Pretty is not enough

Warsaw Home & Contract fair is definitely a celebration of design. It is here that the finest Polish brands present themselves, and the designer-curated stands attract the viewers from their very first step. It turns out, however, that in the place characterized by a more than average density of great designer projects, simply designing a pretty stand is far from enough. In the quest for answers on how to create an exhibit that would instantly captivate the viewer, we spoke to the designer Maja Ganszyniec and the Lexavala duo – Paweł Zajiczek and Jakub Szkaradek.


Maja Ganszyniec and the extreme minimalism

Maja Ganszyniec is doubtlessly a designer guru in the fair world. For many years now the designer has impressed the viewers with her unorthodox approach, she also cares about the well-being of both the guests and people working at a stand. This year at the Warsaw Home fair there were as much as six exhibits of her own design. Especially popular was the minimalist stand of the Eurolight brand. The exhibit was hidden behind a mysterious curtain, and the interior itself startled the viewer with ubiquitous whiteness and simplicity. As Maja puts it, the exhibit above all else was supposed to express the brand’s spirit: “Impressed by the company’s philosophy I decided to collaborate with them. They oppose the use of improper, blazing light; the so called enlightenment. At its core the firm is about healthy and favorable light, not about lamps”. And adds: “A stand is always a means of communication, it is a manifesto of the brand’s philosophy – of its character. To visit it, is to experience a world which the brand wishes to create”.

oświetlenie Eurolight w sekcji Light na Warsaw Home & Contract
Eurolight brand’s stand (fot. Michał Mazur)

Extreme minimalism has proven to be a grand slam, and the Eurolight stand was one of the most photographed exhibits of Warsaw Home 2019. It is an essential aspect of design, as nowadays social media are a priority for many businesses. Thanks to a good design, a beautiful restaurant or bar can gain immense popularity, and consequently – attract clients. The same applies to the fair ecosystem. For many, Instagram hashtags and stories serve the role of a guide. As Maja admits, she also takes into consideration this aspect when designing stands for her clients: “While designing the space, I keep in mind that someone could pause and take a picture, thus the photogenic potential of a given setting is a significant factor. This phenomenon is responsible for increasing numbers of people appearing near the stand. It is a form of natural lure appearing in architecture for centuries”

Lexavala‘s unconventional role

The social media theme also emerged in the conversation with Nowy Sącz based Lexavala – a duo of Paweł Zajiczek and Jakub Szkaradek. They make elegant lamps, which thanks to the use of finest materials, precise craftsmanship and timeless design took the market by storm. In the case of Lexavala, however, social media as a source of inspiration played a rather unconventional role. “Today’s world is oversaturated with pictures. We look at thousands of images on social media and it is becoming harder and harder to be surprised by anything. That is why we wanted to create a story which would invoke emotions, one which could be received through all the senses” – says Jakub.

Lexavala w strefie na Warsaw Home & Contract (fot. Michał Mazur)
Lexavala’s stand (fot. Michał Mazur)

Looking at lamps created by the design duo, one may expect to see at the fair an exquisite, svelte stand. However, the designers decided to surprise their audience and instead creating a vision of ideal home they chose rawness. At the Lexavala stand at Warsaw Home 2019 brass and marble lamps were accompanied by cinder block stools, contrasted with hand embroidered cushions. A large table with top, made from broken marble pieces, was covered with moss and the guests were welcomed by a yellow plastic curtain with factory associations. Interestingly, not only the outlook of the curtain was intriguing but also its lemon grass smell. This was another element of surprise for the guests. “Designing our exhibition we knew that every exhibitor will want to show simply a nice home”, says Jakub. “For us it is not enough. We wanted our guest to enter the world of our story, to intrigue them”.

Perfect Imperfections

Lexavala duo also created “Perfect imperfections”, exhibition presented at the Label stand. Again the designers managed to take their audience by surprise. Installation consisting of a TV set, mobile “Twain” lamps and a handful of black sand was not only among the most presented in social media but also brought forth numerous questions from intrigued audience. The duo explains that they wanted to refer to the lamp production process itself. “Our perfect and beautiful objects are produced among polishing dust. Thus, we wanted to remind that objects distributed to svelte shops and elegant interiors are an end product of a toilsome and quite dirty production process”.

Label’s exhibition (fot. materiały prasowe Label)

The fair, as do all celebrations, comes to an end. What is left is an empty hall and plenty of waste. Fortunately, both in the case of stands designed by Studio Ganszyniec and the exhibits of Lexavala duo, the materials were given a second life. The ones from Ganszyniec stands were partially reused by several companies, whereas Profim and Flokk decided to hand over the materials to the students of the design faculty at the Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw. In turn, Paweł Zajiczek and Jakub Szkaradek of Lexavala gave the stand’s components to volunteers – in this way cinder blocks as well as marble fragments found a new home.

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Warsaw Home & Contract