50’s COMMUNISM AND THE COLORADO POTATO BEETLE

FSO Syrena Sport

Have you ever heard of ‘the potato beetle propaganda’ in the 1950’s?

So, here in Poland people were led to believe the nasty Americans dropped their potatoes beetles from their planes over East Germany and this invasion of the beetles, later on, spread to Poland too. These invaders had to be exterminated with Azotox, a very toxic detergent, which is more dangerous to the human body than the beetle itself (just an extra bit of protein on potatoes). Sounds a bit like the Irish Potatoes Famine, doesn’t it? Fortunately, here in Poland, it did not kill half of the population. The purpose of it was to distract the nation from the evil temptations of Western culture, the moral crisis and the wicked influence that it could have on the peaceful, idyllic Eastern Bloc. But, underneath the carpet, much more horrifying things were happening here, but secretly.

My mother at the time was a little girl and still remembers the aggressive insect attack, the smell of Azotox she had to spread on the American Colorado beetles that were creeping on the potatoes leaves. Apparently, older people have never seen those nasty insects before and without the extermination, there would be nothing left of the potatoes crop that year. I am left not knowing what to think. There is a bit of truth in every gossip, they say. Fake news and false flag operation is not a recent invention!

The 1950s in Eastern Europe was the period when Communism took a heavy toll on all. While listening to older people who lived through those difficult years I built certain images in my head. I am under the impression most of the time it was dark and very cold, people were frightened and very poor. After Stalin’s death in the 1953 very tight control of the information from the West loosened up. The New Style Look reached Poland in the mid-1950s followed by the desire for self-expression. Under the tragedy & comedy mask of Communism, interesting ideas started to appear in Polish design.

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Beauty every day for everyone. Good patterns of mass production are economic value. Good patterns are also cultural value ~ Wanda Telakowska

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At first, it was the engineers and constructors coming up with the new innovative design ideas. Later on, the industries started to employ young graduates from art schools. I have to admit, only recently through a Polish patriotic fashion brand ‘Red is Bad I found how cool some of those objects were. I believe I am one of many who is only now getting an education on creative Polish minds behind those designs. The new trend of Proud Poland has reached this land in recent years.

 


 

Cezary Nawrot – Polish industrial designer, a lecturer at the Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw and the creator of FSO Syrena Sport. Fans of motoring in Europe were delighted with this model. The body of the car was made of plastic, which was based on a self-supporting floor plate. Under the very low mask of the Syrena Sport, there was a prototype two-cylinder, four-stroke boxer engine developing the power of about 35 HP. The drive was moved to the front axle using a four-speed gearbox. The novelty was the hydraulic clutch drive and shift lever in the floor. Weighing about 700 kg, the coupe accelerated to a maximum speed of 110 km/h.

FSO Syrena Sport
FSO Syrena Sport

Although it was known from the very beginning that Syrena Sport is only a test platform of new solutions and technologies and that it will not enter the general production, it was not without pressure from the press and motoring enthusiasts to start even a short production series. The management of FSO was forced to end the work on Syrena Sport and to hide the only prototype.

The car, unfortunately, did not agree with the socialistic reality as an apparently it aroused the desire for the Western lifestyle. A dozen years later it was destroyed along with other projects to free the garage space. To this day, Syrena Sport is considered the most beautiful project of the Polish automotive industry. In 1962, the English showed the world the Triumph Spitfire model, which is reminiscent of Siren Sport. (source: bit.ly/2FNpKL9)

FSO Syrena Sport
FSO Syrena Sport

Instead of driving Syrena Sport, Polish roads were led by its ugly sister. Today, it is treated by cars lovers as a vintage automobile and often is used as a wedding car. Who would think! Whole fifty years later it got a new life! Through an appreciation of the present generation, it receives love, respect and dignity.

Syrena, Polish car designed in 1950s
Syrena, Polish car designed in the 1950s

POLISH DESIGN 1950’s

‘Furniture does not have to be attractive, formally expansive. Our life is rich enough not to complicate it with the forms of residential interiors’ ~ said Maria Chomentowska, an exceptional Polish furniture designer, creator of furniture icons for Polish design, the employee of the Institute of Industrial Design in the years 1951-1977. Chomentowska created about 200 design projects.

Char 'Spider' by Maria Chomentowska, 1956
Chair ‘Spider‘ by Maria Chomentowska, 1956
Chair 'Lungs' by Maria Chomentowska, 1956
Chair ‘Lungs’ by Maria Chomentowska, 1956

LUBOMIR TOMASZEWSKI

‘When I find twisted branches in a forest, I always have an impression that they talk about the battle with nature and life’s strength. My job is to add the rest of the story in the visual language~ Lubomir Tomaszewski, founder of Emotionalist Movement and remarkable Polish designer of the post-war period.

