One hundred years of iconic Polish design in pictures... The ABCs of Polish Design, the brand new book published by the Adam Mickiewicz Institute and WYtwórnia Publishing House, features the diversity of a century of Polish product and graphic design, alongside 25 young Polish illustrators’ interpretations of them. Culture.pl presents 10 selected illustrations for your viewing pleasure!
The ABCs of Polish Design book and exhibitions organised by the Adam Mickiewicz Institute present the best of Polish product design – furniture, ceramics and glassware – and more: typography, toys, sporting equipment and even sweets! It is a journey through the history of Polish design.
The book also presents interpretations of these design icons – twenty-five contemporary Polish illustrators and graphic designers were asked to share their visual interpretations of the pieces on display. Moreover, the exhibition will also share the stories behind each of the designs: find out about the designers, their inspirations and their creative processes. Design surrounds us every day, even when we don’t realise it!
LOT Polish Airlines logo
The crane from the logo designed by Tadeusz Gronowski has become an irreplaceable symbol of the biggest Polish airlines, LOT. Attempts by LOT to change its logo provoked a fierce backlash – the general public came out in defence of the design created in 1929, which only proves its timelessness.
Maciek Blaźniak is a graphic designer and illustrator fascinated with contemporary picture books and new technologies. He makes up a half of the Ładne Halo graphic design studio, specialising in book, press and advertisement illustration.
Tea set for Gdynia – America Shipping Lines
In the 1930s, two world-class Polish transatlantic ships were produced: the MS Batory and MS Piłsudski. Their elegant interiors, tailored in every detail, were designed by top Polish designers of the time. This tea set designed by Julia Keilowa in the fashionable art déco style of the 1930s was an element of the tableware used on the transatlantic MS Piłsudski.
Katarzyna Bogucka, a graduate of the faculty of painting, she turned towards illustration and worked out her own, energetic style of drawing. Her works have a touch of retro style and allude to naïve art and comic books. She draws simple and expressive human and animal characters that inspire imagination.
The RM58 armchair, designed by Roman Modzelewski, is one of the earliest Polish products made of plastic. Le Corbusier, the world-famous architect, wanted to buy the prototype and launch mass production of the armchair in France, but communist authorities prevented it from happening. Sixty years later, this legendary design was rediscovered by the Vzór design studio and can be found in its catalogue.
Emilia Dziubak debuted in 2011 with a cookbook for children and has illustrated over forty books since.
The Alfa camera was distinguished by its modern design, bright colours, simplicity and functionality. Its designers wanted to appeal to young customers, and they achieved their goal. The camera remains popular today, especially among collectors.
Małgorzata Gurowska is an artist, illustrator and graphic designer. The strength of her works lies in their precision and boldness.
During the communist regime in Poland, scooters, such as Vespas, were associated with the freedom and luxury of the West. The generation born after World War II wanted to enjoy life and leave the past behind. Several models of scooters were designed at the time and were given the names of insects. Osa (Wasp) was the first one to be mass-produced.
Monika Hanulak illustrates books and organises exhibitions. Her illustrations invite viewers into an enchanted world inhabited by green crickets, red monkeys and pink rhinos.
Ina coffee set
Lubomir Tomaszewski wanted to create an ideal coffee set, which was both functional and aesthetically pleasing. He analysed hundreds of models and performed many tests searching for the most convenient and ergonomic form. Inspired by shapes found in nature, he proposed six different ‘ideal’ coffee sets. Two, christened with the names of his daughters (Dorota and Ina) went into production.
Tymek Jezierski is a draughtsman, illustrator and poster designer with artistic inclinations. He has a very confident and captivating approach to graphic design. Tymek Jezierski works across a number of platforms. His designs are both easy to comprehend and imaginative.
Cepelia was originally established to keep Polish folk art alive, but it did much more. It created its own unique style, shaped aesthetic tastes of Poles, and became a well-known brand abroad. In Warsaw, Cepelia has its headquarters in a pavilion designed by Zygmunt Stępiński, located in the very centre of the city at the corner of Marszałkowska Street and Aleje Jerozlimskie.
Agata Królak is a graphic artist. Her works take you on a nostalgic journey to the world of childhood. Seasoned with a sense of humour, her illustrations create a dynamic microcosm.
Under the communist regime, political, cultural and fashion news from the West reached Poland by various channels, despite the attempts of the government to prevent it. Western goods could only be bought in Pewex and Baltona shops, and only for dollars or special PeKaO checks. Pewex shops sold Max Factor cosmetics, Levi’s jeans, Sony Walkmans and Barbie dolls. The Pewex logo, designed by Elżbieta Magner, based on the logo of PeKaO, became a synonym of things that were prohibited: Western and desirable.
Patryk Mogilnicki is a draughtsman and illustrator, who focuses mainly on press illustrations. He also designs posters, record covers, book covers and comic books.
Diana meat grinder
In the 1990s, the meat grinder was one of the most frequently used devices in Polish kitchens. Marek Liskiewicz’s design was a breakthrough: his Diana meat grinder was modern, light, compact and, last but not least, electric. In designing this practical, easy to use and aesthetic object, Liskiewicz was inspired by bone structure.
Marianna Oklejak is a graphic designer, who is distinguished by her ability to present tradition in a new, contemporary and lively way. She draws and sews, and also designs books, posters and album covers.
The oven created by Marek Biernacki was designed with the concept ‘less is more’ in mind. Its number of functions is limited to a minimum – the priority here is convenience and easy use. Customers can choose the kind of wood they want their oven handles to be made of. Zen is characterised by its austere simplicity.
Marianna Sztyma is the author of numerous press and book illustrations, including children’s books. She creates comics, designs book covers and paints.
The concept for The ABCs of Polish Design: 25 Illustrators Revisit 100 Iconic Designs book and exhibitions was created by Polish design expert Ewa Solarz. The design historian Agata Szydłowska and journalist Agnieszka Kowalska worked on the book alongside Solarz.
The book was published by the Adam Mickiewicz Institute, under its flagship brand Culture.pl, as part of its programme promoting Polish design around the globe. The book was published in honour of the centenary of Poland's' independence. The project was implemented within the framework of the Multiannual POLSKA 100 Programme for the years 2017-2021.
Source: press materials, compiled by MK, 19 Oct 2017, translated by MF