More so than getting to a certain destination, Izabela Bołoz is interested in the expectation beforehand. The shadow cast by an object is of greater value to her than the physical object itself. In her work, Bołoz moves across an understated space. She weaves her urban interventions from what is ethereal and leaves their final shape to the user… and to the sun.
Designer and author of urban installations.
Izabela Bołoz has a varied education and is familiar with several European universities. She studied social science in Wroclaw and Zurich before moving on to study design in Eindhoven, where she established her own design studio.
She collaborates with the local authorities as well as design festivals. She does not shy away from curatorial tasks too. In 2014, she worked on an exhibition entitled Polish Design: In the Middle, that was shown at the Design Festival in the Netherlands among others. In this project, Bołoz’s love for initiating interaction with the audience is tangible. The exhibition was arranged on a long table – a reference to Polish hospitality. Visitors were encouraged to sit together, share the space, and engage in conversation.
The moments suspended somewhere between here and there which fill periods of expectation are a constant source of inspiration for the designer. In her pieces, she has taken up the theme of waiting numerous times, encapsulating that moment into the subtle architectural frame of urban interventions.
The Waiting Rooms are brightly coloured steel and wood structures shaped into forms echoing houses. Bołoz tries to create intimate areas in the open air that will stimulate human interaction. The waiting rooms are far from the obvious shape of bus shelters. The space does not impose any ready-to-use solutions: there is an element that resembles a bench and serves as an invitation to be seated, but apart from that the other elements can be creatively used for sitting, leaning on, or spontaneous climbing.
The waiting room she prepared for the next Design Festival in Eindhoven was based on a similar intuitional concept. This time Bołoz defined the separate space by the use of irregular blobs of colour and a few cubes that allowed passers-by to engage with them in various ways.
The idea of blocks and cubes being scaled up is something Bołoz also used in another one of her installations – Stairway in Copenhagen. In this temporary project, the artist plays with the idea of a staircase, transforming it into a colourful, dreamlike experience. These intensely-coloured blue stairs do not lead to anywhere specific – they are designed on ground level and gradually lead upwards onto the wall as if to reach the sky. The installation allows users to sit, walk on it, climb on it, and yet remains a poetic interpretation of an object as trivial as stairs.
Bołoz moves smoothly in the world of shadows. Ever since 2011, she has approached this subject from a new perspective each time. She is interested in the unpredictability of shadows, their spontaneous appearance in public spaces, and their presence, which is so often overlooked by passers-by. She frequently takes what is neglected as the starting point of her interventions, and tries to give shadows an important role in the urban tissue. She uses them to send out subtle, poetic messages.
In the Eindhoven installation, she combines what is transient and elusive, working with shadows and the theme of expectation. It is not a coincidence that she placed her installation Shadow Messages at the main train station, engaging passengers waiting on the platforms. She uses common elements like words written on platforms, along with the moving sunlight, which reveals the letter's shadows, creating short poetic messages such as ‘Caress the Ray’, ‘Shadow Play’ or ‘Search the Sun’.
Shadow City from 2013 is a game of city symbols. Bołoz tells the history of the city – again by using shadows – on a hundred-metre wall by a lake. Several dozen icons attached to the wall cast shadows that are determined by the moving sun. Bołoz grants fish, houses and butterflies the opportunity to dance, bend and break according to the sun’s will.
Author: Agata Morka, July 2015, Translated by: Zuzanna Wiśniewska