Showing that it can be done
With their work ‘Impositio’, Marta Sowińska and Monika Żaczkiewicz have won the first prize in 7R’s ‘Warehouse of art: Young art for the planet’ contest in the ergonomic seating category. Now they can tell us about the source of their inspiration, the ideas that lay at the heart of the work, and what they are guided by.
What was the main inspiration behind this project?
Marta Sowińska: We were inspired by the aesthetics of 7R as a company – the simple shapes, the industrial character. The field in which the company operates provided us with some fruitful ground for thinking about aesthetics.
Monika Żaczkiewicz: We also emphasised the crucial importance of ergonomics and the environment – and, above all, user comfort. Trapezoid angles have been incorporated into the design in line with ergonomic standards and selected so that the seats are comfortable in any arrangement. By far the most important aspect of the design is the ability to reposition its body. A lot of research has shown that this is clearly a key ergonomic need. ‘Impositio’ responds to different needs, making it possible to change the way you sit and adjust the form of the seat.
‘Impositio’ is a segmental project that, when reproduced, can be used to create many different arrangements. When selecting the materials, we found a compromise between durability and the environment. We focused on concrete, the production of which involves crushed, secondary material, and we gave its raw character a warm feel with wooden upholstery. The design uses a single mould – so it is also economical and avoids the unnecessary consumption of materials,
says Marta Sowińska.
Do nature and the environment play a significant role in your designs?
Monika Żaczkiewicz: Of course. With each project, we think about nature and the impact we have on the environment. At the Academy of Fine Arts, a great deal of attention is paid to such aspects. However, this poses challenges at the production stage. As designers, we can propose a specific material or technique that might be more environmentally-friendly. However, the decisions about which is used are made by the manufacturer. Also, environmentally-friendliness does not always go hand-in-hand with durability or ease of use.
Marta Sowińska: There are also additional costs involved in introducing techniques that make production more environmentally-friendly and products more durable. Artists and designers can help to raise environmental awareness by designing in an innovative way, thus demonstrating that such an approach is possible.
What projects are you currently working on? Which types of design do you enjoy the most?
Marta Sowińska: We are currently working on packaging and label designs. In the future, I would like to combine the knowledge I’ve gained from designing seats and packaging with biotech. I’m convinced that it is increasingly difficult to make huge changes to the technology we currently have. This state of affairs could be changed by those technologies under development and their future use in functional design.
Monika Żaczkiewicz: Yes, you have to show that something can be done. If new technology comes into general use, these items won’t have to be more expensive than those used today.
About Warehouse of Art
The 7R Warehouse of art ‘Young art for the planet’ competition was open to students and graduates of Warsaw’s Academy of Fine Arts. Its guiding motto was “Technology, Ecology, People, Coexistence”. The competition requirement was to create a project of utility art with an ecological theme in one of three categories: Ergonomic seating, murals on the side of a fire water tank and an ecological 7R gadget. In total, 26 entries were submitted. The awarded projects are available at 7rwarehouseofart.pl.