With its pretty much self-explanatory name, Studio of Basic Design emphasizes on basic, clean, and elegant design for everyday objects. We spoke to founders and designers Katarzyna and Michał about what inspires and influences them as people and as designers.
Tell us a little bit about yourself and how Studio of Basic Design came to be.
We are both 25 and we come from Kraków, Poland. Currently, we are working on our master thesisin architecture at an university in the Netherlands. We came up with the idea of SoBD during ourexchange year in Munich, where we attended an inspiring course in furniture design. After several years of drawing buildings, which were never meant to be realised, we discovered that by designing everyday objects we can have a real influence on how our homes look like. We decided to makethings, which we often had difficulties to find in shops for ourselves: simple, practical, well-made, and timeless. Pieces, which might become a beautiful background for our quotidian routines.
What are some cultural touchstones you consider a part of who you are today? i.e.: what films, books, artists, places, etc., have been most influential in shaping you?
Munich was very influential. The city itself, Pinakotheken, and people presented to us a new aesthetics, which was based on the quality rather than quantity. At the university, we have met a charismatic duo of professors from Great Britain and Switzerland: Stephen Bates and BrunoKrucker, whose reflections on forms of dwelling are in the back of our heads till today. We had alsolived in Vienna, where we got familiar with the philosophy of Adolf Loos, which is about restraint,craft and sentimental value. At the same time we look up to role model couples such as: Charles andRay Eames or Zofia and Oskar Hansen.
What objects have been most significant to you lately?
An object, which accompanies us every day is a notebook. We need it for sketching the ideas that sometimes pop into our head in the least expected moment. At the same time we try to be well organized, so we produce pages of notes and to-do lists. One of our latest fascinations is ceramics. The whole production process is very beautiful and the end product can be pure poetry. We love the homogeneity of the material, the soft shape that comes from its properties and the compact size, which makes all the details matter. There is also an intriguing balance between the sculptural expression and utilitarian purpose.
Are there people you have in mind when you are designing your posters and notebooks?
We think about people who, just like us, praise the quality and like to keep things simple. There is a little alternative, especially on the Polish market, to trashy, flashy objects and impersonal, one-use furniture. We want to give it to people, who are ‘aware buyers’ looking for more information about ‘who, how and why’ made the product they are purchasing. By producing things locally in Poland we are able to control the quality during the production process and to keep the prices affordable.
Can you suggest three favorite spots in Krakow? food, outdoors, art, culture, etc. and what you like about them?
Kraków is full of small cafes and bars of different characters. Some of our favourites are bohemian style: Dym, next to the Main Square and Alchemia, in the Jewish quarter called Kazimierz. Both perfect places for a morning coffee with a newspaper or an evening out with friends. There are plenty of museums and galleries in the city, some of our favourites are: Szołayski House – with a great collection of Polish Art Nouveau art and furniture and Managgha Museum of Japanese Art and Technology, located at the riverside of Vistula river. For a quick bite we recommend a salad bar called Chimera with a shady and quiet winter garden, for dinner our choice would be Nolio with a delicious margherita from a wood fired oven.
One of our latest fascinations is ceramics. The whole production process is very beautiful and the end product can be pure poetry.
Describe a personal ritual.
In the evening, we usually take time off to read a book and drink a big cup of tea with music in the background. We also love to make ‘wisdom walks’, when we brainstorm about current designs and future goals.
What’s next for you, and how will minimalism play a role for you in the future?
In the next couple of weeks, we are going to present a new line of notebooks and planners. They come in a convenient size, simple covers and with extra smooth cream paper. In the near future we are planning to develop the ideas we have in wood and ceramics. Minimalism will play an important role because it helps us pay attention to the very essence of the items we design.
Make sure to check out Studio of Basic Design’s latest collection here.