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Minimalism of form, maximum comfort: an interview with arch. Jacek Niebieszczański, founder of Modern House

25 of April '24

Modern House was created on the initiative of Jacek Niebieszczański, an architect with over 20 years of experience, winner of many competitions, specializing in the design of single-family, multi-family and commercial buildings. His extensive design experience allows him to create unique houses that, in addition to their high visual value, are first and foremost functional buildings that provide users with comfort, a sense of security and convenience.

Interview with arch. Jacek Niebieszczański, founder of {tag:pracownie}.

How does it feel to turn a designer's black turtleneck into a businessman's suit?

The black turtleneck that is often associated with architects will definitely stay with me. I love designing and can't imagine that I would stop doing it. Even before I founded Modern House, running the design office LESS IS MORE, no one did the business work for me. I was doing it, and I enjoyed doing it.

So it's not like I put golf in the closet and took out the suit, maybe I just put it on a little more often.

Recently Modern House celebrated its first birthday. Was it a good year for you guys?

It was a successful year. Admittedly, it was a time that carried a great deal of uncertainty. I felt uncertainty about whether my brand would succeed in the market. How will it be received by customers? Would we break through marketing-wise? After all, the competition is very strong. Fortunately, we managed to achieve 80% of the plans I had set. And I am a person who likes to set the bar high.

Modern House has really gone through a long and difficult road, but all of us at the studio have great satisfaction that the company has been well received in the market, quickly stood out among the competition and is already recognizable and constantly growing.

Brick House 104 - design of a modern 5-bedroom house

© Modern House

Has running your own studio changed your daily routine?

Running Modern House has definitely changed the part of my work that is not design. Previously, I spent a lot of time on construction sites, supporting the investment process. Now, in addition to design, which is still the most important part of my work, I also focus on developing marketing activities and strategies for the company's development. Of course, I am assisted in this work by a team of fantastic specialists.

What gives you the most satisfaction in running Modern House?

It's always the opportunity to create. Designing new forms, finding new solutions, bringing new ideas to the market.

Modern House differs from my first (still operating) studio LESS IS MORE in that here I have more freedom. At LESS IS MORE, projects were created as a result of my knowledge and experience and the investor's expectations. My visions of buildings were inscribed in specific plots of land and their surroundings, often severely limited by the requirements of the local development plan or zoning board. At Modern House, I have much greater opportunities to create designs and present my visions of modern architecture. I have no restrictions, for example, on the form of the building due to the strict provisions of the Local Development Plan.

Of course, Modern House's designs meet the requirements of current laws and my internal principle that I follow when designing. This principle is: it is architecture that serves man.

What do a good designer and an effective CEO have in common?

A good architect is a man with a vision, perfectly analyzing data, well versed in the problems of the modern world. But he must also know the achievements of his predecessors. In my opinion, these qualities also distinguish a good businessman.

The vision I mentioned is, in architecture, the first sketch, the pouring on paper of what appeared in the head, resulting in a finished project. It is no different in business: a thought is first born in your head, which you then consistently put into practice, develop and build.

One more trait comes to my mind that connects an effective businessman with a good architect. It is intuition, that sixth sense. Thanks to it, I have gathered a team of fantastic people around me. And it is with them that I realize the vision of Modern House.

© Modern House

What is modernity in architecture for you?

Modernity can be contained in functional solutions. These are available through new technical or technological options. The same technological solutions also give us opportunities to freely shape the form of the building, to cross more barriers, and then it is the form that expresses modernity in architecture. Another element that affects the modernity of a building is the materials used.

Modernity of architecture is first of all an idea. The idea of a modern view of human needs. In the case of Modern House projects, this idea is minimalism of form, maximum convenience.

Does modernity mean that you use modern solutions for design, for example, you use artificial intelligence?

Design is a kind of art of creating form and space based on one's experience. Using artificial intelligence for this process is, to me, a bit of cheating, covering up the fact that you can't do something. After all, when designing, we use not only the whole baggage of professional and life experience. The moment in which you design is also important. An architect, like any artist, expresses his emotions. These emotions you will not inflict on artificial intelligence. AI will not take over your sensitivity, the thoughts in your head that appear when you look at something beautiful.

For me, design is a pleasure. The search for the perfect form, the perfect proportions, the perfect set of colors not only gives me a lot of fun, but helps me continue to develop my craft.

A person throughout life should strive for perfection, for self-development. And what is perfection if not overcoming one's own imperfections? If I used artificial intelligence in my design, I would deprive myself of this opportunity.

NewHouse 702 w1 - a modern design of a single-story house with a flat roof, 3 bedrooms, a covered terrace and a large garage

© Modern House

To whom are you targeting Modern House's offer?

To those who appreciate good architecture, who focus on the comfort of the building, who are open to modern solutions in design.

What do Modern House clients get that they can't count on at other studios?

Modern House's goal is to offer well-designed architecture at the highest level. Our studies are the result of many hours of searching for the best solutions. What sets us apart in the market is our high-quality architecture and detailed design documentation. We provide free assistance to the investor, checking whether the project chosen by him meets the requirements of the applicable provisions of the Local Development Plan or the decision on the WZZ. We are also at the disposal of our clients during the entire investment process.

Your projects have a distinct original style. Aren't you afraid that they will be copied by your competitors?

I will say perversely: I am not afraid that they will be copied, because I know very well that my projects have been copied for years. The code of ethics of architects forbids doing such things. However, I will not deal with this.

Our job is to create new designs. To show new visions without looking at the competition. If someone doesn't have his own ideas and only copies, that's his problem. A fake will never match the original. People looking for good architecture will stop at our designs, not at a poor, often inept copy.

Despite the fact that you have only been on the market for a year, you are not afraid to experiment. You recently introduced the Brick House series with an unusual facade to your project base.

Modern House has only been on the market for a year, but as I have said more than once, my experience as a designer is more than 20 years of work, and for 16 years I have been running my own author's studio. So, experimenting, improving, tweaking or searching for new forms is the result of my development as an architect for many years, still ongoing.

I have had the Brick House series in my mind for many years. The thought of it came during a trip with my family to Denmark, where I saw well-designed minimalist houses with brick facades. However, at that time in Poland such elevations would not have been well received. First of all, because there was a lack of suitable materials. Their assortment was very limited, and the price/quality ratio left a lot to be desired.

Today we already live in a different moment: the variety of materials is virtually unlimited, their quality is really great, and a well-designed and built house with such an elevation can not only be visually attractive, but also enjoy really long years, without incurring high maintenance or refreshing costs.

© Modern House

Plans for the next 12 months?

To further develop Modern House by, among other things, expanding its offer with new projects, bringing new ideas to the market and showing people that architecture can be beautiful and functional, and not necessarily expensive. The simple visual tricks I often use in my projects make an ordinary house look grand and impressive, and it's actually the addition of a few "ornaments" that will raise the investment cost by maybe about five percent.

It's a bit like a little art of illusion - simple treatments that are pleasing to the eye in perception.

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