Even during his studies, Jakub Sobiepanek provided proof of the aptness of his design visions by conjuring unusual forms out of uncommon materials. Only two years after he defended his thesis work, he began to be active as the artistic director of a unique brand of his own creation.
Designer, graduated from the Faculty of Industrial Design of the Warsaw Academy of Fine Arts.
In 2012 Sobiepanek graduated from the Faculty of Industrial Design of the Warsaw Academy of Fine Arts, where he studied in Tomek Rygalik's workshop. On the occasion of his post-diploma exhibition, he summed up his main design interests: “In my work I look for inspirations in Polish folk art (…) and I address the issue of recycling (…)”.
The design Lace Table / Koronkowy stół resulted from the first aforementioned inspiration. The idea, based on the motif of a traditional lace tablecloth, was transformed by Sobiepanek into an utterly modern language. The delicate, black legs of the table with their clearly visible minimalism contrast with the white of the decorated tabletop. Instead of incorporating hand-made embellishments, the designer used laser technology to cut out precise patterns. The tablecloth becomes an integral part of the table, and becomes literally conjoined with the piece of furniture. Sobiepanek provocatively places the tablecloth not in the middle, but aslant so that a piece of the lace protrudes outside of the area of the tabletop. By doing so the designer plays with the viewer's sight, provokes curiosity and encourages interaction with the piece of furniture.
The works prepared for the Przetwory festival showed the designer’s fascination with recycling. Sobiepanek, together with Robert Pludra, won at this festival in 2010 thanks to their design of an armchair made from a plastic barrel and a chair made from carton packages. The barrel was appropriately cut and bent by Sobiepanek and Pludra, and gained the surprising form of a comfortable armchair with armrests. Thanks to its well-thought-out construction, the chair made of cartons with a woven seat gained stability, contradicting the fragility of the material from which it was made.
Jakub Sobiepanek is presently engaged in the development of the unique brand Vzór, based on an idea developed in his master’s thesis titled “The Revitalisation of 20th Century Polish Industrial Designs through the Use of Contemporary Technology and Materials”. Sobiepanek didn’t want this idea to remain just academic work. And indeed it didn’t turn out that way. Vzór, founded in June 2012, introduced Roman Modzelewski’s famous R58 (an armchair made from polyester-glass laminate) to the Polish market. In the end of the 50s, the discovery of this material excited Modzelewski, a designer and experimenter, so much that he couldn’t fall asleep. Sobiepanek was similarly enthusiastic when he began to resurrect this forgotten piece of furniture. Vzór’s end product treats the original design with respect and at the same time transforms it with use of contemporary materials.
Jakub Sobiepanek’s activity is situated on the line between industrial design and revitalisation. He proposes new ways of looking at design. By merging elements of curatorial and design practice, he develops bold projects which draw from historical models and delineate new horizons in Polish design.
Author: Agata Morka, July 2014
Translated by: Marek Kępa
Selected exhibitions and awards:
- 2014 "Nasz", New York (the presentation of the prototype of the chair RM NEXT)
- 2014 "Polish Job", Milan
- 2013 Vzór awarded World Interiors News Annual Awards in the furniture category, London
- 2013 "Young creative Poland – 4 years on", London
- 2013 DMY Berlin
- 2013 The RM58 armchair distinguished with the Must Have title, Łódź Design Festival
- 2012 Coming Out, The Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw
- 2011 ScrapLab Design Contest, Munich
- 2010 Product of the Year / Przetwór Roku (together with Robert Pludra)
- 2009 “A Little Lace Table” / “Koronkowy Stolik”, Łódź Design Festival