Ognisko Polskie is on 55 Exhibition Road in Brompton’s design district. The Polish Hearth Club, as it translates, was opened in 1940 to provide a meeting place for emigrants, both during the war and in the following decades, after a communist regime was installed in Poland. “If the spirit of pre-war Warsaw has survived anywhere it is in the rooms of the Ognisko Polskie,” wrote historian Norman Davies. Since then it has served as HQ for the promotion of Polish culture in the UK and was saved from sale by a vote of 80 ‘against’ to just 3 ‘for’ by the Polish community in 2012, underlining the importance of the role it still plays today.
And as if to prove the point, it played host to Young Creative Poland – 4 Years On during the London Design Festival.
In 2009 the Adam Mickiewicz Foundation and the Creative Project Foundation collaborated on the original Young Creative Poland, an exhibition of Poland’s new design talent during Polski!, a year-long initiative to promote Poland’s design and culture to the UK and beyond.
Fast forward four years and many of those rising stars have gone on to become globally recognized names. Miśka Miller-Lovegrove, Anna Pietrzyk-Simone and Kasia Jeżowska have curated Young Creative Poland – 4 Years On to bring the original designers back to the city that launched their careers and to introduce a new generation of talent to the world’s design community as they gather for the London Design Festival.
New designers are bringing a new energy to the Polish design scene, many of them fusing traditional craft techniques with modern technology, and pushing the boundaries of design disciplines to cross-fertilize ideas.
The exhibition includes 40 designers from product and graphic design, textiles and lighting, and street art and architecture backgrounds.
Highlights include Vzór’s production of the iconic RM58 armchair designed by Roman Modzelewski in 1958 – the prototype of which is in the V&A’s permanent collection. The armchair is being commercially produced using 21st century technology more than 50 years after it was designed.
Zieta Prozessdesign is an interdisciplinary studio established by Polish architect Oskar Zieta, which is working with experts across various different fields to stabilize sheet metal and create “fabulous forms.”
Oskar Zieta’s Plopp stools formed part of the original 2009 exhibition. The range now includes the Mini Stool, the Standard Stool and the Kitchen Stool and is Zieta Prozessdesign’s best seller.
As Design Consultant and Curator Jane Withers says: “It is great to see the spirit of exploration and creativity flourish and substantial designers emerging.” The importance of supporting new designers cannot be underestimated and here the results speak for themselves.
Full list of the participating designers: Agnieszka Bar, Beton, Stanisław Czarnocki + Jakub Marzoch, Aleksandra Gaca (Casalis), Paweł Grobelny, Maria Jeglińska (Ligne Roset & Kristoff), Jarosław Kozakiewicz, Jan Kochański (Delivie), Piotr Kuchciński (Noti), Krzysztof J. Łukasik, Jan Lutyk, Malafor, Bartek Mejor (Vista Alegre), Bartosz Mucha, Jeremi Nagrabecki, Joanna Rusin, Studio Rygalik (Moroso & Comforty), To Do, Bashko Trybek, Vzór, Tomasz Walenta (Kristoff), Zieta Prozessdesign, Mikołaj Wierszyłłowski (Noti), Edgar Bąk, Rafał Benedek, Fontarte, Homework, Karakter, Grzegorz Laszuk, Hipopotam Studio (Dwie Siostry), Mariusz Waras and Monika Zawadzki.
Our trip to the London Design Festival was supported by Airbnb.com.