Source: Gazeta Wyborcza of March 16th
Author: Dariusz Bartoszewicz
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You want to calm your nerves? Buy a tiny Palace of Culture made of latex. Squeeze it in your hand as much as you want. It will go back to its shape anyway. Results of a contest for a contemporary souvenir from Warsaw were announced on Thursday.
Warsaw City Hall, Boom Change Foundation and Academy of Visual Arts, who were the organisers, say that the most interesting designs will be sold as original Warsaw souvenirs. All of the entrants were students of the Applied Art Department of the academy.
– ‘We have received 27 entry-projects. Their level was good and even.’ – praised Jerzy Porębski, head of the Applied Arts Department and member of the jury.
Palace like frozen food
Most of the projects focussed of the Palace of Culture. It is said, that the weirdest design was a palace-shaped rocket filled with fireworks by Kacper Nurzyński. After you light the fuse, the Palace flies into the air (which the gathered could see on tape). The souvenir would be called “Goodbye Warsaw”. Although it hadn’t impressed the jury, as a similar idea had already been used in video clips.
The grand-prix went to Maja Kaczyńska, and her idea for gadgets made of latex – Palace of Culture, legendary Warszawa car and a simplified Warsaw Mermaid (symbol of the city, featured in its coat of arms). Each of those pressed and packed into a vacuum sealed see-through flat pack. The work is called “Uścisk” (squeeze or hug) and could be sent in an envelope as “hugs from Warsaw”.
– ‘First came the idea of a catchphrase’ – revealed Maja in an interview for “Gazeta Wyborcza”. – ‘Then I started to squeeze impatiently some advertising gadget. And it suddenly hit me. Latex is a very interesting material – you can do almost everything with it, and when you vaccum the air out, it decreases its volume and becomes flat’ – described the winner.
Asked why she had chosen the palace the symbol of Warsaw, she says without hesitation: – ‘because I love it, although its not very original as a motive’.
Ans then she revealed what she will do with the prize (1,500 zł, around 375 euro). – ‘I will buy shoes. I love shoes even more then the palace.’
Organisers were impressed with the “Squeeze/Hug”. – ‘Its so Warsaw… because in this city you can feel squeezed, its packed with yuppies who come here to make career and money. And suddenly comes the release, when you open the pack, and relaxation’ – laughs Bogna Świątkowska.
We gave a free rein to our imagination: how the energy of Warsaw is suddenly released. Boom! – and the communist skyscraper grows in our eyes. Fantastic.
– ‘We want to get those projects into production. Its a completely new approach to the capital. There are those souvenirs like mugs, umbrellas, or key rings with ‘Fell in love with Warsaw’ slogan, that sell very well abroad. We invented it. Energetic circles connected with contemporary art demand high artistic level of new souvenirs’ – said Monika Koniecka from City Hall’s Warsaw Promotion Office.
The audience bursted with laughter every few minutes during the presentation of the designs, as the young people thrive with witty ideas. Agnieszka Mikołajewska proposed colorful jelly candies in the shape of Palace of Culture. Marcela Kawka presented a sleeping bag reaching only to waist, shaped like mermaid’s tail. – ‘We put it on to warm up the feet and body’ – she encouraged. Izabela Cichecka proposed a set of computer icons and cursors, for example with the popular De Gaulle Roundabout Palm Tree. Thrid year student Vu Thu Thuy designed a postcard, which folds into a cube with a little hole, and if you look inside you can ‘see’ Warsaw by night: an outline of the Palace of Culture, Saint Cross Bridge, or The Great Theatre. Maria Róża Szczepańska came up with the idea of stickers in a form of tiny photo albums, featuring for example The Golden Duck.
The abovementioned were ex aequo awarded with second prize. The Boom Change Foundation handed its own awards to Miłosz Dąbrowski for washable tatoos, and Katarzyna Minasowicz for “Wawa view” – Warsaw’s blocks of flats as a pattern motive, that can be used on fabrics or notepad covers et caetera.
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