Born in Warsaw in 1965, Paweł Grunert is a designer, creator of artistic furniture and sculptor. His furniture designs include a chair made of ivy, a chair with roots, a bed made of cereal, a table made of earth and a set of rocking stairs.
His furniture designs include a chair made of ivy, a chair with roots, a bed made of cereal, a table made of earth and a set of rocking stairs.
The objects he creates fall somewhere between sculpture and applied art. He uses natural materials such as branches, straw, earth, grass, hay, reeds and wood, but he also employs bricks, fabrics and metals. He has designed and created around two hundred sculptures, spatial arrangements and pieces of furniture.
Most of all, Grunert loves to create chairs. 'I dream of fields sown with chairs that grow just like grapevines in France', says the artist. Two of his chairs are growing in front of the entrance to the Modern Art Gallery at the Leon Wyczółkowski District Museum in Bydgoszcz. Chairs were also the topic of his diploma (gained with distinction), which was received from the Furniture Workshop at the Faculty of Interior Design in 1990. From 1990-1991 he worked as an assistant at this workshop and from 1993-1994 he was employed as an assistant at the Visual Forms workshop. He began exhibiting in 1988 when he participated in a group painting exhibition entitled Arsenal. He has a few large, individual exhibitions under his belt, including: Dom (House 1993), Obiekty (Objects 1995), Pokaz w fabryce (Show at a Factory 1997), Meblarium 1 (Furniturarium 1 2002), Galeria Opera (The Opera Gallery 2003). His sculptures, objects and unique items of furniture may be found in private collections, and in museums in Poland and abroad.
author of sculptures
a sculptor and designer
Although he does not consider himself an ecological designer, it was his butelkowiec (bottler) — a chaise longue made from used mineral water bottles — that became one of his most recognized pieces of furniture. The work was created for an exhibition at Edizioni Galleria Colombari, a Milan gallery with which Grunert collaborates. The title of the exposition was ECOTRANSPOP. 'I treated this project rather jokingly. At first I wanted to use empty Coca-Cola bottles but they didn’t fit my requirements as they didn’t have the necessary grip. It turned out that blue mineral water bottles were better,' says the artist.
Grunert uses unconventional methods of furniture design in seeking answers to the most important questions about design in general: Is there a line between sculpture and furniture? To what extent can a piece of furniture become a decoration? What is eco-furniture? Is functionalism a curse or is it the essence of a good project? How might the research of traditional furniture forms inspire the creation of new solutions?
For his designs he uses natural materials, putting them together in eye-catching and sometimes unexpected compositions. In his project DRZ6 from 2007 he tries to reinvent the concept of sliding doors. He enframes glass panels in hardened steel, weaving real tree branches into the glass. He plays on the idea of the translucent and the opaque, questioning traditional door functions. He lets the space in front of and behind the door interact, while at the same time dividing them with a delicate lace-like pattern created by the branches. Grunert enjoys working with steel, using this material for different purposes and achieving different goals: be it a lacy door or an intricate geometric staircase protector. He employs steel to a series of his fireplace designs, starting with a more traditional, cylindric shapes and experimenting towards more conceptual projects, like the one with a steel board leaning against the wall. Using acid resistant steel results in several exceptionally light pieces of furniture, be it a table with a massive glass top supported by a delicate steel leg or a hairy circular armchair mounted on a thin leg skeleton. Among his most courageous projects one finds seats: in his interpretations stools and chairs gain an almost surreal dimension. He plays with straw or wicker, bending them and weaving, letting them spring from the seat and act as seatbacks.
Paweł Grunert usually works alone because, as he puts it, he gets along very well with himself. Even though he has created a few hundred closets, tables and chairs, his works may more often be found in galleries rather than in stores. 'I never got involved with the furniture-making industry, which I regret. Not a single project of mine has ever been put into production'.
