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"Adequacy is important in design" - Maja Ganszyniec, chairwoman of the Paradyż Designers competition jury

10 of December '22

The second edition of the Paradyż Designers competition for architects, designers and architecture students for the best interior design with the Neve Creative collection by Paradyż Ceramics is underway. What sustainable design is all about, why it's worth taking part in creative competitions, and what the jurors will pay attention to, says the chairwoman of the competition jury, Maja Ganszyniec, author of the Neve Creative collection.

Kolekcja płytek Neve Creative Beige by Maja Ganszyniec Maja Ganszyniec

Maja Ganszyniec

Photo: Tomasz Kuczma

Interview with Maja Ganszyniec

Why did you decide to take the lead in the Paradyż Designers competition?

Maja Ganszyniec: I was invited to join the jury of the competition based on the design of our studio, I am the chairman of the team that will evaluate the works, but I see this function as rather symbolic. The deliberations of each jury are an intense dialogue, often with a downright stormy course, the verdict is always the developed position of the whole group of specialists, not the wish of an individual. I am curious about the discussions over the works and the different perspectives of how diverse the jury is.

How does it feel when the subject of the competition task is your own original collection?

Maja: It's exciting and very positive, because we worked on the collection with the goal of creating a tool for female designers. It was intended to be a collection of elements for building different moods, functionalities on their own, such building blocks to play with. This differentiates this project from, for example, the design of an armchair, which is inserted as a ready-made element in the interior. Neve Creative allows the entire interior to prepare, outline its character and then complement it with other closed forms. And what this character will be depends on the individual creator, customer, investor.

Kolekcja płytek Neve Creative Bianco by Maja Ganszyniec

Neve Creative Bianco by Maja Ganszyniec tile collection.

© Ceramika Paradyż

What is the strength and creative potential of the Neve collection that contestants can use?

Maja: The individual tiles were implemented with the idea of how they would function in a set with other elements of the collection. We have a lot of planned synergies there: you can mix the tiles on the level of their geometry - small and larger squares, rectangles - you can put them all together at will to create different rhythms. The second aspect is color - here we have a synergy of colors, you can juxtapose neutral tones with warm colors, for example, beiges with pinks, cool tones with cool tones, such as grays with blues. We also have synergy within dark tones, similarly within light ones. You can also juxtapose light green with dark, etc. We wanted to create a set of elements in which each has its own distinct and different character - hence the different textures, but developed in such a way that this set is easy to use, so that the formats and colors work together to create a coherent, pleasant story.

What will the jury pay attention to when evaluating the works?

Maja: For me, relevance is important in design. It' s important to choose the right means of expression for the context. You can build interiors that are strongly unusual, non-standard solutions are certainly an interesting procedure. But it is important to put them in the right functional and stylistic context. Shocking for the sake of shocking is not a value. Sometimes the calmest, minimalist design that is perfectly balanced can be a stronger and therefore winning proposition. I am very curious to see what strategies the participants will adopt.

Kolekcja płytek Neve Creative by Maja Ganszyniec

Neve Creative by Maja Ganszyniec tile collection.

© Ceramika Paradyż

From your perspective, what are the benefits for architects and designers of participating in a competition like Paradyż Designers?

Maja: From my experience, I can say that there are three dimensions - of course, especially at a very early stage of my career, the material dimension of awards is extremely important. I used to buy software or a better computer for my first awards. There is also the aspect of building recognition, because competitions are platforms for communication, an opportunity to show your creative sensibility to a wider audience. There is also a personal dimension - there is no creator without a recipient. Winning a contest is confirmation that what we offer to the world is recognized and accepted. This is important. But let's remember that contests always have their specific conditions, sometimes a weaker work will win because the competition is small, sometimes a great work will be lost because it is difficult to choose from an excess of strong projects.

How do you assess the credibility of a competition and choose one worth participating in?

Maja: There are plenty of contests to choose from today, I think both professionals and enthusiasts will find something for themselves.

What does contemporary design mean to you?

Maja: There is a lot of talk about the responsibility of designers in the face of climate change caused by overproduction. It's important to remember that we won't make any changes until the attitudes of three groups change: consumers, producers and designers. Of course, designers have a huge influence on how a product will look, and I think everyone tries to practice the profession responsibly and create products that are durable in materials and style. But often short-lived trends are the cause of a product that is easy to sell. And what happens to it "after the season" is unfortunately not taken into account. We will all be drowning under these seasonal junk products in the future. Consumers have, in my opinion, potentially the greatest influence on production. You don't produce things that don't sell.

Kolekcja ceramiki Paradyż

Neve Creative by Maja Ganszyniec tile collection.

© Ceramika Paradyż

The issue of sustainability is extremely important today, also in the world of design. What is the role of designers in realizing this idea?

Maja: As I said before, we can, when designing, propose a shift from a linear to a circular production model. Not to reach for natural raw materials where it is not necessary. Replace them with raw materials from processed products that have fallen out of use. For example, a chair structure can be made from a broken car bumper. And vice versa. This is certainly the most important trend for me in mass production. On the other hand, where we go for natural materials -wood or ceramics, design so that people never want to get rid of these products. That is, beware of seasonal trends, design timelessly.

Maja Ganszyniec is an experienced designer with a comprehensive approach to the product development process. Born in Silesia, she studied interior design at the Academy of Fine Arts in Krakow and then completed her design studies at the Royal College of Art in London in 2008. In 2013, she founded Studio Ganszyniec, focusing on human-centered and nature-friendly objects. Her practice combines design that is both visionary and responsible - always looking for new possibilities within the limits of strategic thinking. Over the past decade, she has worked with brands such as IKEA, DUKA, Comforty, Paradyż, Mute and Noti. In 2017, the Polish Institute of Industrial Design awarded her the title of Designer of the Year. In 2020, she was appointed creative director of Profim, a leading manufacturer of office furniture in Poland and one of the brands of the Scandinavian Flokk Group. She is also the owner and founder of the independent furniture brand Nurt.

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