Designers and partners in crime Wojciech Opala and Monika Elikowska-Opala prefer subtlety to impudence, creating products that whisper rather than scream.
Product design studio founded in 2010. Among their projects, those designed for bathroom spaces have gained the most acclaim and attention.
The quiet, clean and monochrome products that emerge from their studio operate within the realm of universal objects which do not follow fleeting trends and do not aim to provoke a superficial coup-de-foudre. They are designed to endure, to stay, adapting to their ever-changing surroundings and engaging their users in long-lasting relationships.
Founded in 2010, MOWO studio specializes in product design. Among their projects, those designed for bathroom spaces have gained the most acclaim and attention. The freestanding Jena bathtub with its inviting armchair-like shape is a multifunctional object that allows one to enjoy a long bath or a quick shower, as its high walls prevent water from spilling. On the other hand the Liva collection applies a similar simplicity of forms to enter into dialogue with traditional free-standing bathtubs, proposing a modern take by replacing the expected animal claws with sturdy yet simple rectangle legs.
The simplicity and subdued color palette used in all of the studio’s projects could verge on boring, yet the MoWo designers manage to escape this trap by applying unexpected materials and treating them in ever more surprising ways. With the Beza lampshade they invite users to have the final say and determine the ultimate shape of the object, in this case by using strings. A similar mechanism was used to manipulate the Bufa armchair. This time the designers decided to apply tailoring techniques to furniture, treating an armchair as a piece of clothing that needs a perfect pattern to turn into a well-tailored suit. Bufa is made of felt reinforced by additional layers. It also owes its inviting silhouette to a trick straight from the tailor’s workshop: pleating, which helps sculpt the armchair’s angles.
MOWO seeks to introduce elements of surprise to its products. Operating with a consistent color palette and clean shapes, they pick out details to act as conveyors of adventure. The Landor cupboard, a simple rectangular box raised on wooden supports, would be an unremarkable object if it were not for its unique doors. Irregular cuts further emphasized by their white color disrupt the smooth surface of this piece of furniture, introducing an irregular rhythm and adding aesthetic finesse to its otherwise heavy silhouette.
The MOWO designers find inspiration in nature, not only in terms of the materials they use but also in the way they translate this fascination into more literal forms. Their wooden Bobra robota (Beaver Work) stools are meant to resemble trunks half-eaten by beavers. The contrast between the sturdiness and smoothness of the seat and the thin silhouette of its support paired with its rough texture adds tension to the object, proving that MoWo studio, with all its drive towards the universal and the lasting, does not underestimate the power of wit.
Studio's website: mowo.pl
- 2013 - Top Design Award for Bufa
- 2012-2013 – nominated by Elle Decoration (Young Talent category)
- 2013 - Diament meblarstwa (Furniture Diamond) for A-1202 chair
- 2012 - Must Have Lodz Design Festival- honourable mention for Livia bathtub and Beza lamp
- 2011 - Must Have Lodz Design Festival for Jena bathtub
- 2011 - Reddot Design Award honourable mention for Jena bathtub
- 2012 - Salone del Mobile, Milan
- 2012 - DMY Design Festival Berlin
- 2011 - ISH Frankfurt
- 2011 - Design in Poland- Transition to Modernity, Geneva
Author: Agata Morka, December 2013