Since its founding in 2005, Gogo studio, run by Marysia Makowska and Piotr Stolarski, has pushed the idea of user participation in design to its limits. Their projects only gain their final shape once the user intervenes. They invite one to make a very personal statement and they do so with courage, style... and a handsaw.
Design collective created by Marysia Makowska and Piotr Stolarski in 2005.
Makowska and Stolarski’s paths crossed when they both studied in the Department of Industrial Design at the Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw. A subsequent encounter in Milan resulted in the Gogo studio project, an adventure they have been working on ever since. Gogo’s portfolio is focused on product design, often offering extreme solutions for everyday objects.
Customization and user participation is one of the big trends in contemporary design and Gogo studio takes it very seriously, inviting users to play with their designs, sometimes even leaving them no choice but to join in their game. Their Modular Chess stool gives the user the ability to assemble or disassemble its pieces, changing the stool’s shape depending on one’s preference. Its black and white palette, echoing the silhouettes of chess pieces, adds a certain amount of elegance and polish to it. But Gogo’s risk-taking designers go a step further. Handing users a handsaw sounds like a rather dangerous move, yet Makowska and Stolarski pursue their vision fearlessly. The idea consists of a log with objects affixed to it; customization is pushed here to its extremes, as you must cut your off your own piece of the log and then decorate it according to your own taste. With their log clocks and radios Makowska and Stolarski blur the boundaries between what is done by the designer and the final product, showing how a provocative approach can break new ground in designer-user interaction.
Makowska and Stolarski are also no strangers to the question of sustainable design and recycling, having experimented with used plastic bags in their projects. This interest finds its way into their products both literally and in more abstract interpretations. In their collection of tote bags they do not change the original object’s function but merely add to it an element of endurance, transforming one-use plastic bags into something reusable. Yet with the ReBaglt lamp Makowska and Stolarski thoroughly redefine their source material, layering on pieces of plastic bags until the lampshade assumes an architectural shape, one still derived from its source material but with its own independent identity.
The transformation of materials is a recurrent theme in Gogo’s work; redefinition, changing the skin of otherwise cheap materials, such as plastic or OSB board, plays one of the leading roles in their design practice. Such is the case with the Grand Piano coffee table, where OSB board was covered with luxurious piano lacquer. The juxtaposition of cheap and expensive paired with the piano-like shape give the table a surprising new personality.
Gogo studio's web page: www.gogo.com.pl
- Design September, Brussels
- Natural resources of Polish Design (Zasoby naturalne polskiego designu), Regional Museum in Stalowa Wola, Poland
- Black and White. Young Polish Design (Młody polski dizajn), Tel Aviv
- Łódź Design Festival, Poland
- Modern Souvenir from Warsaw, honorable mention for Warsaw Pinhole Camera
- KTR Silver Award for CLIMB ON ANYTHING
- Jury’s favourite selection for Log Radio (Kłoda Radio), DMY International Design Festival 2008, Berlin
- Elle Style Award, nomination
Author: Agata Morka, December 2013