- • 1988 Group exhibition ARSENAŁ (ARSENAL), Warsaw (painting)
- • 1989 Group exhibition GRUPA 21 (GROUP 21), Recommendations, Warsaw (painting)
- • 1990 Group exhibition EXPRESSIVE STRUGGLE, Syracuse Chicago, USA
- • 1991 KREACJE WYOBRAŹNI (CREATIONS OF THE IMAGINATION), Institute of Industrial Design, Warsaw (painting, objects)
- • 1992 International Design Fair, Rouen, France
- • 1993 Individual exhibition DOM (HOUSE), Institute of Industrial Design, Warsaw
- • 1993 Bielska Jesień (Bielsko-Biała Autumn; honorary guest), BWA, Bielsko-Biała
- • 1994 Individual exhibition, Design Gallery, Wrocław
- • 1994 Group exhibition OIKOS, District Museum, Bydgoszcz
- • 1995 Competitive exhibition KRZESŁO ’94 (CHAIR ’94), BWA Kraków, IWP Warsaw
- • 1995 Individual exhibition OBIEKTY (OBJECTS), Centre for Contemporary Art Ujazdowski Castle, Warsaw
- • 1996 International Decorative Art Fair ABITARE IL TEMPO, Verona, exhibition organized by the Opera Gallery, Warsaw
- • 1997, 18th of December, POKAZ W STAREJ FABRYCE (SHOW AT THE OLD FACTORY), Warsaw, show organized by the Opera Gallery, Warsaw
- • 1997/98 Group exhibition ULAN – POLSKA SZTUKA DEKORACYJNA (ULAN – POLISH DECORATIVE ART.), Centre for Contemporary Art Ujazdowski Castle, Warsaw and Łódź, Poznań, Wrocław, Szczecin, Kraków, Prague in the Czech Republic
- • 1998 Group exhibition MISTRZ I UCZEŃ (MASTER AND APPRENTICE), Czartoryski Museum, Kraków, exhibition organized by the Opera Gallery, Warsaw
- • 1999 Colombari Gallery, Milan, Italy
- • 2000 Group exhibition IL DESIGN POLACCO DEL 2000, Cristiani Gallery, Turin, Italy
- • 2000 Group exhibition CHINA BLUE, Colombari Gallery, Milan, Italy
- • 2000/2001 group exhibition GET REAL, opening: ArtSway Gallery, Sway, Great Britain (objects)
- • 2001 (X-XI) Nationwide Polish exhibition SZTUKA PROJEKTOWANA 2001 (THE ART OF DESIGN 2001), The Gallery of the Plastic Artists’ House in Warsaw
- • 2002 Group exhibition ARTES APLICADAS POLACAS, Seville, Barcelona, Madrid, Spain, exhibition organized by the Opera Gallery, Warsaw
- • 2002 (III-VI) Individual exhibition MEBLARIUM 1 (FURNITURARIUM 1), Wohngalerie Elżbieta Zimmerman, Berlin
- • 2002 (VI-X) Group exhibition POLSKA SZTUKA PRZDMIOTU (POLISH OBJECT ART), Presidential Palace Gallery, Warsaw, exhibition organized by the Opera Gallery, Warsaw
- • 2003 (II) AMBIENTE fair, Frankfurt, Germany, participation together with the Opera Gallery, Warsaw
- • 2003 (6-9 V) Individual exhibition at the International Poznań Fair
- • 2003 (VI) Individual exhibition, Opera Gallery, Centre for Contemporary Art Ujazdowski Castle, Warsaw
- • 2003 (VI-IX) Group exhibition LA FORZA DELLE COSE (Tradizione Valdostana e Design), Chiesa san Lorenzo, Aosta, Italy
- • 2003 (X) Participation in the CORSO POLONIA presentation of Polish culture, Trajan’s Forum, Rome, exhibition organized by the Opera Gallery, Warsaw
- • 2003 (XI) Individual exhibition MEBLARIUM (FURNITURARIUM), Polesie Art. Centre, Łódź
- • 2003 (XII) Group exhibition, STOŁEK DLA KAŻDEGO (A STOOL FOR EVERYONE), Opera Gallery, Centre for Contemporary Art Ujazdowski Castle, Warsaw
- • 2004-2005 Group exhibition NATUR GANZ KUNST , Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe (opening), Hamburg, Germany
- • 2005 CONTEMPORARY TRENDS IN AVANGARDE DESIGN-ART, Edizioni Galleria Colombari, Salone del Mobile, Milan
- • 2006 (April, May) MEBLARIUM (FURNITURARIUM), Gliwice - Caro Villa, Individual exhibition
- • 2006 AVANTGARDE DESIGN-ART "THE REALM OF SPIRITS" , Edizioni Galleria Colombari, Salone del Mobile, Milan
- • 2007 May Design Series 2007, Wright20, Chicago (auction)
- • 2008 (October) Neumunster, Luxembourg, Polish Culture Festival, Opera Gallery
- • 2008 (October) Łódź Design 2008, PLAY& YOKE
- • 2009 (April) „ECOTRANSPOP" Edizioni Galleria Colombari, Milan
- 2011 (VIII-lX) Individual exhibition, Modern Art Gallery of the Leon Wyczółkowski District Museum in Bydgoszcz
- 2012 Edizioni Galleria Colombari, Mediolan
- 2012 "Materia Prima" Holon Museum of Design Izrael
- 2013 -(April ) Edizioni Galleria Colombari, Mediolan
- 2013 "Materia Prima" Litwa
- 2014 "Turna tra Arte e Design" Edizioni Galleria Colombari, Turyn
- • 1995 3rd award at the nationwide Polish KRZESŁO ’94 (CHAIR ’94) competition, object: Tron dla wiatru (A Throne for Wind)
- • 1996 Finalist at the International Furniture Competition Asahikawa ’95, Japan, object: Włosy ziemi (Earth’s Hair)
- • Title of the Designer of the Year 2002 given by the Polish edition of Elle and nomination for the international competition Elle Deco International Design Awards.
Author: Katarzyna Zacharska. Updated, July 2016, AM.