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Friendly minimalism. New SALAK studio furniture collection

Dobrawa Bies
19 of April '21

Alicja Korbut, who creates timeless products from natural materials, recently expanded her collection of handmade, minimalist furniture and interior accessories with new designs. We talk to the owner of SALAK.STUDIO about her inspirations, the role of users in her design work and what good design means.

Alicja Korbut is a graduate of the Faculty of Architecture and Design at the Academy of Fine Arts in Gdansk and the owner of the S A L A K studio, which debuted with the BASIC series. Following the "less is more" trend, the designer introduced new products, enriching the popular collection with bench/seat models. All models are created from steel and hand-turned ash and pine wood. The designer has also introduced upholstered seats, made of Italian fabrics produced from wool and alpaca.
This time, in addition to geometric "salacas", products with slightly more rounded shapes have appeared, such as the LOU table, as well as several new color variants including: bottle green or salaca color.

Kolekcja BASIC

popular BASIC collection

© S A L A K

Dobrawa Bies: What were the main design inspirations for S A L A K's upcoming products?

Alicja Korbut: There were several design inspirations. I tried to create more products that I also somehow missed and that I felt could complement, my first collection. The main goal was to create products that closely relate to the premiere ones from the basic collection. Since Salakas are selling out more and more every week , I only cared about adding a few models to close the whole collection ;) I also drew a lot of design inspiration from the great architect, the icon of modernism - Aalvar Aalto. The rounded shapes of his designs were literally transferred to one of my new products. This table was to become my tribute to the artist - it reminds me of everything I learned through his designs and the way I thought about design during my studies. There's a reason the table debuted in February. It is the month in which Aalvar Aalto was born, and since I am a sentimental person, my designs are often connected to my personal experiences.

Ławka HEN Detal ławki HEN

One of the new products is the HEN bench

© S A L A K

HEN bench

Alicia: How were the new models created in their entirety? Some of the products were created in stages. The HEN bench is a piece of furniture that can be freely interpreted - it can be a coffee bench, a seat, a mini bookcase or a flowerbed. During the design work, it was supplemented with elements that seemed natural to me. I wanted to make a product that would mainly serve as a coffee table or a bench/sitting area, additional ways to use this furniture were created by the users themselves during testing. I always try to get the prototype into the use of my loved ones before final approval. Then, after some time, I talk to them and ask what they liked, what they didn't like and just what other uses they found for the product. This is very inspiring!

Stolik LOU Stolik LOU w naturalnym
kolorze

LOU table inspired by the work of architect Aalvaro Aalto

© S A L A K

Dobrawa: How did the choice of materials influence the shape of the furniture?

Alicia: Initially, the HEN prototypes were created entirely of metal, but since the bench was also to become a seat, I decided to "warm up" the product a bit, so that the user would not have to sit on cold metal - that's how the wooden top was created. It also turned out that if the furniture is also intended for narrow corridors, it is worth rounding one of its sides, so the rectangle was beveled on the right side. The last problem became the possibility of possible adjustment of the height of the seat - giving the possibility of raising this seat (since at this point in the carpentry shop we are not able to roll out a larger sphere than 34 cm, I decided to add an upholstered seat as one of the options for purchase). The name HEN itself comes from the first letters of the name of a very important person to me, who was the fuse of this project. I remember that in my childhood a very similar bench, entirely handmade, stood in my grandparents' garden.

Stoliki SU Stolik SU z zielonym
blatem

SU tables available in new color versions

© S A L A K

More and more people started ordering FIB and SU tables from us in higher variants as well, so, we decided to permanently expand their family by introducing different height variants. So in fact, the appearance of the new products was also largely contributed to by our customers. This makes me very happy. And I hope that, over time, more often the products will respond to the immediate needs of my watchers.

Wysoka ława LESS Ława LESS niska

The recipients also contribute to the appearance of the products

© S A L A K

Dobrawa: Do you think good design can contribute to changing the lives of its recipients?

Alicia: Of course. I often say that I create products that I myself want to surround myself with. I believe that in the age of consumerism it is worth investing in timeless products. When I say timeless objects, I mean not only minimalist forms, but also high-quality materials. I would like the products I create to be able to stay with us for a long time. Metal and wood are materials that can easily be refurbished after years. Wood can be re-painted or sanded just like metal! However, whether this can be achieved we will only be able to see in five or ten years. Solid ash wood is immensely noble, not only in terms of its beautiful grain or color, but also in terms of the aging process of this material. Each piece of wood ages in a unique, beautiful and different way. No two pieces of wood are the same, so every single piece of furniture using this material becomes special and unique. Natural materials are also incredibly graceful when it comes to choosing accessories.

Ławki HEN
z białymi siedziskami

HEN benches with white seats

© S A L A K

I think that good design certainly affects the lives of the recipients. Although, from my observations, sometimes this statement is used a bit over the top. A well-designed space or piece of furniture can contribute to the comfort of everyday life. I mean everyday practicality like sitting down to breakfast at a comfortable, ergonomically well thought out table or a well-designed and practical communication of the space, etc... In the same way, the very appearance of a given product can affect life on a daily basis. Personally, I feel much better surrounded by items that are created from natural materials. All this, however, is not a golden recipe kind of "ultimate" knowledge. Because each of us feels the importance of "good design" differently. For one person, the most important thing will be the form itself, the shape, which will appeal to him so much that the convenience of using the product or knowing what materials it was made of will recede into the background. Therefore, I believe that everyone should look for products that will make a positive difference in everyday life, without paying attention to whether someone else will also like the product. Let's surround ourselves with what we ourselves feel good in!

Dobrawa: Thank you for the interview!

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