Designers such as Tomaszewski did not know the current work of foreign designers simply because they did not have access to it. They were aware of their ignorance of porcelain manufacturing technology and poor technical facilities in Polish factories. Knowing about these limitations, sculptors decided to experiment. Thanks to this, unique and original works could have been created. Everything was an experiment. Adventure with design began with small figures, individual forms were easier to enter into production than entire sets. In addition, the short series gave the opportunity to test the market and check the reaction to the product. Figures were to ensure financial liquidity, high sales were aimed at. (source: bit.ly/2CLo0kH)

 

 

Lubomir Tomaszewski, 'Camel', 1957
Lubomir Tomaszewski, ‘Camel’, 1957
Lubomir Tomaszewski, 'Roe deer', 1958
Lubomir Tomaszewski, ‘Roe deer’, 1958

 

‘PICASSY’ MIECZYSŁAW NARUSZEWICZ

Polish glass and ceramic designer, creator of original figurines that were remarkably expressive in their form and charming to their audience particularly his animal figurines, which offered an element of surrealism and surprise. Since 1958, Mieczyswław Naruszewicz together with Lubomir Tomaszewski were employed by Institute of Industrial Design. They worked on Ćmielów Figures sculptural ceramics created in Poland in between 1950-1960.

Mieczysław Naruszewicz, 'Panther', 1958
Mieczysław Naruszewicz, ‘Panther’, 1958
Mieczysław Naruszewicz, 'Żubr', 1957
Mieczysław Naruszewicz, ‘Żubr’, 1957
Mieczysław Naruszewicz, 'Turkey', 1956,
Mieczysław Naruszewicz, ‘Turkey’, 1956

All images are linked to the original sources.

Recommended pages to visit: desa.pl muzeumwarszawy.pl  culture.pl/en  meblostan.pl iwp.com.pl as.cmielow.com.pl

Author: Aleksandra Walkowska

TWITTER & AIRBNB HEADQUARTERS IN DUBLIN

Twitter Headquarter in Dublin, Ireland

Dublin is the place where many world companies have their headquarters in Europe. Over the years I had a chance to visit a few of them either through The Open House Festival or through friends who invited me for a lunch. Friends Lunch Invitation is one of the benefits offered to the employees of those companies. Inside there is always very good interior design which follows the company branding and the philosophy of the business. Canteens and dining rooms are usually the most attractive. Not to mention the food which is absolutely de-li-cious, served with a lot of love and care.

TWITTER

In Twitter dominates wooden texture, black, blue and white colour. I was wondering why the wood is an important element of the interior design? I think I found the answer – birds twit while resting on the trees! That must be the connection to the wood.

Twitter Headquarter in Dublin, Ireland
Twitter Headquarter in Dublin, Ireland

Twitter Headquarter in Dublin, Ireland

Twitter Headquarter in Dublin, Ireland

Twitter Headquarter in Dublin, Ireland

Twitter Headquarter in Dublin, Ireland

Twitter Headquarter in Dublin, Ireland

Twitter Headquarter in Dublin, Ireland

Twitter Headquarter in Dublin, IrelandWooden floor in the dining room

I was lucky to visit Airbnb through The Open House Festival and get a little tour of the place. Airbnb brings the idea of travelling also into their working space. Every day a team of employees will choose to work in a different area and at a different desk. Therefore one does not get attached to their own working space. Keep on moving! Keep on travelling! That’s the idea behind it. There is always a space provided for small personal belongings, but it is kept minimalistic. The main meeting place is built like an old Greek amphitheatre where the sound travels perfectly and the screen presentation is visible to everybody.

The location of Airbnb in Dublin is an attractive one too. Located at The Grand Canal Dock just beside The Marker Hotel and many different coffee shops, pubs and restaurants. It is a spot where the cold Irish Sea meets the apartment blocks providing an interesting space to relax.

Airbnb Headquarter in Dublin, Ireland
Airbnb Headquarter in Dublin, Ireland

Airbnb Headquarter in Dublin, Ireland

Airbnb Headquarter in Dublin, Ireland

Airbnb Headquarter in Dublin, Ireland

Airbnb Headquarter in Dublin, Ireland

Airbnb Headquarter in Dublin, Ireland

Airbnb Headquarter in Dublin, Ireland

Airbnb Headquarter in Dublin, Ireland

Airbnb Headquarter in Dublin, Ireland

The Grand Canal Dock, Dublin, Ireland

 

More on a few Dublin’s headquarters in my next post.

Author: Aleksandra Walkowska

CHINA, CHINA, CHINA

Origami roosters celebrating Year of a Rooster 2017

Everybody talks about China. How much do I know about China? What are the first associations I have with the country?

