1990’s THE WILD WEST IN POLAND

Solidarity movement poster with John Wayne as a cowboy

WILD WEST IN THE WILD EAST

The Round Table Agreement happened on the 5th of April in 1989. Today it is considered to be the last day of Communism in Poland, just in theory though as we found out many, many years later. Bunch of guys met at a round table, made some agreements, few deals and they called it the end of the evil era. Four hundred and fifty-two politicians were sitting around that table. The shape of it represented the wholeness, eternity and timelessness.

politicians meeting at the round table
The Round Table Agreement 1989, Warsaw, Poland

What goes around, goes around, goes around
Comes all the way back around …
(Justin Timberlake)

POST COMMUNIST ERA

Like after any other revolution, people here also naively believed in change for the better of course. Lech Wałęsa was selling the slogan of Poland becoming second Japan (at the time the fastest-growing economy). As you rightly guessed, that has not happened, yet. Despite the hope and ambition for wealth and prosperity, it was the very opposite for the common Polish citizens. The situation very much resembled the story in a great novel written by George Orwell ‘Animal farm’. Unemployment was growing, factories were closing down, Polish companies were sold to foreign investors. A month would not pass without street protests all over the country. People were looking back with nostalgia at the Communism times, saying; life was much better back than … at least it seemed like that for the most. Everyday life was slowly becoming more and more miserable.

Farmers_strike_Poland_1990
Farmers strike, Poland, 1990s

Not a single living ray
could break through the flood of clouds
chased by winds.
‘Ravens and crows will peck us’ by Stefan Żeromski

By 1991 the Soviet troops left Poland for good. At the same time, petty traders from the east came to Polish towns and filled the street markets with goods straight from the cold east. They were selling everything from; gold to kitchen tools, watches, furs, toys, even live bears … the diversity of the merchandising stock was endless. The eastern goods were transported in huge personal suitcases rather than international cargo containers.

Soviet_peaked_hat

Colour TV was becoming very popular at the time. Since there was no access to the firm electronic brands, most of the Polish homes had a Russian brand called Rubin – those TV’s tended to go on fire when heated up! Their popularity quickly was replaced with something of better quality.

People would believe in anything at the time. One of the most successful and quirky programs was a live session with a Russian healer Anatolij Kaszpirowski. The man had the power to heal people through the TV screen. Apparently. His slow, wearisome, tedious voice put most of the people asleep, especially the elderly once. He had the power to do that for sure! One, two, three and the viewer is snoring …

Anatolij_Kaszpirowski
Anatolij Kaszpirowski

AUTOMOBILE INDUSTRY

Italian cheap car brand Fiat quickly appeared on the market. The great exodus of the young Polish entrepreneurs hungry for the better, bigger engines took off to the West of Europe.

Italian_car_fiat_1990One thing that brings back positive recollections is the Jarocin summer music festival. The most uncommercial musical event of the times. The town is not far from where I come from.  Back then no one was selling today’s popular festival gadgets: ‘Been there, done that’ got the t-shirt.

The 90’s in Poland was the beginning of let’s call it capitalism but in a pretty wild version of it.

Polish_transport_invention_1990

All images are linked to the sources.

Written by: Aleksandra Walkowska

BRANDING IN POLAND 1980’s

WHAT WAS THE BRANDING LIKE?

Probably the greatest advertisement and pride of Poland in the 1980s was Zbigniew Boniek, the legend of Polish football, fast, red hair, humble man, striker of goals. At that time the concept of celebrity did not exist. Boniek on several occasions would admit that he did not feel comfortable in the inflated world of luxury.

Zbigniew-Boniek-football-1982
Zbigniew Boniek, 1982
Zbigniew Boniek
Zbigniew Boniek, recently

A world-class player is going to play a year or two and is set for the rest of his life. These exorbitant earnings are stupid. If all footballers earned 50 per cent less, they would play football the same way. Neither worse nor better.

***

An advertisement is said to be a leverage of trade, but back then there were no commercials neither was there anything to trade with. The packaging and the branding of products did not make them very appealing. It made one think that not much of an effort was put into the promotion of the products. Nevertheless, a very small amount of plastic used for packaging allowed for quicker disposal of garbage back then. Unlike today when recycling takes up quite a bit of a conscious effort.

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POLISH SWEETS

Polish sweets were delicious, there were no preservatives that can be traced in sweets today. In 1995, the Prince Polo package was changed, the bar was no longer wrapped in paper, but in plastic.

Chocolate bar Prince Polo
Chocolate bar Prince Polo 1980’s
Rebranded Prince Polo packaging
Rebranded Prince Polo packaging

WEDEL

The origins of the Wedel sweets factory dates back to 1851. In the tasteful interiors of the confectionery at Miodowa Street in Warsaw, Karol Wedel served his customers with drinking chocolate.

