Monday, July 9, 2012

Summer Yard Sale

As an aspiring designer, I find it heartening to see other creative-types emerging from their studios and actively creating opportunities to engage the wider public. In Krakow, they seem to be doing a great job of it. Similar to Targi Dizajnu, which I posted about a little while back, Yard Sale Cracow is organized 4 times a year by local artists to show and sell the fruits of their labor amidst a laid-back atmosphere complete with music, food and drinks.

This year's summer edition of Yard Sale Cracow was held in the outdoor courtyard of Betel Klub. Thanks to facebook, I did a better job identifying all the artists whose work is pictured, so you can check out their online stores too.

Some humorous decor by GarazShop

Wallets, pouches by Mybag and custom gear for your bike by Distanz Bikes

How cool (and patriotic) is this bike?

More waterproof accessories for your bike  /  Lego accessories for your self by Agabag

Pretty hand-painted cups by Magda Barcik, and coinpurses by Maua in the background

Colorful dolls and a whale-print tote by Miszko Maszko

Meanwhile, the bright colors and playfulness seemed to spill out onto the square (Plac Szczepański)...

Some hip rides

The obvious place to cool off

All images taken by me - Copyright 2012 CozyCity. Please cite if borrowed.
I wasn't able to identify all of the products shown in my photos. If you see your product, please let me know so I can tag you.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Kids on a Mission

... a mission to litter the street with flowers, while dolled up in festive traditional folk outfits.

These little girls were busily tossing flower petals from their tiny woven baskets, all part of a procession celebrating the feast of Corpus Christi this past Thursday (a national holiday in Poland - also the start of yet another long weekend). Just one of many such processions around Krakow, this one happened to be going straight through my neighborhood.

 I remember doing the same thing as a child, wearing a red flowered skirt and ornate velvet vest just like the one above - both were hand-sewn and embroidered by my grandmother. This outfit is specific to Krakow, while other cities and regions in Poland have their own unique styles and patterns. 

It's fun to be able to admire these little works of art 'in action' once a year, walking the streets proudly with their very important mission in mind. Perhaps the only time of year when littering is encouraged. 

Boys get to dress up too - a glimpse of the traditional 'Krakowiak', top left

All images taken by me - Copyright 2012 CozyCity. Please cite if borrowed.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

A Favorite View

Ulica Bracka, looking north towards the Ratusz- always a lovely sight in the evening

All images taken by me - Copyright 2012 CozyCity. Please cite if borrowed.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Design Crush : Nendo

Nendo is just the kind of design firm that I imagine must be loads of fun to work in. A combination of high productivity, creativity, simplicity, curiosity, and humor - all things that should be on any good designer's checklist.
Their mission statement speaks for itself:

     Giving people a small " ! " moment.
    There are so many small " ! " moments hidden in our everyday.

    But we don’t recognize them.
    and even when we do recognize them,we tend to unconsciously reset our
    minds and forget what we’ve seen.

    But we believe these small " ! " moments are what make our days so
    interesting, so rich.

    That’s why we want to reconstitute the everyday by collecting and
    reshaping them into something that’s easy to understand.

    We’d like the people who’ve encountered nendo’s designs to feel these
    small " ! " moments intuitively.

    That’s nendo’s job. 

And a well-done job it is turning out to be. Besides capturing those amusing " ! " moments, Nendo is also taking advantage of modern technologies and materials in interesting ways. Honestly, I had too much fun sifting through their various works, and it's hard to choose just a few favorites. Commencing hodgepodge of furniture, housewares, gadgets, interiors and exhibitions (really, there's quite a lot to choose from):

Clockwise from top left: maki lamp for Foscarini, press lamp for Lasvit, transparent lamp made with sight-protective film

dancing squares private exhibition

zabuton chair for Morosco, reinterpreting the form of a japanese futon mattress

notescape for Moleskine / dress-up vases / laquered paper 3D printed bowls
top-tea set with lid shaped to condense steam back into cup (lid toubles as spinning top)

oppopet wireless mouse for Elecom
data hook for Elecom / data clip for Elecom

hirata no boshi exhibition for work of milliner Hirata Akio

space design for Established&Sons @LDF exhibition, inspired by london fog

Interior design for Puma House Tokyo

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Woodblock and Linocut

Inspired by a recent visit to Krakow's Manngha Center for Japanese Art, I've been looking into woodcut and linocut printing techniques. The Manngha Center has a beautiful collection of original woodblock prints by both Hokusai and Hiroshige, two of Japan's most celebrated artists from the late 1700 / early 1800's. The center also hosts fun cultural and artistic workshops for all ages (during our visit we discovered a fantastic playroom hidden away in the basement).

