The Monomoka design group is famous for creating unique pieces of furniture, mainly seats and ottomans crocheted out of linen, wool and cotton yarn. The brand was created by twin sisters Monika Gwiazdowska and Katarzyna Gwiazdowska, and in 2008 they were joined by Piotr Saladra, Monika’s spouse. All three are graduates of the Department of Architecture at Wrocław’s Polytechnic.
The design group famous for creating unique pieces of furniture, mainly seats and ottomans crocheted out of linen, wool and cotton yarn.
The first piece of furniture for the Monomoka collection was created in 2005. Throughout the subsequent 7 years the group didn’t exhibit any of their work, and it was only in 2012, when their collection grew to include some 13 items, Monomoka decided to take part in the contest organised by the Society of British Interior Design. Their project ran in the Residential category with a kitchen design and the Product category with the Sleeping Mice furniture. In both cases Monomoka’s items made it to the final selection.
Yet it was the SingaPlural Furniture Design Award contest in Singapore that became the group’s great success in 2013. This prestigious competition is organised in Singapore in order to select the most innovative projects authored by young designers from across the globe. The jury make their picks while placing an emphasis on ecological standard, breakthrough concept and the functional value of submitted items. The group’s Hive seat garnered the Grand Award of the event, and their Artichoke was presented with the Merit Award. Having won the 2013 edition, they were later invited to show their individual exhibition in Singapour.
The winning Hive design is an ottoman crotcheted with linen yarn in a natural gray colour and evocative of the structure of honey plasters. The furniture is assembled out of 1600 small modules. The second winner, Monomoka’s Artichoke seat alludes to the plant’s petals in its form. It is created with 156 overlapping discs, crotcheted in yellow and orange yarn.
Monomoka’s works draw inspiration from biological processes than can be observed in nature. Apart from the Hive and Artichoke seates, the group has created the kernel-shaped Lentil stool, as well as the Sleeping Mice ottoman which looks a silkworm’s cocoon and gathers together some 1500 little linen balls. The production of Monomoka’s furniture is incredibly time-consuming, with each item taking up to a few months to build. This is the reason why the collection only counts 13 pieces to date.
Their furniture design is based on the play of contrasts; different textures of materials are here woven together to create their stunning pieces. They combine wood with textiles, creating compositions that are both cosy and modern. What could be an old fashion granny style knitting is being transformed in their hands and transported into an almost futuristic dimension. They mainly create sitting furniture, starting from a delicate design for Blossom covered with petal-like crochet elements to a more geometric Sunny pouf, with its repeatable structure. In their portfolio one can find both organic forms as in the case of black and blue Stormy Rose with its flamboyant pieces of knits and calmer geometrical shapes, such as Cubes: composed of intertwining cubes.
Other than experimenting with stools and pouffs, Monomoka also creates lamp shades. The Wig is a structure woven from a white cotton thread, adding a certain touch of poetry to the light that it filters. In this case designers reuse the pattern concept previously applied to the Hive stool project.
The pieces of furniture crotcheted by Monomoka are not only decorative, they are very much fit for use. The background the trio has in architecture proves to have significance. In a talk for culture.pl, Katarzyna Gwiazdowska explains:
Architecture has formed our very foundations, it’s our base. We think about construction. We employ composition and structure whenever we design anything, no matter what the subject is.
The creators of Monomoka worked as interior designers, as well as fashion and graphic designers since their graduation. Piotr Saladra is a co-creator of the streetwear brand called Clinic. Katarzyna Gwiazdowska and Monika Gwiazdowska also made clothes under the Gossip brand. The sisters learned to crotched when they were eight years old. In the year 2005 their first piece of furniture was created, with new ones soon following, but in spite of this, the group chose not to show their work.
Katarzyna Gwiazdowska reveals:
We had so many ideas, that we just decided to wait until the moment when we could show a wider array of our possibilities. We think that if you don’t work hard enough, you will not reach a long-term effect. We engage in each project 100%. Perhaps this is why it took so long to prepare the Monomoka. We even joked that if it goes on like this, our children will inherit Monomoka and in case of another global crisis, they will undo all of it and make it into blankets.
The designers emphasise that apart from the fact that they make their items with natural ecological yarn, they appreciate possesing valuable things that can be passed on to the next generations thanks to their value - unlike objects that can only be thrown away one or two months after their purchase.
Selected exhibitions and awards:
2013 Maison et Objet, Paris
2013 DMY, Berlin
International Furniture Fair Singapore
Grand Award for “Hive”
Merit Award for “Artichoke”
2015 “Marki dolnośląskie” , Galeria Wnętrz Domar, Wroclaw
Author: Katarzyna Zacharska, translated by Paulina Schlosser. Update April 2016, AM.