Wedel chocolate packaging 1980s
Wedel chocolate packaging 1980s
Wedel bitter chocolate packaging
Wedel bitter chocolate packaging

ŻYWIEC POLISH BEER

In between 1981-1990, there were 80 breweries in Poland, today there are over 300 breweries. The Polish brewing market is one of the fastest-growing branches of the economy. The technology of beer production is one of the highest in the world. Żywiec is a town in the south of Poland where Żywiec Brewery Museum can be found which tells the story of one of the most popular beers in Poland.

Żywiec beer 1945-1989
Żywiec bottled beer branding 1945-1989
Beer mat 1945-1989
Beer mat 1945-1989
Żywiec labelling before rebranding
Żywiec labelling before rebranding
Moderated Żywiec branding, 2010
Moderated Żywiec branding, 2010

The new can is the only one in Europe equipped with a thermo-active indicator reacting to temperature change. When the symbol of the Habsburg crown visible on the packaging turns blue it is a sign that Żywiec is perfectly chilled. The same indicator appears on the bottle.

POLISH BANKNOTES

The Polish currency also underwent rebranding after the overthrow of communism. Polish banknotes and passports have been designed by Andrzej Heidrich for the last 50 years. In the years 1970-1988 the fifty-zloty banknote captured an image of Karol Świerczewski a communist, serving the Red Army, who was falsely named a hero.

50 złoty banknote from 1980's
50 złoty banknote from the 1980s

After denomination in 1995, Polish banknotes were replaced with banknotes of Polish Kings. Today the fifty-zloty note features Kazimierz The Great, the last ruler of the Piast dynasty on the Polish throne. A thoughtful and ambitious ruler who introduced many reforms in the country. There is a saying that Kazimierz The Great; found Poland built out of wood but left it behind built off stones. The inspiration for the image is an engraving of Jan Matejko.

50 złoty banknote from the 2019
50 złoty banknote from 2019

Written by: Aleksandra Walkowska

A. Walkowska

OPEN HOUSE FESTIVAL 2016 / DUBLIN

The Brass Kitchen, Rathmaines, Dublin, Ireland, Airbnb

THE ARCHITECTS FESTIVAL

What is The Open House Festival?

Open House Dublin (OHD) is Ireland’s largest architecture festival, inviting all citizens to explore their city. It works through a simple but powerful idea: showcasing outstanding architecture for everyone to experience. Buildings that aren’t usually accessible to the public and buildings of architectural merit open their doors for one weekend, with architectural tours provided by expert guides (source click here).

 

 

In my opinion, it is the best festival/event taking place in Dublin. I have been looking forward to it with great enthusiasm every year and been attending the festival regularly. It is well organised, always with helpful volunteers offering catalogues for sale at every door, which are decorated with white balloons that help to spot the place easily. The viewers are broken into small groups and are guided by either an owner of the place, an architect involved in the project or a manager who runs the business or an institution. During the tour, the public can find out valuable information about the history of the place, the inspiration for the design, compromises and problems, which accrued during the creation process.

The houses inside are often a great surprise, featuring a clever architectural solution, original concept and skilled innovations. All followed by tasteful interior design often spiced up with recognizable pieces of furniture from the Bauhaus period or classic Scandinavian design.

 

THE BRASS & MARBLE KITCHEN

This is a house I have seen during The Open House Festival in 2016.  It is a three floors Victorian house located in South Dublin. The group I was in was guided by the Landlady of the house, who also mentioned that one floor was available for rent as Airbnb.

The pearl of the house is the brass kitchen which reflects the light and bounces off the golden glow. Marks on the surface work very well with the walls which reveal layers of different paints that previously decorated the space. The Landlady mentioned they did have an idea to paint the walls in a particular colour but after cleaning the walls they decided to leave it as it is. It adds a lot of character to the place while giving it a slightly rough, an unfished look which works very well with patterned white marble and very present brass featured around the house. All combined with the collection of odd chairs.

 

Even if at first the renovation process of the house appears unfished every single object in this house is very well thought through, creating balanced styling entirety. Huge applause to the Lady of the house!

The images were taken with my HTC mobile phone, the resolution could be better but surprisingly it worked pretty well.

THE BRASS KITCHEN

The Brass Kitchen, Rathmaines, Dublin, Ireland, Airbnb
The Brass Kitchen, Rathmines, Dublin, Ireland, Airbnb

The Brass Kitchen, Rathmaines, Dublin, Ireland, Airbnb

The Brass Kitchen, Rathmaines, Dublin, Ireland, Airbnb

The Brass Kitchen, Rathmaines, Dublin, Ireland, Airbnb

The Brass Kitchen, Rathmaines, Dublin, Ireland, Airbnb

THE BROWN KITCHEN

Open House Festival, Rathmaines, Dublin, Ireland, Airbnb
Open House Festival, Rathmines, Dublin, Ireland, Airbnb

