Designer and illustrator from Warsaw, Malwina Konopacka worked for several important newspapers. Her vase designs charm with colourful eyes, frivolous plants and, among them, stalking animals.
Malwina Konopacka graduated from Industrial Design department of Fine Arts Academy in Warsaw, as well as from Illustration department of Universität der Künste in Berlin. She provided illustration for, among other newspapers, Przekrój, Zwykłe Życie, Machina, or Architektura. When asked about the birth of her love for illustrating, she said:
My home was always filled with drawings. My grandfather, as well as my father, are extremely talented! I had so many professional tools: beautiful sheets of paper, colourful crayons, various pencils etc. So I was drawing quite often and very eagerly! (...) I often draw illustrations with some kind of text, situational joke or something like that. I’m inspired by exaggerated everyday situations, I love to take details as a whole, or the other way – find details in a whole. I like to play with my creations.
Her drawings appeared on NikiNiki T-shirts, as well as on a calendar, which she designed with the help of Tomasz Bersz for Bęc Zmiana foundation. 80 occasions in 2015 is an interesting concept with intriguing illustrations. The calendar commemorates various unusual occasions, such as Stanisław Bareja’s MA thesis defence. This red-and-blue calendar includes Konopacka’s drawings which remind of the dates and the reasons for remembering them.
Aside from illustrating, Malwina Konopacka is keen on designing crockery, because, as she explains:
I am a graduate from Industrial Design, and designing various everyday object is something I’m very close to. In my professional life I focus on drawings, sure, but I try to find opportunities to transfer the drawings onto different media, shapes, things. Everything I know about creating vases I got from my Academy, I visited ceramics department and got the hang of it.
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Her fusiform vase design with several indentations, meant to resemble the shape of an eye lived to see numerous interpretations. In the original version only the indentations are highlighted with colours various colours, such as gold or platinum. In many of her projects she likes to choose one dominant colour to serve as a kind of theme for her works. That was the case with Jungle series, inspired by paintings of Henri Rousseau. These long, oval vases are decorated with the images of fantasy beasts and plants. Kobalt, another series of hers, is quite different in style. This time she goes for something less organic. Alongside quick, expressive drawing of eyes, faces and hands she places geometrical shapes, connecting all the elements with intense cobalt colouring.
She redesigned the eye vase for the 10th anniversary of Łukasz Jemioł’s fashion atelier. The redesigned series consists of 10 unique vases in black and gold.
Cutout is quite a different story. This time Konopacka strays away from monochromatic colouring, and lets loose, creating vibrant, colourful compositions with parade of different shapes, loosely based on Mattise’s cut-outs.
The designer likes to stress the connection of her ceramics with her illustrations, pointing out that her vases require synthetic thinking, bold and kinda simplified shapes of adornments. She explains:
A vase is quite a large objects. It’s like a canvas or a sheet of paper, where you can create illustrations in 3D, you can use all 360 degrees.
Selected exhibitions and awards:
- 2016 mustHave for Jungle series, Łódź Design Festival, Poland
- 2016 Places of Origin, Reykjavik, Iceland
- 2015 OKO – A dog or a bitch, Warsaw, Poland
- 2015 OKO / Jungle, Warsaw, Poland
- 2015 OKO / Jungle – Łukasz Jemioł Butique, Warsaw, Poland
- 2015 What Goes Behind... Contemporary Polish Ceramic Design, The London Design Festival, London Tent, Great Britain
- 2015 Wanted Design, New York, USA
- 2015 Expo Milano / La Tavola Polacca, Milan, Italy
- 2014 Tokyo / Design Festival, Tokyo, Japan
Written by: Anna Cymer, February 2017, translated by AS