Beata Konarska is one half of the Konarska-Konarski studio, alongside husband Paweł Konarski. They are the couple behind the celebrated bar/design studio Pies Czy Suka (Dog or Bitch). Here Konarska tells the Insider about her inspirations, her work and the Polish world of design.
WI: What influenced you to get in to the world of design?
BK: I studied various areas of design and art, including graphic design, architecture and painting, so design and art have always been a natural environment for me and an integral part of my reality. I think the fact that we are dealing with artistic activities, mainly involving public space projects relating to my painting or site-specific installations, has had a major impact on our design.
How would you describe your style?
We like the abstract style of thinking in terms of design. We play around with moving things from one reality to another. The manifesto of Pies Czy Suka is to create interior and exterior revitalization, new incarnations of deceased objects, plastic surgery on all imperfect things, to take icons into new dimensions, and provide psychotherapy for incurably sick toys. Here impractical things become practical and practical things become impractical.
What products are your most succesful?
Our Madonna Lamp, “People Saints in Four Races” and our collection of “Domestic Animals” have enjoyed the greatest success. Now we are working on new products which will be available to everyone and be much easier to transport. We are planning to launch this new series in March.
Why did you decide to combine a bar with a design studio?
The design store was opened in December 2009, but after a year of struggles we realized it was a niche idea and were forced to close. Then in December 2011 we found a new location on Szpitalna. We opened the bar as a place where customers can enjoy first class cocktails created using the latest trends in mixology – it’s another continuation of our approach to space and design and we have the best bartenders/taste wizards in Poland. The bar is also a great venue for exhibitions and presentations related to the broad field of design.
The ‘What is your Sign?’ project uses the Polish symbol of the eagle in six different forms – with a crown, without a crown, with a bird on its head, with a Christian symbol, with the Star of David and with an Islamic crescent moon… We wanted to challenge the stereotypical image of the Pole being closed to anything foreign. The project is kind of our own personal battle against the stereotype of a purebred Polish-Catholic.
Design-wise Warsaw is getting some interesting work by upcoming designers – why do you think this is?
It’s all associated with the natural need for designers to show and sell their products. There is currently a strong trend for fashion design, and therefore more and more consumers are getting interested in this field. Unfortunately, interest is not always reflected by sales, so it is difficult for a lot of places to survive.
What other Polish design brands or designers should we look out for?
I really like the projects of Tomek Rygalik, Gang Design, Oskar Zięty, Jakub Szczęsny, Studio MOOMOO, Beton, and Malafor graphic design. Polish design is really seeing a renaissance at the moment and there is a really high level of design out there.