Open House Festival, Rathmaines, Dublin, Ireland, Airbnb

Open House Festival, Rathmaines, Dublin, Ireland, Airbnb

Open House Festival, Rathmaines, Dublin, Ireland, Airbnb

Open House Festival, Rathmaines, Dublin, Ireland, Airbnb

Open House Festival, Rathmaines, Dublin, Ireland, Airbnb

THE FIREPLACE

Open House Festival, Rathmaines, Dublin, Ireland, Airbnb
Open House Festival, Rathmines, Dublin, Ireland, Airbnb

The Brass Kitchen, Rathmaines, Dublin, Ireland, Airbnb

Open House Festival, Rathmaines, Dublin, Ireland, Airbnb

Open House Festival, Rathmaines, Dublin, Ireland, Airbnb

Open House Festival, Rathmaines, Dublin, Ireland, Airbnb

Open House Festival, Rathmaines, Dublin, Ireland, Airbnb

THE WALL

Open House Festival, Rathmaines, Dublin, Ireland, Airbnb
Open House Festival, Rathmines, Dublin, Ireland, Airbnb

Open House Festival, Rathmaines, Dublin, Ireland, Airbnb

Open House Festival, Rathmaines, Dublin, Ireland,

Open House Festival, Rathmaines, Dublin, Ireland, Airbnb

Open House Festival, Rathmaines, Dublin, Ireland, Airbnb

Open House Festival, Rathmaines, Dublin, Ireland, Airbnb

Open House Festival, Rathmaines, Dublin, Ireland, Airbnb

Open House Festival, Rathmaines, Dublin, Ireland, Airbnb

THE CHAIR, SOFAS, SINK

Open House Festival, Rathmaines, Dublin, Ireland, Airbnb
Open House Festival, Rathmines, Dublin, Ireland, Airbnb

Open House Festival, Rathmaines, Dublin, Ireland, Airbnb

Open House Festival, Rathmaines, Dublin, Ireland, Airbnb

Open House Festival, Rathmaines, Dublin, Ireland, Airbnb

PLANTS & PATIO

Open House Festival, Rathmaines, Dublin, Ireland, Airbnb
Open House Festival, Rathmines, Dublin, Ireland, Airbnb

Open House Festival, Rathmaines, Dublin, Ireland, Airbnb

Written by: Aleksandra Walkowska

A. Walkowska

 

SENTIMENTAL DETAILS

Brass letterbox in Dublin, Ireland

THE DEVIL IN THE DOORS DETAIL

The details are not the details. They make the design.

Charles Eames~Architect&Furniture Designer

WHAT WILL BE REMEMBERED?

Recently I had to move out of a place where I spent a good few years of my life. The time has come and the change was needed. Time to make space for something new. Humans will get used to anything. We often find comfort in strange places and situations. Adaptation is the survival skill. The rescue and the trap.

What makes a place? What’s remembered? Smell, air, texture, light, sometimes sounds. The small details. The Edwardian house I had to move out from in Dublin had some hidden characteristics, original, historical details. Brass door handle, letterbox frame, door press that has not been working for a hundred years! The front door resembles an old tree where history reveals itself. Here it is a symbol of transformation. Passing from one place to another. From familiar to unknown. Physical and mental transformation. I was experimenting with angles in my short photo documentary. The stains on the brass door resemble blood and sweat dripping from a human body after hard work. The Victorian door knocker looks like a crucifix …

Is it just me seeing it?

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paper lamp in the mirror frame
Reflection of a paper lamp
Illy coffee bed corner
Illy Coffee tin on the shelf
messy bed
Messy bed
Notes on table
Notes on the table
Notes on table
Notes on the table
Window with a view
Window with a view

Written by: Aleksandra Walkowska

A. Walkowska

WELCOME TO WALKOWSKA DESIGN BLOG

walkowska design blog

Welcome to Walkowska Design Blog! First, I would like to thank you for visiting my blog and my first post. My name is Aleksandra/Alex/Ola, for those who have not visited my website, a few facts about me. I am a qualified Graphic Designer and Visual Merchandiser by profession. I am interested in design, in all it’s forms; graphic design, visual merchandising, fashion, interior design, gardening, window display, photography, music, movies and yes even cooking – as an art form.

As I do like to follow current affairs I may spice my posts with a hint of politics (!!) but only to social changes it brings, which later influence trends and design. Another little fact about me … I like being active and I would like to share with you some of my own experiences in trying out different activities. English is not my first language, my mother tongue is Polish and will translate all my post into Polish version of my blog.

This is the first post I am writing to you! It’s ain’t an easy task. I’m listening to Agnes Obel, Danish vocalist, and classical piano player … Her music and her voice is relaxing and eases up the process of writing.

In my next post, I will write about the importance of using recyclable materials.  And about recent Christmas window display in Galeries Lafayette, Paris.

 

Les Galeries Lafayette, Paris

   

Author: Walkowska Aleksandra

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