In her projects she places emphasis on naturalness and ecology. She mainly uses materials such as wood, wicker and fabrics. By designing she thinks about the entire product life cycle. Inspired by tradition, craftsmanship and local materials. She is a carpenter and a graduate of the faculties of Industrial Forms and Interior Design at the Academy of Fine Arts Jan Matejko in Krakow.
Hello Ewelina. Let’s start with what being a designer means to you.
Ewelina: My definition of the word keeps changing. Right now, I can say that it means conscious suggestion of solutions aimed to determine the immediate human environment. It also means noticing problems and suggesting products and services according to the changing needs and behaviours. Will this definition be the same one year from now? It’s hard to say.
Besides designing, you also like furniture renovation and carpentry. What is the root of such interests?
Ewelina: Back in college, I decided that I want to be a furniture expert. Before that, I only did some amateur woodworking, which really limited my designs. I signed up for a weekend carpentry course, which included furniture renovation classes. These classes were so interesting that I decided to continue my education even after graduation. Only then I started doing it professionally.
Tell us a little more about your work, about its most interesting and difficult aspects? What materials/technologies do you use and what do we need to know about them?
Ewelina: When I design, I like to use natural materials. I like to know the source of the given material, where it was made, where it grows, how it was processed. I hold cooperation with others – both manufacturers and other designers, with whom I can consult my ideas – in high regard. Back in college, I learned to take advantage of our national culture, old material processing methods, to be inspired by regional craft. To me, this is the most interesting part of the whole designing process.
You submitted the S'ploty furniture line to the make me! 2020 contest. What is the story behind this project and what is its message?
Ewelina: The S’ploty furniture line is a project, which opposes uncontrollable consumption and overproduction of non-recyclable waste, including mainly soft polyurethane foam, which is the most common material in upholstered seats. The biggest challenges also included restriction of synthetic veneer.
The furniture is also designed for purposes of long-term subscription-based furniture rental. These business principles are dictated by behaviours, which – according to research – will emerge gradually in the younger generations within the next dozen or so years.
The observation of my own work in scope of furniture renovation and the problems produced by production of excessive waste in the furniture manufacturing industry encouraged me to perform a market analysis. Since Poland is a leader on the global furniture market, both manufacturers and designers must recognise the need for utilisation of the products they make. Using only synthetic materials or materials strongly saturated with chemicals eliminates the option of their recycling and leads to more irreducible waste in landfills. The S’ploty line, which includes seats, a table, and a partition screen, is designed with a strong and durable beech structure and modular elements made of a natural material: wicker. This means that surfaces damaged in use can be quickly replaced and present no threat to the environment afterwards. This also means engagement of local small industries and craft businesses. The option of repairing furniture and using natural materials is a protest against furniture made of short-lived materials, which are the driving force behind the dangers of consumerism.
What were your general impressions when you were working on the project, what was your greatest challenge? Do you intend to continue it? Do you want to expand the concept of furniture designed for rent?
Ewelina: The biggest challenge of the project was the restriction I imposed on myself: use of only natural materials, which are available in Poland. I wanted my furniture to be environment-friendly. I didn’t want it to produce any more waste. If an element is damaged, it must be easy to repair or utilise.
What is your impression in scope of your involvement in the contest? Was participation in the final and make me! exhibition helpful?
Ewelina: ŁDF is a major event and a great opportunity to present your projects. Numerous designers, which I hold in high regard, were recognised with this award early in their careers. I hope that this bodes well for the future.
Could you tell us a little about our plans for the future? What are your current designing goals?
Ewelina: Right now I want to focus on the launch of production of the S’ploty furniture line. I also want to design more interior furniture elements involving wicker and braiding techniques. I want to demystify the material a little so it no longer brings only baskets or garden furniture to mind.
Thank you for the interview. We wish you all the best in the future!
photos: Ewelina Lekka
Here you can find more info about make me! finalists -> www.makeme.lodzdesign.com