It is a big piece of land with an old history and a massive world population. They love their food and they live to work. The country had its cultural revolution under the leadership of Mao Zedong where the traditional art, craft and literature had to be destroyed to create a new, equal society. So far, for years anything that was ‘Made in China’ meant poor quality and mass production. It’s kind of still the case … Today everyone wants to trade with China, some even see the country as an economic and military threat.

I really wasn’t sure will I have enough to write about before I started my research on Chinese design. How wrong was I! Seems, I have found material for a string of posts.

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Ai WeiWei is Chinese most famous, provocative, contemporary, multidisciplinary artist and an activist. The guy is a living legend, went through a lot of hardship dealing with Chinese authorities. His work reflects on social issues with an emphasis on violations of human rights. He has a great compassion to most vulnerable people.

Ai WeiWei during an exhibition in Le Bon Marche, Paris
Ai WeiWei during an exhibition in Le Bon Marche, Paris

 

Le Bon Marche department store in Paris, featured in January 2016, Ai WeiWei exhibition called ‘Child’s Play’ a creation of mythological creatures using an old technique that involves stretching silk or paper over bamboo frames. The exhibition was inspired by Chinese antiquity legends and fairy tales, written by Shan Hai Jing.

Sadly, the artist could not read the stories as a child as it was totally forbidden at the time in China. During Mao Zedong ruling the intellectual property had to be destroyed with an idea of creating a different society. Society cut off from the past, roots, traditions, arts and crafts.

‘CHILD’S PLAY’ EXHIBITION

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‘LAUNDROMAT’ EXHIBITION

The exhibition features refugees clothes and shoes collected on the shore of Greece. Clothes are presented in a desirable way,  placed in a trendy store created by Ai WeiWie. Wall is covered with images of refugees gathered from social media.

Ai Weiwei: Laundromat at Deitch Projects

Ai Weiwei: Laundromat at Deitch Projects

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Author: Walkowska Aleksndra

All images and videos used in this post are linked to the original source. Click to find out more.

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THE ARCHITECTURE OF DUBLIN

Dublin-architecture

LOOK UP AT THE ARCHITECTURE OF DUBLIN

Only recently I started to pay more attention to the Dublin’s architecture and the facades of the buildings even though I have been living here for many years now. It is hard to keep the head up when walking through Dublin’s streets as they are very active and busy most of the time. When in town we all have to pay more attention to what’s in front of us rather than what’s above us.

Heads up when in Dublin!

 

 

Author: Walkowska Aleksndra

GALERIES LAFAYETTE PAPER CHRISTMAS DISPLAY

Les Galeries Lafayette sustainable arctic window display

Galeries Lafayette store in Paris was opened to the public in 1912. Long tradition, long history, Art Nouveau decorations made the store the second tourist attraction after the Eiffel Tower. It is a family business for the last five generations. The business survived through some very troubled times over the last century, from wars to financial crises.

French actress Audrey Tautou opened the Christmas window display in the flagship store Galeries Lafayette on Nov 9th, 2016. The theme was directed by Luc Jacquet is best known for March of the Penguins, Oscar-winning nature documentary in 2006.

Galeries Lafayette paper Christmas display tells a story of a polar bear family. The entire display including bears is made out of paper the most sustainable material on the planet, created by multidisciplinary artist Lorenzo Papace.

Due to climate change and melting icebergs, a family of polar bears has to leave their native homeland in search of a new place. They are forced to migrate. After travelling for miles across the world, leaving behind the North Pole, they finally find a new place covered in ice and snow, a place they are very safe and comfortable in. The snow land is made especially for them by Galeries Lafayette where the family of vulnerable bears finds a shelter. The magical adventure begins! The bears and the public viewers can enjoy the breathtaking paper display through the Christmas season. The bears are playing, dancing, jumping into the ice inside the store and in the arctic windows. Before they head back to the Arctica.
What kind of environmental damage awaits them there?

A child would ask an infantile question:
– Could they not stay longer or maybe even forever?
– Unfortunately, it is not their natural environment. They can only survive in the Arctic if we take care of the climate if we stop polluting the world if we stop the emission of carbon dioxide if we stop using plastic and other toxic materials.

All generations of humans are responsible for the family of polar bears, as well as any other species, including ourselves. This is the hidden message of the remarkable Christmas display, created in co-operation with Wild-Touch NGO organization which aims to bring more attention to the world on the environment in order to protect our planet.

Unfortunately, our new world leaders are trying to ignore the climate change issue, calling it Chinese hoax. Hopefully, those negative words will only have the very opposite reaction to the public view. More stores and brands should follow the path of Galeries Lafayette in Paris and their involvement in environmental changes where the aim is to raise an awareness of the final consumer.

Making of GALERIES LAFAYETTE Christmas 2016 from Lorenzo Papace on Vimeo.

 

Galeries Lafayette logo

 

Author: Walkowska Aleksndra

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