2000 POLAND AT THE MILLENIUM

Storms across Poland

HOPE

At the begging of the new era, there was more optimism in the country. A date was set to join the European Union. Some western countries opened their job markets to the new EU members. The economy in Poland was not great at the time, it was far from good. The exodus of young, educated, skilled workforce started after the 01 of May 2004. Few millions of people have left and settled across Western Europe. Money earned in euro by the young Poles was sent to Poland and invested in properties, land, new businesses or paying back the loans. Some did not want to integrate within the cultures they arrived to. Their main purpose in leaving the motherland was to earn cash and invest back home.

Polish sky, fresc in Gdańsk
Hall of the former Junior High School of the Polish School. The unveiling of the reproduced painting “Polish Sky”, which was destroyed by the Nazis

IRELAND

At the time I already have left Poland. I went to learn English in Ireland with a plan of staying there for 6 months instead I ended up staying in Dublin for the next 20 years. At the time I had no idea Ireland was going through an economic boom. My idea of the country before I arrived was very different from what I saw, I had a very romantic vision of the place.

Dublin resembled a mini version of London the megacity I visited a few years before. Everyone rushing with a head down to the ground. Fast driving cars through the O’Connel street as if it was a highway. Hectic lifestyle in a town with a smell of the sea and barley in the air and noisy seagulls sitting at the top of the buildings.

The Irish countryside appeared the way I imagined it. If you ever visit Ireland the coastline will not disappoint you. Travelling through, one gets the feeling the country exists off the ocean mercy, that decided to leave the piece of land above the water, creating a unique culture of jolly good fellows.

The Oracle at O’Connell St. Bridge, Dublin by Sean Hillen
The Oracle at O’Connell St. Bridge, Dublin by Sean Hillen

POLAND

Back then it was my holiday destination. In early summer the fields were covered with green crops or yellow patches with flowering rape. Ocean of food waiting to harvest. One of the greatest threats at the time to the common European market was the inflood of the cheap Polish food that was meant to take over European shelves in the supermarkets. The Western farmers would lose their livelihood, that was the propaganda at the time, but it has never happened. Today, the food in Polish supermarkets is as expensive as it is in the west despite much lower wages. One of the highest monthly expenses.

storm across Polish country side
storm across the Polish countryside

2005 is the year when the Polish Pope died. Something in the country has changed forever, we lost the moral backbone and until now the nation has no one to lean on. Today our stomachs are full, we live in nice houses, go on holidays, drive good cars. We are proper consumers the way we always wanted to be. Spend, spend, spend like if there was no tomorrow, indulging ourselves with short-lasting pleasures keeping up with Joneses.

There is a new generation rising, filled with the young integral Poles that are searching for authorities and values their grandparents fought for. Not realising, they become authorities themselves during their lifetime. The circle of life brings hope.

All images are linked to the sources.

Written by: Aleksandra Walkowska

POLISH DESIGN / 1930’s

Shoe workshop Kielman, Warsaw, Interwar period.

Hello, to all of you who follow my blog. At first, I would like to apologise for not posting for such a long time. My Mac has decided to say goodbye … or it’s hard-drive made the decision. I have tried to replace it with an SSD card but it behaved like a patient who did not recognise the heart transplant. The images I had prepared for my future posts are not available now, consequently, I had to change the flow of topic, from the interior design and architectural festival in Dublin to Polish design and its history. Hope you find it enjoyable!

GRANDPARENTS HOUSE OF THE 1930s STYLE

I am very sentimental when it comes to the interior design of my grandparent’s house, especially the living room. Their house was built and decorated in the late 1930s before the war in a style I deeply admire and respect. The elegant cut in fashion, refined strong lines in furniture design and in the architecture. My grandparent’s cottage in Greater Poland was built firm and compact, therefore, generation after generation will live in it comfortably. Every room had a ceramic oven that would warm up the place till the early morning, this technology must have been brought here by the Germans who were always very present in the West of Poland. In the living room, there was a wooden round table forever decorated with a hand made linen table cloth that was embroidered by my grandmother. Special plates and glasses were kept in a solid dark timber cabinet. Loud tick-tock coming from the clock on the wall, was a great reminder of the time passing by. Every so often the clock had to be manually set by the alfa male of the house, my grandfather. It was an important and responsible job, setting up the time machine. Time had a slightly different value back then. The reproduction of ‘The last supper’ by Leonarda da Vinci covered the wall were all family gatherings took place every Sunday.

