The Wzorowo design group was founded in 2009 by Agnieszka Bar, Karina Marusińska and Agnieszka Kajper. The name is derived from the words 'wzornictwo' (design) and 'wzorzec' (model) and is evocative of the language of communist Poland. The group is heavily inspired by everyday items from that period. The designers chose an 'illustrious student' plaque — awarded to top pupils during the communist era — as the company logo.
The Wzorowo design group was founded in 2009 and the name is derived from the words "wzornictwo" ("design") and "“wzorzec" ("model") and is evocative of the language of communist Poland.
The founders of Wzorowo are graduates of the Faculty of Ceramics and Glass at the Academy of Fine Arts in Wrocław. They have also studied at schools in the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Germany, France and Spain. As well as designing and creating, they also run numerous workshops. They employ various materials such as glass, earthenware and glass fragments, and frequently collaborate with Polish artisans.
The group debuted with a recycling project entitled Broken Glass Jar, a compact fluorescent lamp made from a jar filled with pieces of broken mirror and glass shards. The translucent glass jar gives the effect of a light-filled container. The designers salvaged this prized glass from wrecked bus stops, which the Wzorowo group also cleaned up in an attempt to counter the effects of mindless vandalism. Subsequent versions of the lamp used coloured glass and were made in collaboration with a workshop specialising in stained glass.
Initially, the designers worked separately. They later started working on joint projects, but refrained from stating the originator of the idea. Agnieszka Bar specializes in glass modelling using a burner. She uses borosilicate glass, a popular material for making laboratory equipment. In her projects she often employs test tubes, which she joins in various ways, for example to create bouquets (Group Vase, 2008).
Agnieszka Kajper creates individual pieces, such as drinking glasses deformed by heating them over gas burners (Pressed Glasses 2008). According to Kajper, it is more humane to create a less "perfect" object through individual acts of distortion.
Karina Marusińska on the other hand is the only member of the group who has had experience in the field of ceramics. She scours porcelain factories for leftover materials: defective plates, cups, vases and cup handles. Such elements become the starting points for her projects, which include cup handles joined to plastic bags (Uhoho, 2009) and suction cups connected to jars.
All three designers are fascinated by Polish traditions, folk art and with the communist era in Poland. They explain on their website:
We give life to objects which remind us of our youth (Kristal), which embody Polish tradition (Kluka), and those which serve everyday needs (Flip-hop). (www.wzorowo.com)
Kristal is a project that stems from the Reserved Surface series. The creation of this porcelain plate was inspired by the popular ersatz crystal glass vessels that passed for luxury in communist Poland. The plate has the symmetrical cuttings characteristic of crystal glass. The cuttings create a regular structure of recesses allowing for water or fat to drain from the served food. Kluka is a glass, semi-translucent bowl filled with hay. This object refers to the Polish tradition of spreading hay under the tablecloth on which one places bread. Each bowl is made individually from blown glass. Flip-hop is an improvised piece which looks at giving a new look to old objects. It was created during the Przetwory ("Products") recycling festival in 2010.
Wzorowo pays a great deal of attention to aesthetics. The group tries to make the most of the potential of any given material, which is why the designers participate in all stages of the technological process. Their projects lie somewhere between design and artistic creation. The designers interact with users through a play of references, by changing the expected function of the objects:
We aim our designs at people who expect something extra from objects, who like additional senses, who treat objects as toys and riddles, as things which require familiarization. Our designs are for people who look at themselves and the surrounding reality in a humorous light. We want our objects to be unique. If users feel emotional about their object, and the object serves them well, we consider that a success. People are influenced by such seemingly unimportant things as the plates they eat their breakfast from. Our pieces make humorous references to Polish culture and history. They remind us of where we come from, our present and past realities, and of possibilities for shaping reality. We fill our products with many meanings and values, and yet we try to be unpretentious and easy-going, so that the final effect is both fresh and functional. (www.wzorowo.com).
2012 - Nominations for Po-danie /Serving and Wyborowa in Progress, Art of Packaging competition
2011 - 5th award for Kalejdoskop /Kaleidoscope, 6th Snow Design Competition, Nakaya Ukichiro Museum, Japan
2011 - Nominations for Półwidoki /Half-Views and Konteksty/ Contexts which were created for the 4P – Pisarz, Poezja,Proza, Przestrzeń publiczna/4P – Penman, Poet, Prose, Public Space festival, Krakow
2010 - Nomination for the title Przetwór Roku (Product of the Year) for Lap Top Lady, PRODUCTS 5
2010 - Award of the Bielsko Biała County Administrative Office for Odbielski /Frombielski in the Project Arting competition
2010 - Award of the District Chamber of Commerce and Industry for Kle in the Project Arting competition
2012 - Participation in the Projekt Drzewo /Tree Project exhibition, Zamoyski Municipal Art Gallery, Zakopane
2010-2012 Participation in the Unpolished series of exhibitions, Centre for Design of the Croatian Chamber of Economy in Zagreb, Museum of Applied Art in Budapest, Museum für Angewandte Kunst in Cologne, Designer Days in Paris, Collective Location in Milan, CODE Design Fair in Copenhagen, Tuch + Technik Museum in Neumunster, DMY Design Festival in Berlin
2011 - Authorial project Zwierciadło /Mirror, Changes Festival, Copernicus Science Centre, Warsaw
2011 - Participation in the Etnoinspiracje/ Ethno-inspirations exhibition, National Museum, Gdańsk
2010 - Authorial project Fluoodpady/Fluodebris presented at the Łódź Design Festival
2010 - Participation in the exhibition Materia Prima, Bielska Gallery BWA, Bielsko Biała
2010 - Participation in the exhibition Lesser-Poland Thing, Ethnodesign Festival, Krakow
2009 - Authorial project Kaleidoscope presented at the Łódź Design Festival
Author: Katarzyna Zacharska, August 2013