It was my first time seeing an exhibition of woodblock artwork, and there were two things in particular that made an impression (pun intended). The first was the expressiveness of the tiny people portrayed in Hokusai's prints, how lively and dynamic they appeared. The second was Hiroshige's ability to evoke a mood in his prints based on weather conditions. A common motif in many of their prints is the ever-looming Mt. Fuji.

Katsushika Hokusai

Katsushika Hokusai

Hiroshige Ando

Each of these prints required multiple blocks (one for each color) to be carved with intricate precision.  
Printing with woodblock or linocut is limited to simple lines and limited tones, resulting in a textured graphic quality that's unique to the method - using wood instead of linoleum also adds the texture of the grain. Once the block is cut, it can produce hundreds of original copies. Modern prints are just as enticing, an affordable form of decorative artwork.

 Prints by Magprint  1 | 2 on a moleskin notebook

Clockwise from left: prints by Sadanobu, and thebigharumph 1, 2

Animal prints by annasee 1 | 2

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Krakow's Indie Market

Two weekends ago I (along with some friends from out of town) serendipitously stumbled upon 'Targi Dizajnu vol. 3', a sort of artisans market for independent Krakow-based designers.  Apparently this is a seasonal event, where mostly 20 to 30-something artists gather to showcase their various handmade wares, apparel, and accessories. The level of craftsmanship was pretty impressive, especially for some of the stylish hand-sewn purses and clothing items. It seemed like a lot of the designers are available for custom orders, and many are reachable through facebook if they don't have independent websites. A list of links to designers is available here.
A few of my photos from the event:

Upcycled bags by Trashki

Right: Jackets hung in background by Bosque


Plush critters by Entala

All images taken by me - Copyright 2012 CozyCity. Please cite if borrowed.
I wasn't able to identify all of the products shown in my photos. If you see your product, please let me know so I can tag you.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Out of the City (Part II)

To a winter wonderland

A pristine snowscape broken only by the forest animals - including three wolves following the trail not long before us

Near the peak, everything still frosted over, cold mountain air prevailing over bright sunlight

Skeletons of trees

A long-anticipated view over the Tatra mountains (from Schronisko PTTK, Turbacz)

A furry friend who also wishes to enjoy the view.

All images taken by me - Copyright 2012 CozyCity. Please cite if borrowed.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Out of the City (Part I)

To a quiet place

All images taken by me - Copyright 2012 CozyCity. Please cite if borrowed.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Color Blocking in Warsaw

I'm kicking off my coverage of Polish design with the fun, catchy interiors of MiTo: a cafe/bookstore/bistro/lounge/gallery/(whatever you want it to be, really) space located in the Mokotowie district of Warsaw.  

For a relatively small footprint, I'm impressed that they've fit in so many functions plus a wide assortment of seating options, while still maintaining plenty of breathing room. A clean white backdrop helps to visually enlarge the volume of the room, while black is used to define and partition sections. The rest is supersaturated, controlled chaos.

Though not exactly in line with my definition of 'cozy' (the whole place is probably best cleaned with a hose), there's still something so attractive about the space. Its bright, graphic quality is reminiscent of legoland or a comic strip. Makes you feel like a kid - a creative kid who's got stuff to do, and plenty of energy to do it (perhaps with some extra encouragement from that shiny espresso bar).

All images via domosfera.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Winter's End

On an early morning walk through the park, catching what was possibly one of the last frosts of the winter

Waiting in line at 8am for ... ?

An orange duet 

All images taken by me - Copyright 2012 CozyCity. Please cite if borrowed.