose how they will be used. The Madame ottoman can act as something to sit on, a storage solution, a nightstand or a table - it is up to the user to define its function in a way that best suits his or her particular needs. The Prop armchair, which offers two different modes of use, further explores the idea of user participation. It can be used as a simple, minimalist chair, or, by adding a backrest and armrests, can easily transform into a more comfortable armchair. Both the Madame and Prop projects are characterized by a certain lightness and airiness, emphasized by the use of natural materials and simple, unornamented shapes.
This lightness also marks their award-winning Mosquito floor lamp. Constructed of tubes and a small shade, the lamp can be easily disassembled and transported, taking up a minimal amount of space and thus presenting a clever solution for small interiors.
It seems, however, that it is in what Szpunar Studio calls ‘experiments’ that their creativity and wit are used to their fullest potential. One striking example is the Bastard armchair, composed of reused old furniture put together in such a way so as to create a new object. The redefinition of uses and shapes is here pushed to absolute maximum, leaving the user perplexed as to what the provenance of each part is. The designers’ wit comes into play in what might be their most unusual project, called Space for Sulkers: a construction consisting of wooden supports holding up a canopy which obstructs one’s vision. The canopy surrounds the person sitting underneath, allowing for complete withdrawal and creating a space for sulking. The designers add, however, that the seat is purposefully designed to be uncomfortable, so that after sitting in it for a while ‘it sends the user the message that it’s time to stop sulking and leave the object’. (www.nikodemszpunar.com)
Author: Agata Morka, 2014
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