Every item had its place, there was no room for unnecessary poor quality pieces. Well, back then most of the pieces of furniture were made by hand and once made they did not have to be replaced until the next generation grew up and took the lead. Funny how I find it enchanting when my mother calls it an old junk! Apparently, sixty years have to pass by before something becomes a collector’s piece. At first, it has to go through the journey of being kitsch then junk and so on until well-aged grandchildren will discover it again and call it classic. Those are my memories, unfortunately, I do not have any images to share … well, the war was not the time to take photographs.

Grandparents house in Greater Poland.
Grandparents house in Greater Poland.

POLISH DESIGN 1930s

I went through the few websites and found some well-constructed design pieces from the 1930s. Poland back then when was still a free country.
Chair 1930. XX w. Poland.
Chair 1930. XX w. Poland.
Serwis do kawy 'Płaski' lata 30. XX w proj. Bogdan Wendorf
Coffee service ‘Płaski’ 1930. XX w proj. Bogdan Wendorf
Ring. Interwar period. Poland.
Ring. Interwar period. Poland.
A bottle of beer from the Haberbusch and Schiele brewery.
A bottle of beer from the Haberbusch and Schiele brewery.
Sugar-bowl 'Kula' 1935. Proj. Julia Keilowa.
Sugar-bowl ‘Kula’ 1935. Proj. Julia Keilowa.
Shoe workshop Kielman, Warsaw, Interwar period.
Shoe workshop Kielman, Warsaw, Interwar period.
Polish steam train
Steam train Pm36-1 Beautiful Helen PKP, 1936. Speed 140k/h. Warsaw-Kraków, Warsaw-Łódz routes. Up till 1942 used by the German occupants, rumours say later on used in the Soviet Union.

Polish steam train 1936

All images are linked to the original source.

Written by: Aleksandra Walkowska

A. Walkowska

HISTORY AND THE EVOLUTION OF VISUAL MERCHANDISING

EVOLUTION OF VISUAL MERCHANDISING THROUGH THE HISTORY OF EUROPE AND AMERICA

  • THE FIRST AWARENESS OF SOPHISTICATED MARKETING TECHNIQUES, 1780
  • VICTORIAN STORE
  • Kansas, 1872
    Kansas, 1872
  • Soho, London, 1883
    Soho, London, 1883
  • LE BON MARCHE, PARIS, 1838
    LE BON MARCHE, PARIS, 1838
    THE ARRIVAL OF DEPARTMENT STORES
  • TECHNOLOGY ALLOWS DEPARTMENT STORES TO USE PLATE GLASS WINDOWS, MACY'S, NY, 1862
  • Paris, 1912
    Paris, 1912
    EUGENE ATGET DOCUMENTS PARISIAN WINDOWS LATER INSPIRATION FOR SURREALIST ARTISTS
  • Paris, 1912
    Paris, 1912
  • The customer is always right
    The customer is always right
    HARRY GORDON SELFRIDGE BRINGS RADICAL CHANGES TO THE MARKETING TECHNIQUES IN THE STORES, 1890
  • High Street, England, 1895
    High Street, England, 1895
  • Selfridges Store, 1909
    Selfridges Store, 1909
    REVOLUTIONARY METHODS OF DISPLAY AND MARKETING
  • Selfridge Store, London, 1909
    Selfridge Store, London, 1909
    SELFRIDGE MARKETING METHODS ARE SPREAD ACROSS EUROPE
  • Pierre Imans, 1920's
    Pierre Imans, 1920's
    LEADING MANNEQUINS MANUFACTURE
  • 1920's wedding dresses display
    1920's wedding dresses display
  • Berlin, 1925
    Berlin, 1925
    WERTHEIM DEPARTMENT STORE
  • WASHINGTON D.C. 1928
    WASHINGTON D.C. 1928
    WINDOW DISPLAY FOR ATWATER KENT RADIOS
  • MODERNISM MOVEMENT ARRIVED IN AMERICA, SAKS STORE, NY, 1929
    MODERNISM MOVEMENT ARRIVED IN AMERICA, SAKS STORE, NY, 1929
  • HOLLYWOOD GLAMOUR INFLUENCED WINDOW DISPLAY,  1920-1930's
    HOLLYWOOD GLAMOUR INFLUENCED WINDOW DISPLAY, 1920-1930's
  • 1930's
    1930's
    ELECTRICITY ALLOWED TO LIGHT UP WINDOWS AT NIGHT TIME
  • BONWIT TELLER COMMISSIONED SALVADOR DALI TO PRODUCE SERIES OF WINDOW DISPLAY, 1936
  • SALVADOR DALI WINDOW DESIGN, BONWIT TELLER, 1936
  • Berlin, Germany, 1933
    Berlin, Germany, 1933
    WWII - EUROPE IN CHAOS
  • 1950's Desirable Life Style
    1950's Desirable Life Style
    FUTURE HOMEMAKERS, STYLE EQUALS FUNCTION
  • New York, 1950's
    New York, 1950's
    AMERICAN INDUSTRIAL DESIGN CREATES MASS CONSUMPTION
  • ANDY WARHOL BRINGS FRESH IDEAS TO WINDOW DISPLAY, BONWIT TELLER, NY, 1961
  • ARTIST JASPER JOHN'S WORKS AS WINDOW DRESSER, BONWIT TELLER, NY
  • NEW CONCEPT - LIVE MODELS IN WINDOW DISPLAYS, 1970's
  • Biba Store, London, 1973
    Biba Store, London, 1973
  • 1980's Funk
    1980's Funk
    POSTMODERNISM, WINDOW DISPLAYS INFLUENCED BY ELECTRONICS
  • Late 1980's
    Late 1980's
  • Hermes, 1993
    Hermes, 1993
  • Hermes, 1995
    Hermes, 1995
  • Hermes, 1996
    Hermes, 1996
  • Hermes, 2002
    Hermes, 2002
  • Hermes, 2002
    Hermes, 2002
  • Hermes, 2002
    Hermes, 2002
  • Joseph Fashion
    Joseph Fashion
  • Aishti Christmas window
  • Ivy Moda
    Ivy Moda

