Le département « Trade & Investment Promotion » de l’Ambassade de Pologne à Londres publie en ce début d’année un catalogue du Design polonais. La publication présente une sélection d’artistes contemporains de l’industrie polonaise de la création. Il met en avant les parcours, le travail et les inspirations de talents tels que Gosia Baczyńska, Tomasz Ossoliński et bien d’autres, cf. table des matières ci-dessous.

polish design

On retrouve notamment (page 98) le parcours de Tomasz Bagiński, auteur du court métrage « Katedra » que vous retrouverez ci-dessous. Il reçut en 2002 le Best Animated Short Award du prestigieux festival d’effets spéciaux SIGGRAPH et fut nominé pour un Oscar dans la catégorie Animated Short Film un an plus tard.

Extrait de la publication que vous trouverez en intégralité en suivant ce lien :

A Short History of Polish Design

Design is a major influence in our lives, shaping them on a daily basis. Everyday objects are witnesses of their own time, and so constitute a unique source of historical information. Like a mirror, they reflect times  of trouble and times of prosperity; they reveal not only the intellectual and manufacturing capacity, but also the values of the society which created them. While the Industrial Revolution was changing the face of 19th century Europe, Poland was divided up between Russia, Prussia, and Austria. Being subordinate to their interests, the partitioned country could not develop its own industry, and Polish cultural identity was under threat. The first attempt at creating a national style was made by Stanisław Witkiewicz. Inspired by the folk architecture and handicraft of the Podhale region, it was called the Zakopane Style. The style soon gained popularity and spread beyond the Zakopane area. It influenced artisans and found its expression both in architecture and small objects of everyday or ornamental use. It created patterns which could be adapted for serial production. The design of the twenties of the last century was dominated by two trends – the ornamental Art Deco, and a rational functionalism. An important highlight was the successful Polish début at the International Exposition of Modern Industrial and Decorative Art in Paris in 1925. The Polish Pavilion was designed by Józef Czajkowski and adorned with Zofia Stryjeńska’s hand painted panneaux, Józef Mehoffer’s stained glass windows, and Wojciech Jastrzębowski’s furniture. The Polish presentation was an embodiment of he idea of the integration of the arts. Stylistically, it represented a decorative national style combining folk inspirations with the language of geometry – Formism. The Roaring Twenties were indisputably a very important period in the history of design, giving birth to theories and ideas which were to have a lasting and profound influence. During the thirties, Polish design went from strength to strength. Many Polish products boasted excellent design, a significant number of them receiving international awards and distinctions. Ćmielów porcelain, table and toiletry glassware from the Niemen and Zawiercie glassworks, Marciniak brand lamps, the Sokół motorcycle, the Pm-36 steam engine, and the Łoś and Wicher airplanes are just some of the products worth mentioning. The objects of this time were influenced by an evolution of design taking place in the thirties – a shift from European Modernism to the American streamlined silhouette.

Another popular trend in this period was Regionalism. In the years 1929-1931, the Zameczek (Chateau) was built in Wisła as a residence for the Polish President, Ignacy Mościcki. This was the first time that a design for a complex of modern interiors intended for a head of state was created in Poland; it was unique not only on the national, but also on the European scale. The furnishings of the Zameczek – the furniture constructed from bent steel pipes, the lamps, the fabrics – are an outstanding example of visually pleasing, high quality design. The outbreak of the second world war put a complete halt to these developments. Post-war Poland found itself in a new geopolitical situation, within the sphere of influence of the USSR and under a centrally planned economic system. The industry was nationalised, and privately owned small businesses were gradually eliminated. Design became a topic of discussion in post-war Poland thanks to the active efforts of such people as Wanda Telakowska and Jerzy Sułtan.  They tried to find a place for design within the centrally planned economy, where it became an element of state-controlled cultural policy. The fifties brought significant change to design worldwide as new materials and technologies appeared.

After years of isolation, there arose a distinct need for the presence of fashion in everyday life, in lifestyle choices, and leisure activities, especially among the young. TheIron Curtain was pulled ajar, causing an explosion of creative activity directed towards the paradigm of modernity as derived from abstract art and organic design. These inspirations had a profound effect on Polish designers by introducing elements of typical Fifties style: organic forms, asymmetry, diagonal lines, compositions based on the shapes of A and X, and vivid colours. Ceramic design flourished, with organic forms dominating. In furniture design, organic forms were made possible thanks to the use of plywood and synthetics – the result of technological experiments conducted by the designers themselves, without support from industry. Free forms and soft lines also found their way into the design of machinery and various devices, as exemplified by the Osa scooter or the Syrena Sport car. Designers with an artistic background mainly concentrated on designing furniture, ceramics, and textiles. Many valuable designs were created in Poland at the time, due however to the faults restricting the system, these achievements were not developed or continued. The sixties, called in Poland “the small stabilisation”, witnessed an attempt to create a society interested more in the intellectual than in the material, but in hindsight were rather a period of economic stagnation. Many new products of Polish design appeared on the market, such as furniture, household appliances, machinery, and devices.

