Bro.Kat is a design collective strongly attached to its Silesian roots. The founders of the studio – two qualified architects, aim to create functional design as well as expressing the spirit of Silesia as a frontier region.
A design collective strongly attached to its Silesian roots.
In their projects, whether jewellery and functional objects, they reveal the rich resources of the region and make frequent references to traditional local patterns. For them, ‘Silesianess’ means keeping an open mind, free from clichés, respecting materials used and, above all, experimenting. Bogna Burska and Roma Skuza attended the same high school then studied together at the Silesian University of Technology. Now they form a perfect duet – a solid base for the 4-member studio Bro.Kat, where Kaja Nosal and Małgorzata Staroń also work. What they learned at the Faculty of Architecture is a broad attitude toward their profession and freedom in reaching for inspiration from various fields. Their travels and internships provided them with the foundations for their own discoveries.
Our internships gave us insight into different aspects of the job. On one hand we were given a chance to watch how experienced architects worked, on the other we could take a look at this whole formal and official process of architectural design.
Yet, the real breakthrough came with their own practice :
Nothing can compare with hours spent in your own workshop.
They call their projects ‘microscale architecture’. Their work on the Hochglance project (meaning high gloss in Silesian) - a line of handmade coal jewellery - is perfect example:
The designing process of the Hochglance reminded of making a model of a chair: from the idea, through sketches made in 3D software, prototypes, to final casts combined with the stone. In architecture, microscale means working on details: an original door pull or an unconventional ventilation grate. Accurately combining materials and interior components requires profound analysis and precise vision.
In Hochglance the material itself imposed the solutions: the rings, brooches, pendants and earrings are all unique because each of them gained their individual form when chipped from a bigger block of coal. The process of forming is not ended, however, with the ‘release’ of the product because the coal can break or scratch - when it is dropped, for example.
To work with this non-standard jewellery material required full participation and consultation. Continuing their strategy of locality, they asked for advice from a local sculptor who specialises in creating coal cups and statues (Czesław Jurkiewicz). The decision to use coal is part of a wider trend in jewellery design, which uses concrete, plastic and synthetic materials. For the designers, it meant both a leap in the dark and acknowledgement of their awareness of global processes.
The designers continued their interest in the region in their Śląskie doniczki / Silesian Flowerpots project, in which they cut a panorama of Silesia into a painted tin container. By this means Bro.Kat contested the image of region as an icon of post-industrial degradation.
Silesia is a leader in the field of nature preservation, maintaining a high percentage of green areas in the region – designers wrote on their website.
Architectural realization is the other side of the coin. Bro.Kat has to its credit projects for both private flats and public spaces. One of the latter such creations was a “chocolate lounge” for Wedel (the legendary Polish chocolate manufacturer). It was based on a system of modular cottages reminiscent of a fairy tale motive of a sylvan land of milk and honey.
They regard the situation of Polish designers on the worldwide market as dynamic.
There have been numerous significant projects created in recent years, even in Silesia itself. More and more Polish designers are getting into the spotlight of the international arena. It is facilitated by exhibitions and events such as The Spirit of Poland, Unpolished – young design from Poland, and others.
Studio Bro.Kat refuses to formulate its credo but their principles are characterized by the context of their cultural heritage:
In our work we try to be faithful to the tenets of so-called ‘Gliwice architecture school’ that are: functionality, usability, pragmatism and practicality.
2014 honorary mention in the 'Public Foor Me - design the interior of Wedel's Chocolate Lounge' contest.
2013 honorary mention for Hochglance Jewelerry in a must have! contest organized by International Design Festival in Łódź
2013 Silesia Fashion Point Award in "creating fashion" category. 3rd Silesia Fashion Day.
2012 – 1st in a Design Silesia II contest in the category 'exclusive product' for Śląskie Doniczki / Silesian Flowerpot and 1st place at the 18th edition of konkursu Architecture of The Year in Silesia Contest for Hochglance jewellery.
2012 – LITTLE FORM award
Author: Lidia Pańków, April 2014, Translated by W.O. April 17th 2014