Images linked to the original source click to find out more

The most creative period in the history of Visual Merchandising seems to be the early 20th century until the 1960’s in America, in Europe until the 1940’s. WWII created so much chaos there was no room for creative ideas.

The time when the skill of window design was at its lowest creative point happened between 1970’s-1990’s which is odd considering it was a very creative period in music, fashion and cinematography.

Technology had an impact from the early stages, at first, it was plate glass window then electricity, then air conditioning. Today internet stimulates the shopping experience and it is the greatest competition for the traditional form of retail. Early 2000 is the start of e.commerce. The competition forced many retailers to be very creative – again!

***

In my opinion, high street retail stores have not changed much since Mr Selfridge revolution. There has been nothing new added to make the experience more pleasurable or even adventures. Stores look the same, not even across the street but across the globe. No personality just globalised pure business in the same dated uniform.

Perfumery section at Selfridges, 1909
The jewellery sections of Selfridges, 1909
The jewellery sections of Selfridges, 1909

Even though I write about Visual Merchandising I personally do not really like traditional shopping (except Flea Markets) I find it a tiring and stressful experience. My reasons: some stores are just too big, there is too much to choose from (yes, that can be a problem), I do not like noise in general so I do not enjoy the loud music played. I have to walk up the stairs (when there is no escalator or lift) but I’m already walking through the streets from one store to another, so please do not make me walk even more. I’m tired I want to rest on a nice soft couch that is not here!

Well, I am big time e.commerce because I can shop online in the middle of the night in my pyjamas, I can drink a coffee while browsing, I do not have to rush to make a decision, I do not have to queue or move around disoriented shoppers. I can read the customer review or search through categories all that while listening to my favourite music.

It will be interesting to see how the traditional retailers and e.commerce will evolve in the future. Both still have plenty to work on as online shopping is very practical it does lack the creative side. There is no big window display where a potential customer could go… ‘Ah Cool’!

Joseph Fashion Christmas window in collaboration with Harlequin-Design 

     

Author: Walkowska Aleksndra

Additional note:
While doing my research I have noticed how much better the images were archived up till the 1960’s. Most of the images from that period have a date and place provided. Between 1960’s up till 2000 was hard to find well-archived images. It does get better after 2000 … A lesson learned – I will try to organise my images better too.

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