Wiktoria Szawiel

Ethereal, researched, and often luminous, Wiktoria Szawiel’s experimental furniture and homeware designs are a prime example of what is happening at the forefront of contemporary design today. This rising design star is on the watch list of international design curators, journalists, and collectors.

Polish designer Wiktoria Szawiel was born in Minsk in 1989 and obtained her BA in Product and Communication Design at the Academy of Fine Arts, Warsaw, before completing her MA in Contextual Design at the Design Academy Eindhoven in 2012. Based between Lisbon and Warsaw, Szawiel established her studio in 2015. She has a keen focus on materials and processes, which results in beautifully unexpected forms and textures.

Many of Szawiel’s ideas are rooted in the landscapes of memory—indeed, her Landscapes Within series stems from familiar recollections of her upbringing and the manner in which the experience of light, space, and atmosphere is perceived. Central to the execution of her ideas is her appreciation for contrasting materials, and she has a strong commitment to the combination of organic and artificial structural components. This results in designs that evoke the transient beauty of the natural environment by using precise rendering techniques objects that are barely there and yet substantial. 

Much of Szawiel’s work is suggestive of fleeting moments of light and atmosphere captured in a stable, solid form. Her Aura Vases, inspired by the Aurora Borealis, convey the shifting, fusing color gradations of the phenomenon, but their thick, irregular edges suggest the era-spanning longevity of archaeological finds. The Landscapes Within Coffee Table, meanwhile, is a structure of wicker immersed in resin, which has, in turn, been cut and sanded to reveal patterns of the rough, wayward strands.

Szawiel’s Landscapes Within project was nominated for both the Gijs Bakker Award and the Keep an Eye Grant and won the Architectural Digest Germany Award in the arts and crafts category (2015). Szawiel’s work has also been awarded by the German Design Council (2017) and has been exhibited at a range of locations, including Design Dialogue: Poland at the Museu Nacional do Conjunto Cultural da República, Brazil (2016), handiCRAFT: Traditional Skills in the Digital Age at MAK Vienna (2017) and, most recently, as part of Textura: A Polish Touch, organized by Adam Mickiewicz Institute for the 2018 London Design Fair.