Poland has yet to achieve a reputation as a design mecca, but change is in the air. Since its entry into the European Union, the country has gained access to more educational opportunities and resources, and likewise, the EU is tapping the country's often cheaper production facilities. As part of Gdynia Design Days, Interior Design was live on the scene exploring the best design the sixth most populous member state of the EU has to offer. Here are five young Polish firms to keep an eye on.
1. Office for Design & Research
Born in France of Polish heritage, designer Maria Jeglinska spent much of her life traveling between the two countries. After founding her firm, Office for Design & Research, in London in 2010, she saw more recognition available in Warsaw, where she focuses on furnishings, lighting, everyday objects, and research and exhibition projects. Over the years, her pieces have been picked up by major brands, notably Ligne Roset, which produces her Circles occasional table. Most recently, Jeglinska launched Hotel Essentials, a carafe, glass set, tray, doorknob, shelf, wall-mounted mirror, and set of free-standing mirrors for Autor Rooms, a Warsaw-based design hotel.
Flexibility shines in Tabanda's signature plywood pieces. Founded in 2009 by Megi Malinowski, Tomek Kempa, and Filip Ludka, the design studio's breakout origami-inspired design for the birch plywood Diago chair earned international recognition. Recent products include the reversible Napka daybed (shelving switches from left to right) and the oak, birch plywood, and oak veneer Gapa desk with a powder-coated steel mounting surface (think magnets).
3. Studio 1:1
Known for retail design for global clients such as clothing chain Reserved, Studio 1:1 was established in 2001 in Gdansk. While the full-service design firm has years of custom furnishings under its belt, its first line of furnishings will debut at 100% Design in London this fall. Functionality is key, yet an element of whimsy emerges in pieces such as the Meso bench, which has adjustable upholstered elements or Tern, an oak bird inspired by migratory Baltic sea waterbirds with rolled wood elements and a rotating head.
4. Studio Rygalik
Head up by husband and wife team Tomek and Gosia Rygalik, Studio Rygalik was established in 2006 by Tomek; Gosia joined in 2012. Focusing on products and spaces, the firm's client list includes Moroso, Noti, Profim, Ideal Standard, Siemens, Heineken, and Ikea, among others. A clever concept of folding defines the extending Piano Hinge table, designed by Tomek for Tre, while his light and compact molded fleece Mamu chair for Noti has a flexible seat that adjusts to the moving body.
5. Studio Ganszyniec
A comprehensive approach drives Maja Ganszyniec, who founded Studio Ganszyniec in 2013 to tap skills ranging from product and furniture to brand design, consulting, and design strategy. The feminine curves of Ume armchair for Comforty draw from the Japanese notion of wabi-sabi—the acceptance of imperfection—while the Sprouter food grower in terracotta for Ikea's Användbar Collection encourages a literal back-to-the-roots approach to food.