Magdalena Chojnacka is a designer born in 1983 in Jastrzębie Zdrój, a town in southern Poland. She is a graduate of the Faculty of Industrial Design of the Jan Matejko Academy of Fine Arts in Kraków. She also studied Artistic Education at the Pedagogic University in Kraków. In the framework of the Socrates Erasmus scholarship, she studied at Hochschule Darmstadt in Germany.
Interior designer, graduate of the Faculty of Industrial Design of the Jan Matejko Academy of Fine Arts in Kraków.
Magdalena Chojnacka chiefly designs interior fittings. Her professional motto is: Love for nature expressed by geometry. The artist uses natural materials – wood, ceramics, steel - because in her opinion such materials age better and gain character. She also likes to experiment with other materials. She collaborates with local artisans, chiefly with ones from the Kraków region.
Magdalena Chojnacka created her first design with a geometrical form, The Design of an Interior for a Single Person / Projekt wnętrza dla single, during her studies in 2006. Later, the artist created her degree thesis, which she defended in 2009: a concept for revitalising a housing project in Jastrzębie Zdrój. The grey buildings built for the workers of a mine were positioned at the junction of streets with folk names: Kurpiowska, Łowicka and Śląska. Magdalena Chojnacka drew inspiration from a folksiness which was alien to this place. She wrapped the apartment blocks with geometric patterns which changed the character of the elevations. Additionally, the colourful structures created by the designer change their appearance depending on the place from which they are viewed. Chojnacka wrote about this work on the website łowcydizajnu.pl:
In this project, I take into consideration the frame of reference of creating architectural objects in order to obtain mobility of images. The visual function influences not only the images of cities but, above all, it influences the inhabitants - after all, the inhabitants are the most frequent observers and users not only of the buildings but also of the areas around the buildings. I made use of “optical illusions” to surprise the viewers.
In Chojnacka’s works also animal motifs are present - for instance trophies and antlers in the forms of graphic works or metal constructions such as Steel Fox. She said what these motifs mean to her in a conversation with culture.pl:
It all started in 2010, when I created the series of graphic works entitled Wild Heads. These pieces showed, amongst others, a lynx and a bongo antelope. The brand Bongo Design was named after the latter animal. I made these graphic works under the influence of frightening information about the dying world of wild animals. Shortly afterwards, I also used steel and ceramics. As a result, a fox was created as a trophy for a wall that has a rather humanitarian form.
The artist emphasizes that even though animal trophies are the main topic of her works, her pieces shouldn’t be treated as symbols of triumph over nature, which is what typical animal trophies or antlers may be considered:
To me, these are more symbols that try to find the lost bond between man and nature. Many of us live in cities where it is hard to encounter nature. We feel a need to surround ourselves with objects linked to the animal world and nature. Nature is starting to become abstract and less and less real. That is why my projects are geometric and simplified.
The artist emphasizes that antlers are a dominant part of a room that features them and the choice of antlers has a huge influence on the atmosphere of such a room:
I’d like it if people wouldn’t create the need for real antlers or animal trophies and would choose more creative ways of designing interiors.
Among the objects designed by Magdalena Chojnacka is, for instance, Lamp 360’ / Lampa 360’, a lamp that earned the Must Have distinction at the festival of design in Łódź. This lamp’s lampshade is made from a single piece of pine wood. The lampshade may be turned around by 360 degrees around the axis to which the stand is attached – hence the name of the object.
This is a minimalistic design, in these kinds of designs it is most hard to retain elaborate details – says the artist – The form may easily be ruined by drawbacks in production. That is why collaborating with good artisans is so important to me. Material selection is a big part of the work that leads to the production of this lamp. The wood has to be very dry and can’t be cracked.
Magdalena Chojnacka also created Heavy Rabbit, a stool in which one may store books or newspapers. This piece of furniture is a single module, a bended, alternately welded steel rod, which forms an openwork structure.
This is kind of a joke that refers to a rabbit. The form of the work slightly resembles a rabbit, the name of the stool includes the word “heavy” simply because this piece of furniture is heavy. Thanks to the arching seat this piece of furniture is very comfortable for a stool – explains the artist.
She further pursued her interest in aminals and antlers in her series of ceramic masks called Wild Head. The series was a direct reaction to troubling news about animals’ death rates. For a dog head WoofWoof Chojnacka apllied very simplified forms, reducing it to a geometric, almost abstract object. The designer combines white with gold, using the latter to accentuate chosen parts of the mask and attracting attention to dog’s eyes and tongue. WHOWho mask, from the same series, relies on an even more abstract idiom. In this case it is hard ti recognize what the source of inspiration for the applied shapes was. The mask, white again, plays with the viewer leading his/her eye towards a golden stripe and a circle around what is to be an eye. This is how Chojnacka interprets a face of an owl.
In 2013 Chojnacka also created a series of ceramic plates adorned with star constellations. She pinced the dark blue discs in a way that the holes act as stars. She then connected them with a white rope indicating a final shape of a given constellation. She employed the same ide for her tales Wild Heads, yet this time one could trace shapes of animals of the plates: be it that of a lynx or of a bongo antelope.
Selected ehxibitions and awards:
2016 Wroclove Design, Wrocław, Poland
2015 Kreacja i Proces (Creation and Process), Design Institute, Kielce, Poland
"Polished Up. Design from Poland", Cologne, Germany
Polish Design "Forest and Meadow" in the framework of Copenhagen Design Trade, Denmark
Must Have, Łódź Design Festival
"MUST HAVE" Łódz Design Festival, distinction for Lamp 360’
Author: Katarzyna Zacharska, May 2014. Updated, August 2016, AM.
Translated by: Marek Kępa