The Swallow’s Tail studio plays with combinations. While using traditional carpentry techniques, the designers combine oak wood with walnut or bent plywood, thus creating delicately shaped yet surprisingly sturdy compositions.
Studio run by Magdalena Hubka and Piotr Grzybowski, specialising in furniture design.
The studio was born out of collaboration between two designers: Magdalena Hubka and Piotr Grzybowski. Both of them graduated from the Academy of Fine Arts in Wrocław, where Grzybowski studied Interior Design, and Hubka – Graphic Arts. They started working on Swallow’s Tail in 2012, releasing their first prototypes in the next year, while in 2014 the brand entered the market.
The studio specialises in furniture design. Their works include tables and sideboards, often inspired by the 1950s style, with its typical lightness of structure. The designers make references to traditional artisanal techniques, employing them in creating minimalist forms, but also working with the state-of-the-art technology. They are in charge of the entire process of producing their furniture, from the design phase to its manufacture. They attend to their products at each stage of their creation.
They often base their designs on the rule of contrast. The table MASIV OAK rests on a fragile construction of steel brackets. Their subtle shape puts extra emphasis on the bulky top. For each piece, the designers glue together raw oak boards into a unique combination, allowing them to freefall and thus form an uneven texture on the bottom of the wooden part.
Drawing inspiration from bridge forms, they created a table which is formally subtle but also functional in its stability. Its trapeze-shaped legs add to its lightness. The top, separated from the legs by light supports, seems to almost levitate above the rest of the construction. In the TAMAZO AIR version, where the top is made of transparent glass, the table top becomes even more dematerialised, bringing out the bottom of the structure.
Swallow’s Tail also design furniture for children, such as the SOPHIA crib. Its traditional structure includes mobile rungs, which allow it to grow together with the user – as a child gets older, the crib may be turned into a sofa. The LUNA cradle, made of HPL-veneered plywood, also alludes to traditional designs of such furniture pieces. In Swallow’s Tail's interpretation, however, the object is exceptionally light – their choice of colour emphasises the ephemerality of the project. Individual elements are joined together by heart-shaped stoppers, which provide the cradle with a cute, but not naïve character.
Their furniture pieces made of plywood carry a similar lightness. They are economically produced and covered with the HPL veneer, which increases their resistance to wear and tear. Formally, they are not very different from the solid wood ones, but they are much more mobile.
The studio's ST SIDEBOARD, which won the Must Have Award at the Łódź Design Festival, is a traditional product, in terms of the materials and techniques used, as well as its form. Its symmetrical composition, comprising side cabinets and a central panel with drawers, creates a harmonious piece of furniture. Even though it is made of solid oak wood, the sideboard retains Swallow’s Tail's trademark lightness, thanks to the use of supports which elevate the main body. Similarly, the countertop, resting on a thin platform, becomes separated from the main body, thus further removing the visual weight of the construction. The piece is bound together by dove tail joints – a reference to the studio's name – which locate it between tradition and modernity.
Selected awards and exhibitions
- 2016 iF Design Award, ST CALIPERS BD table
- 2015 Must Have, ŁÓDŹ DESIGN FESTIVAL for St Sideboard, large size
- 2015 Messe Frankfurt, Ambiente Fair
- 2015 Maison&Objet Paris
- 2015 exhibition NOW! design a vivre