Modern Polish design of the sixties is represented by the Ramona radio, the Bambino record player, the Ewa radio set, and the ceramics and glassware created at the Institute of Industrial Design. Modular furniture became the rage of the decade, the most famous being the System MK designed by Bogusława and Czesław Kowalski. Produced in large quantities, successive models of this system were to be found in almost every Polish home. In 1970, the growing economic crisis in Poland led to workers’ protests, and eventually to changes in government. Backed by foreign capital, investments and consumption increased. Foreign loans were taken out to revitalise the economy and make Polish products competitive on the international market. Government investments included electronics, power engineering, the light industry, and the automotive sector; production and technology licences were purchased from Western countries (e.g. for the Fiat 126p) to enable the production of modern consumer goods. Enterprises such as OMEL (medical and optical industry), PONAR (industrial machinery and equipment), PREDOM (household appliances and sports accessories), UNITRA (electronics), ZREMB (construction machinery and equipment) flourished. However, an economy based on spending borrowed money and on a propaganda of success could not ultimately withstand confrontation with reality. A socio-economic crisis deepened throughout the second half of the decade. At the beginning of the eighties, the economic crisis coupled with the nation’s complete loss of trust in the government culminated in a complete breakdown of the political system. Civic liberties were restricted, cultural life went underground. Economic growth slowed down, industrial associations and design studios collapsed, an embargo was placed on raw materials, and the technological gap grew ever wider, while the lack of consumer goods on the market became so severe that design-related issues were put on the back burner. Design graduates could not find appropriate employment; many simply went into other jobs or emigrated. In 1989, Poland entered a period of system transformation as a nation and country.

A political and legal system based on parliamentary democracy was gradually set up. Industry was modernised step by step. Implementation of domestic design proved difficult, as the market was being filled by foreign products which were higher quality, more aesthetically pleasing, and often lower priced as well. Both art and design had to face these challenges. The same problems were also experienced by institutions dedicated to design, including universities. Syllabus changes were introduced and new faculties of design appeared. As the 21st century dawned, the government, media, and society still did not perceive design as an element of competitiveness and innovation, widely associating it with art. Nevertheless, increasing activity in the design sector didawaken social interest. Leaders of Polish industry and government finally realised that design can carry traditional values or help consolidate national identity while at the same being futureoriented and that it can also, quite simply, create revenue. Poland, a European Union member since 2004, could not help noticing the truth of this. The Ministry of the Economy developed the Innovative Economy Programme for the years 2007-2013, containing regulations advantageous to the development of design as an important factor of innovation. In 2000, the exhibition Rzeczpospolite – polskie wyroby 1899 – 1999 (The Commonwealths – Polish Products 1899 to 1999) was to become the first of many presenting Polish design to the world. In 2001, the Kraków-based foundation Rzecz Piękna released the first issue of their quarterly 2+3D, a professional Polish journal dedicated to design, which is still published today. The activity of the Śląski Zamek Sztuki i Przedsiębiorczości (Silesian Castle of Art and Enterprise) in Cieszyn was launched in 2005. Since 2006, the Castle has been organising competitions and exhibitions under the name Śląska Rzecz (A Silesian Thing). It also publishes a bulletin on design entitled I. Since 2006, the Institute of Industrial Design has undergone significant transformations. In 2009 it became the strategic advisory body for design companies and institutions. Among others, it runs the key project Zaprojektuj swój zysk – poprawa konkurencyjności przedsiębiorstw poprzez wzornictwo (Design your Profit – How Design Can Improve your Competitive Edge) co-financed from state funds within the framework of the Innovative Economy operational programme, as well as post-graduate studies in Design Management and research projects in the field of design and ergonomics; the Institute has also created an online Lexicon of Polish Designers – the first in Poland.

Additionally, it organises design exhibitions and competitions in Poland and abroad; it also continues the projects Dobry Wzór (Good Design) and Young Design (earlier known as Design Młodych – Design of the Young). Since 2008, the Institute has also organised the Gdynia Design Days, which are dedicated to the design of the Baltic states. This is the second, after the Łódź Design Festival launched in 2007, annual festival event organised. In 2009, they were joined by the Poznań-based Arena Design. At the 2010 Shanghai Expo, the Polish Agency for Enterprise Development invited the Institute of Industrial Design to present their exhibition Wartość dodana. Wzornictwo z Polski (Added Value. Design from Poland) as one of the events promoting the Polish economy. The Institute also presented a series of seminars on design management in Poland. Today, industrial design is taught at all Polish academies of fine arts, as well as at some technical universities and private institutions of higher education.

Sources: www.london.trade.gov.pl

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