"We would like to see the trend of massification pass." Małgorzata Gastoł-Fajkowska and Kaja Kowalska in the series "10 questions to an interior designer"

31 of May '23

"10 Questions to an Interior Designer" is a series of short talks inspired by the series "10 Questions to...". This time our attention is turned to interior designers. In today's episode, Małgorzata Gastoł-Fajkowska and Kaja Kowalska talk about their approach to design.

Małgorzata Gastoł-Fajkowska and Kaja Kowalska - certified architects and artists, graduates of the Interior Design Department of the Warsaw Academy of Fine Arts. They create the ATUT Architektura Wnętrz. They were brought together by friendship and passion for arranging beautiful, individual spaces. Their studio is intimate. Functionality and ergonomics are combined here with aesthetics and the whole meets the individual needs of the user. The architects believe that each project is a new story, in which the investor plays the main role, and their task is to translate the needs and preferences into the language of architecture and incorporate them into the space. They care that the designed interiors reflect the personality, interests and lifestyle of their owner.

1. For us, a house is...

A material projection of ourselves. A home should respond to our functional, aesthetic and emotional needs, reflect our lifestyle, passions and tastes. The word "home" itself is a word with a positive connotation. It is associated with family warmth, security and represents an individual retreat.

2. The key to a successful interior design is...

Communication. The key ingredients of the recipe for a successful interior design are the needs, lifestyle and tastes of the investor. Before starting the project, we ask investors to complete our proprietary Preference Survey, which contains more than 200 detailed closed, multiple-choice and open-ended questions. We also ask them to send us inspirations of spaces, color combinations or furnishings that meet their aesthetic and style expectations. Our cooperation is full of conversations (in person, online or by email), during which we discuss the project and consider possible solutions together.

3. We look for inspiration in...

In the passions and interests of our investors. They most often form the theme of our projects. We also get a big boost of inspiration from visits to showrooms, product training and design fairs.

4. In cooperation with investors the most important thing is....

Trust, respect, empathy and cooperation. The project is created on the basis of the knowledge and aesthetic sense of the interior architect and is a response to the needs and preferences of the investor. It represents our joint work, so we should feel that we are playing on the same team, that we are united by a common goal.

5. Our favorite design style is...

"Custom," meaning one that fully reflects the resident. We love it when investors do not hide their passions and want them to be visible. The apartment then gains a unique, individual style that will certainly never go out of fashion.

6. The most valuable item in my home is....

Małgorzata: Each item I have collected has a different kind of value: material, functional, aesthetic or sentimental. However, there is one item that combines all these factors - a piano.

Kaja: A pair of "JAR" chairs from the 1960s - a find that caught my eye among my friends' unused furniture. These chairs are of great value to me, as I restored them myself and covered them with upholstery, giving them a contemporary style. I was engaged at the time and I wanted this pair of chairs, as a symbol of a pair of people, to become the first unique decoration of my apartment on the new path of life, and, as it happens, to this day the chairs are with us and are inseparable companions of common married meals.

7. The most common mistake when creating an interior by yourself is...

Losing ourselves in "pretty pictures" from the Internet. It's perfectly understandable that our gaze is first attracted to spectacular beauty, strong designs and pretty objects. However, let's remember that many "pretty pictures" are utopian visualizations that require adequate square footage and budget to realize, and the concept itself, while pleasing to the eye, may not at all meet our functional and ergonomic needs. Very often we want too much at once, have trouble deciding and try to realize all the great solutions. Let's ask ourselves: do I really need it? Let's first analyze our needs, then look for solutions.

Another very common mistake we make is to decompose the space. We buy individual furnishings that we like, but we don't consider whether they will correspond well with each other. We treat the space as a collection of random items, while it should form an integral whole. The arrangement should be planned from the general to the detail: designate zones, give them a function, choose a stylistic direction and work out the details.

8. Our favorite material is...

We looked through portfolios to identify a common denominator from our projects. We found three: color, shape and texture. Paint, stoneware and varnish are most often responsible for the color. Shapes are obtained from wood, mosaic or metal. Texture is guaranteed by stucco, wood and tile.

9. A trend we wish would pass away already is...

Quantity at the expense of quality. We live in a time of rapidly expanding cities. Housing estates are taking over more and more of the green spaces. Architectural fillings are being squeezed into every crevice, bending building laws to the limit. Apartments are being built where sunlight never penetrates during the day, as other, even taller buildings surround them on all sides. The quality of developer standards is falling. Apartments are cramped and dark. We would like to see the trend of massification pass away, and the fashion for comfortable living and attention to nature come.

10. Someday, I would like to live in...

Małgorzata: A house with large windows overlooking the forest.

Kaja: An apartment in a historic building with high floors, where you can feel the space and the spirit of bygone years.

Want to see the projects by Malgorzata Gastoł-Fajkowska and Kaja Kowalska? Click HERE


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