Grzegorz Cholewiak, born 1978 in Tarnów (a city in southeastern Poland), graduated from the Faculty of Industrial Design at Krakow's Academy of Fine Arts. He also received scholarships to study at the University of Technology in Lahti (Finland) and at the Academy of Fine Arts in Ljubljana (Slovenia). He lives and works in Berlin, where he leads Drache & Bär Studio.
Cholewiak gained his first professional experience in the Technical College of Furniture in Tarnów. After high school, he studied monument conservation and also studied in the Department of Art Education at the Pedagogical University. After finishing studies at the Academy of Fine Arts in 2008, he worked in the printing studio Kolory (Colours) in Kraków. Two years later, he opened his own business. Together with Lena Hensel, he runs a design studio in Kraków and Berlin called Dot Studio, dedicated to industrial design.
In 2013, during Łódź Design Festival, his toy design Toll's Toy Laufrad won the Must Have! title and made it to the finals of the Make Me! competition. A very simple toy consisting of a stick with a circle attached to its end, each one is hand painted and produced in a small artisanal workshop. Each product bears its own number and imprint. Laufrad may be the first mobile toy in a child's life and can accompany him or her during their first attempts to walk. The series Toll's Toy also includes also a wooden spinning top and a skipping rope.
Grzegorz Cholewiak is also the winner of the 2009 Recycling Design Prize for a platter made of an old cathode ray tube from a TV. It was a part of his diploma project. As the designer said in an interview on the myflor.pl, the idea of responsible design is very close to his heart. When working on any design, he follows the "3 Rs" principle, which consists of three fundamentals: reducing (the number of unnecessary things bought), re-using, and recycling. These platters were the best example of incorporating such a philosophy.
But - as he says in interview for Culture.pl – besides utilising recycled materials, the emotional aspect of designed items is also important to him:
I have noticed that the concept of redesign has not yet been approached from the perspective of the user's emotional engagement with the object. For instance, imagine a fountain pen that belonged to my grandmother in the past. She used it to write passionate letters to my grandfather, and later corresponded with my father, then wrote fairy tales for me. Unfortunately, the pen has been dropped on the floor and no longer fulfils its original function. Although it is not made of mother of pearl, for me it is a kind of vehicle that revives my memories of my grandmother. It makes no sense to repair it, but I do not want to get rid of it and therefore, when given a new function, the object acquires a completely different dimension. In this manner, a set of cases becomes the Alize dresser, and a satellite dish becomes the SatAnna lamp.
One of Cholewiak's favourite projects is Kvadratt – a simple, modular piece of furniture made of cardboard. It can be made bigger or smaller, depending on the number of cubes attached. As a set that can be easily rearranged, it also allows the user to play with its form and function. The inside of the cubes (40 cm x 40 cm) is cut out in the shape of circle. The surface of the cubes is made of MDF (medium-density fibreboard). It comes in two colours: white and natural. The artist created Kvadratt with intention of presenting it at the Przetwory festival.
Kvadratt was created as a response to a sudden, but pre-existing, need. Thanks to its modularity – a set of block cubes - it has the potential to construct exactly what you need at any given time. It can serve as a seat or table. I, myself often put the projector on it for watching films. Lena uses it as a place for storing tools for drawing and painting. Our children show their unbridled fantasies when playing with Kvadratt. They build tunnels, buildings, they jump on it, move it around and create a variety of configurations. One of the assumptions when designing Kvadratt was that the user would find their own language and their own expression when playing with this object. [Source: www.myflor.pl]
Cholewiak also designed a table for disabled children called UFO in collaboration with the Malta Assistance Centre, which supported him with professional advice on the specifications of such an object. This table is intended for therapeutic and rehabilitative activities, which can be performed individually or within a group. One of its special features is that “it grows with the child”. The magazine 2 +3 D presented the project with the Produkt z Plusem (Product with a Plus) award. As the artist himself emphasized, UFO is a response to the glaring absence on the market of such products for children with disabilities. The table has a hexagonal top which allows it to be arranged in many different group settings. The height of the table and its angle of its inclination can be easily adjusted according to the children needs. It has a metal structure which makes it very stable, but not heavy, so the children can effortlessly move it around. The top of the table has been made of polymethylmethacrylate, which can be called a “magic field”. When set at particular angle, the top holds the cards or boards for children.
Author: Katarzyna Zacharska, June 2014, transl. GS, July 2014
- 2013 - Must Have! and the finals of Make Me! competition at Lódź Design Festival
- 2010 - honourable mention in the competition for bag design organized by Ochnik and the National Museum in Kraków
- 2009 - first place in the international competition RecyclingDesignpreis organized by Recycling Börse, Herford, Germany
- 2008 - second place in Przetwory competition, Warsaw
- 2006 - honourable mention in the competition for sofa design, organized byTOM Sedezna, Ljubljana, Slovenia
- first place in the competition for cutlery design organized by Gerlach
- exhibition of Toll'sToy series in Regional Museum in Bydgoszcz, purchase of Toll's Toys by National Museum in Warsaw
- Must have! and Make me! Łódź Design Festiwal, Łódź
- Unpolished 11, travelling Polish design exhibition, Hong Kong
- DMY, Youngsters, Berlin, Germany
- Neighbours 2.0, Warsaw
- Book Fair of books for children, Kraków,
- Life in 3D, BWA Gallery, Olsztyn
- Pecha Kucha Night, Alchemia Club, Kraków
- Przetwory, Warsaw
- Unpolished 3, Kopenhagen
- Design Biennale, Ingolstadt
- Warsaw Design Week, Warsaw
- Arena Design, Poznań
- Etno Dizajn, Kraków
- Recycling DesignPrise Exhibition, Bauhaus,Dessau
- group exhibition, Łódź Design Festiwal, Łódź
- DMY, Berlin, Germany