Jakub Szczęsny


backyard located at Szewska street, Wrocław /

Design gallery BWA Wrocław: Świdnicka street 2-4.


Kaja Pawełek


Forma Otwarta

A co-author of the Centrala designers’ task force, Jakub Szczęsny is still one of Poland’s few designers to go freely beyond the framework of architecture towards art and design. He uses that expanded scope as a testing ground for confrontations with the spatial, social and political contexts, as well as with scale, technical and administrative solutions. Each of his projects is a separate story involving a number of people: residents, clerks, coworkers, specialists, sponsors, allies, enthusiasts, sometimes artists. Designing is thus mostly about communicating, identifying the point of departure, collecting information, filtering, selecting, searching for one’s own ideas and inspirations, persuading, inspecting, waiting, sometimes developing, some other times – continuing to wait. Looking for solutions to specific problems, extreme starting conditions or experimental assumptions connects seemingly contradictory poles – the rational technological calculation and the pragmatic response to what probably only exists in imagination and remains a pure fantasy or temptation.

The documentations of projects presented at the exhibition mark several of the author’s areas of interest. There are temporary pavilions and display stands (Collector, Stretched Pavilion, Pchechong), examples of revitalized and re-identified places (Banksia Tower, Synchronisation) and of quality modernist architecture (Stacja Powiśle). We also present interactive installations relying on its users to achieve the final effect through play (Tamaguchi Park, Synchronizacja 2-Wyspa), as well as dwelling houses, including a most extraordinary hiding place for a writer – Keret House. Installations engage different senses (refreshing water, surprising microclimate) but at the same time they take on a deeper social and political dimension (water rationing in Israel, contamination of city rivers). All of the designer’s actions are preceded by research and accumulation of various kinds of knowledge – from history and facts, through anecdotes, gossip, first-hand information, associations to practical usages of places, cities and architecture. Each design process is based on the strategy and tactics constructed for a specific “populated area,” resembling a paramilitary operation: data collection, reconnaissance, intervention. Those actions, however, have nothing to do with an airdrop; they are rather an intelligent and suggestive operation carried out by a special agent of architectural secret service – devoid of any camouflage and the accompanying negotiations, arguments or the sense of being seduced by an incredibly attractive, albeit hardly rational, idea.