Renata Kalarus, born in 1971, is one of the most recognisable contemporary Polish designers. She specialises in upholstered furniture, and her projects received several of the most important design awards in the world. She says about herself: stubborn and hot-headed.
She studied at Academy of Fine Arts in Kraków, at Industrial Design Department. She also received a scholarship at the Academy of Fine Arts in Ljubljana. She’s been designing from the late 1980s, and throughout the years she managed to work with absolute top of Polish furniture producers. Between 1998 and 2006 she was the head designer of IKER. For her she created several series of leisure sets, starting from an organic sofa KIWI, to minimalistic Martin with scaled-down armrests.
For another company, NOTI, she designed a sofa BIBIK or minimalistic Meltemi. The first has very distinctive, thick and comfortable armrests, while the latter strikes with the simplicity of its shape and delicate, steel supports. Her newest creations for NOTI are LCD+ from 2012 and LCD created 4 years later. These sofas and armchairs, which focus on achieving smooth, slick shapes, are set on light frames. One of her most successful projects, Comma, is a chair with a characteristic curve which reminds a, as the name suggests, comma. Kalarus engages here in a kind of play with contrasts: a thin seat contrasts with rather thick backrest, creating a chair which is both comfy and visually pleasing.
The designer is also in charge of a studio METAFORMA which designs furniture, as well as interior design equipment. For the studio she created an armchair CLUB, which is quite different than her LCD series. It relates to the tradition of club chairs, is quite heavy and bulky, yet at the same time really comfortable. It consists of two chunks, upholstered in vibrant orange, making it almost sculpture-like.
When asked which of her creations she likes best, Kalarus answers:
Well, it’s probably the Comma chair. It got many awards, among others extremely important red dot award honourable mention. In the course of 3 years it became an undisputed bestseller. I believe it is the most complete of my projects. However, the more you have, the more you want, so I’d really like my future projects to get to this level.
Selected exhibitions and awards:
2008 – PREMIERY_2008 exhibition of NOTI’s new furniture in Kraków
2007 – Henkel Award Prize in the Polish edition of the competition for Comma chair
2007 – DESIGNMAI 2007 presentation of the furniture of BIBIK LOFT and KIWI on an exhibition of Polish design Made in Poland in Kunstgewerbemuseum in Berlin
2006 – PRODECO 2006 badge awarded by the editorial team of ELLE Decoration for BIBIK LOFT sofa
2004 – exhibition Meble – Polska pasja tworzenia in Zamek Cieszyn
2004 – wxhibitions EU+ and Polka Design during DESIGNMAI festival in Berlin
2004 – Italian Design on Tour participation in an accompanying exhibition of Polish design. Warsaw
2002 – Dizajn! Dizajn! Presentation of KIWI furniture and GEOMETRIC rug during the exhibition of Polish design. BWA gallery, Bielsko-Biała
2001 – award for KIWI furniture in “Discovery of the year” in the competition Rzecz Doskonała 2000
1994 – nomination for the award for garden furniture at Designer Arts Biennale Krzesło 94 in Kraków
1994 – distinction for cutlery design in a competition organised by Gerlach