The Arts & Crafts movement was founded in England in 1888, in response to the Industrial Revolution. Its creators proclaimed the need to move away from industrial production in favour of handicraft, in order to provide a large number of people with functional and well-designed everyday items. Forty years later, Walter Gropius, the founder of the famous Bauhaus German art school, argued for creating a strong relationship between art and industry. Architects and artists saw in mass production an opportunity for high-quality products to enter the homes of ordinary people, thanks to their affordable prices resulting from standardisation and large-scale manufacturing. It was then that the idea of industrial design was born.
For years, Ceramika Paradyż has been standing out on the Polish market due to the commitment to responsible and sustainable development, as well as supporting creative communities. Paradyż is not only a patron of numerous cultural initiatives, such as Festiwal Designu in Łódź, but also invites artists to take part in direct collaboration. This is how the best projects that go down in history are created.
In 2019, Ceramika Paradyż started working with Maja Ganszyniec, a furniture, ceramics and utility items designer who, as she herself says, “believes in the idea of creating innovative, beautiful and user-friendly items”. Born in Silesia, she graduated in interior design at the Academy of Fine Arts in Cracow and then design at the prestigious Royal College of Art in London. She works with global companies and she always thinks about the items she designs in a large-scale context.
The collaboration with Ceramika Paradyż resulted in the creation of two collections, Modernizm (2019) and Neve Creative (2022). The first one goes back to the iconic little corsets, still present in numerous interwar tenements. They decorated entrance halls, corridors leading to apartments, and the bathrooms inside. The ceramic tiles with a characteristic indentation come from the Netherlands, but they became hugely popular in Poland. Designers used their durability and shape, creating sophisticated patterns and varied compositions. In many tenement houses that survived World War II, little corsets still serve the next generations of residents.
Fot. Studio Ganszyniec
The collection of contemporary little corsets designed by Maja Ganszyniec brought back to mass production a well-known pattern with a modern twist, adapted to the current technologies and the different way of laying tiles than that used in the interwar period. The idea and execution were recognised by the Institute of Industrial Design, and received the prestigious Good Design award (2020) for the best-designed products and services available on the Polish market. In addition, the collection received the Dobry Wzór dla Kultury (2020) award by the Minister of Culture and National Heritage, and the Bronze A’Design Award, recognised as a symbol of design excellence. Modernizm, on the other hand, was given the award for popularising traditional patterns, unfortunately frequently disappearing from the interiors for which they were designed during renovations. The popularisation-focused activities of Hanna Faryna-Paszkiewicz and Zuzanna Fruba, the authors of the book Warszawskie gorseciki zanikające (Warsaw little corsets disappearing), and the collection of Maja Ganszyniec’s tiles have certainly shone a favourable light on this interwar pattern and brought it back into fashion. Little corsets will perfectly fit not only the tenement houses subject to heritage conservator supervision, but also modern interiors.
After the huge success of little corsets, Studio Ganszyniec proposed a new collection for the portfolio of Ceramika Paradyż called Neve Creative, inspired by post-war modernism. The inspiration behind its creation was the redefinition of the forms of decoration known to us so far. You will not find a direct continuation of a specific pattern here; only a creative reference to the times when ceramics often decorated interiors. In the Polish People’s Republic, artistic and architectural activities were centralised and supported by the state. According to the regulations in force at that time, 10% of the area of newly constructed buildings was to be devoted to art, hence the close cooperation of architects with artists who were given entire façades and interior walls to decorate as they pleased. Frescoes, reliefs, mosaics, and bas-reliefs decorated public institutions, residential buildings, cafés and shops. They were made of various materials: broken plates, glass, pieces of ceramic found under rubble, pebbles or industrial waste.
The collection proposed by Maja Ganszyniec is based on simple shapes, squares and rectangles, and a limited range of colours, dominated by bright and saturated shades of white, green, beige and pink. The whole is complemented by grooved tiles that introduce a play of light and shadow into the interior. The artist perfectly selected the colours of the materials, harmonising with each other in various combinations. Thanks to this, a few types of standardised shapes and patterns offer you almost endless possibilities for creating your own compositions. Likewise with pre-war little corsets, where finding two identically laid floors is very difficult.
The need for cooperation between artists and companies operating on an industrial scale, proclaimed since the times of Bauhaus, has brought many iconic designs that have survived in many homes to this day, and are often sought after at flea markets and auctions. There are even modern replicas of some of them being produced, such as the famous 366 armchair by Józef Chierowski. We spend a lot of time at home, and the environment we live in and the items we surround ourselves with have an impact on the quality of our lives. Modernist architects were convinced that well-designed, durable, aesthetically pleasing and functional interiors increase the quality of an individual’s life. The two collections by Maja Ganszyniec, designed for Ceramika Paradyż, allow you to create user-friendly spaces employing locally manufactured materials.