Katarzyna Herman-Janiec from Protein Design likes to weave: she interweaves folk inspirations drawn from gowns, cakes and ethno patterns with the priority of functionality and balanced designing.
Designer, a 2006 graduate of the Kraków Academy of Fine Arts.
Protein Design is the studio of Katarzyna Herman-Janiec, a 2006 graduate of the Kraków Academy of Fine Arts. The designer emphasizes that in designing she is interested in “simplicity and functionality”1. Working with ecological materials she creates furniture and additions that refer to handicraft and folk tradition..
Basically, folk inspirations were always present in Herman-Janiec’s designs, she admits herself: “This is a matter of sentiment. In every spare moment I used to go to my mom’s native area, the Świętokrzyskie Mountains, where folklore was always present. I admired folk creations and visited open-air museums"2. Various amounts of ethnographic references appear in her works, however these references are far from being obvious because the designer skilfully rotates the borrowed elements.
In the multi-functional seats/baskets/receptacles Weaves / Pleciaki she makes use of a certain technology of weaving wicker, which she substitutes with cornets made from twisted newspapers. The right choice of colours results in an optimistic piece of furniture with a stuffed seat and lively patterns taken from small Zalipie painting works. The contrast of the woven texture made from paper with the smoothness of the seats gives this object additional visual and tactile attractiveness.
The same technique was used in Le Monde Lamps, which were made from the popular French daily, and in Weavel / Pleciuga, a new interpretation of the old tradition of dowry chests. Herman-Janiec’s chests gained lightness and mobility as the designer added legs on wheels to these pieces of furniture.
The designer used a similar solution in Cake / Baba, a corpulent pouf with white legs from wood. The exchangeable covers/seats embellished with computer embroideries presenting folk motifs offer the possibility of a quick change of the look of this piece of furniture.
Protein Design transforms folk motifs from various regions. The chair Zako New! references the Zakopane tradition, using new materials. The characteristic regional embellishments on the backrest and seat gain a new dimension. They are made from translucent Plexiglas and therefore obtain an almost ephemeral character.
In the case of the lamp She! Herman-Janiec takes the ethnographic inspiration a step farther; this isn’t a subtle reference, but a humorous excerpt from folk tradition. The shape and colour of the lampshade were based on the shapes of Łowickie dresses, and the base of the lamp is made of Plexiglas shoes. The designer leaves the pleasure of assembling the lamp to the user, he or she combines the elements, establishing a closer relation with the object.
The designer expanded the DIY idea with her Cornets / Tutki design. By providing the users with a half-product – large and small tubes made from twisted newspapers – she invites the users to weave baskets, containers or jewellery on their own. Cornets is also a socially engaged project, since unemployed and disabled persons participate in the production of the tubes.
As a result of a collaboration with the company UCCOI, Herman Janiec prepared the design of a surprising furniture set meant for office spaces. The collection New Generation makes use of lively colours, the strength of which is however toned down by their transparency. In this case the designer leaves her folkloristic inspirations behind, but nevertheless retains her unique style, creating light and vigorous designs.
Author: Agata Morka, August 2014
Translated by: Marek Kępa
Selected exhibitions and awards:
2014 DMY International Design Festival , Berlin
2013 Womanly Design. House Inventions in the Hands of Women / Babski dizajn. Domowe wynalazki w rękach kobiet, the Cieszyn Castle and Rapperswil
2013 Foire de Paris, Paris
2012 Ambient 2012, Ljubljana
2011 London Design Festival
2011 The Must Have title for Weaves / Pleciaki, Łódź Design Festival
2010, 2011, 2012 Łódź Design Festival
2010 Ethnodesign Festival / Etnodizajn Festiwal, Kraków