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ZOJA. Ksenia Makala won the competition for the art object in the German-Polish Gardens!

30 of December '21

The competition "Reflecting on the Neighborhood and spending time TOGETHER, but also BOTH SIDES" for the design of an art object in the Polish-German Gardens in Warsaw was won by Ksenia Makala, a student of interior design at the Silesian University of Technology and the Art Department of the Katowice Academy of Fine Arts. The ZOJA project will stand in the gardens next year - the author received 100 thousand zlotys for its implementation. Two honorable mentions (ex aequo) were awarded to: Grzegorz Klaman and a team composed of Xawery Wolski, Wojciech Kolęda and Piotr Grochowski.

Twenty-five projects from Poland and Germany were submitted for participation in the open competition for the concept and construction of an art object in the Polish-German Gardens. Among the participants were well-known artists, architects, garden designers, art students, and visitors to the Polish-German Gardens.

ZOJA powstanie
w Ogrodach Polsko-Niemieckich

The Polish-German Gardens are located in the Praga-Południe district of Warsaw

photo: organizers archive

Located in Warsaw's Praga-Południe district, the gardens are adjacent to Kamionkowskie Lake and Skaryszewski Park. They were created as a project of the Jubilee Year 2016, to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the Treaty between the Republic of Poland and the Federal Republic of Germany on Good Neighborhood and Friendly Cooperation of June 17, 1991.

The seven-member jury, consisting of: Cornelius Ochmann (Foundation for Polish-German Cooperation), Robert von Rimscha (German Embassy in Warsaw), Małgorzata Bojańczyk (representative of the private donors of the Gardens), Ewa Łabno-Falęcka (Mercedes-Benz Polska, sponsor of the Gardens), Tomasz Kucharski (mayor of the Praga-Południe District of the City of Warsaw), Izabela Szostoszczyk (mayor of the Warsaw District of Praga-Południe). Warsaw), Izabela Szostak-Smith (deputy mayor of the Praga-Południe District), Michal Krasucki (capital conservationist of the office of the City of Warsaw), evaluated not only the artistic qualities and message, consistent with the idea and theme of the competition, but also the feasibility and usability for visitors to the Gardens.

ZOJA widziana od
strony Jeziora Kamionkowskiego

ZOJA seen from the side of Kamionkowskie Lake

© Ksenia Makała

ZOJA with the main prize

Guided by these criteria, they awarded the main prize to the ZOJA project by Ksenia Makała, a young interior architect and visual artist from Katowice. Two equal honorable mentions were awarded to the projects: "Antimur 2022" by Grzegorz Klaman and "Together and Beside Each Other" by a team composed of Xawery Wolski, Wojciech Kolęda and Piotr Grochowski.

ZOJA is a contemporary architectural and sculptural form. As a three-dimensional object, it enters into a close relationship with the Garden's space and provides an opportunity for interaction with viewers. It harmoniously blends with the existing surroundings, not dominating, but creating a continuation of the organic forms of the natural world.

ZOJA, przekrój C-C

The author wanted the object to be a background for the nature of the Gardens

© Ksenia Makala

The main idea of my concept was to create an object that would be a background for the existing nature in the Gardens , which undoubtedly plays the most important role. At the same time, ZOJA is an object of individual character, proportions and form friendly to people, as well as the environment. Important slogans that formed the starting point for the work were such concepts as community, group action and the individuality of each of us. The object consists of two elements, forming a single entity framed in the form of a circle, and symbolically refers to the indicated concepts," says Ksenia Makala.

Zoja to dwie formy

ZOJA uses the phenomenon of optical illusion

© Ksenia Makala

optical illusion

The installation uses the phenomenon of optical illusion. From the side of Kamionkowskie Lake, the viewer sees it as a homogeneous solid in the form of a circle.

This is a symbolic reference to the creation of bonds and community. A circle is also a symbol of balance and harmony, and its rounded form positively affects the perception of space and a sense of security. Observing the block from a perspective, we see that the original form of the closed circle is broken up into two separate elements, juxtaposed vertically. The elements do not meet, but form a compact composition. The base of one of the elements is extended toward the staircase, becoming one of the steps. The juxtaposition of the two separate parts invites reflection on coexistence and cooperation. Differences, as well as apparent similarities," explains the author.

W ZOJI można

ZOJA is actually two separate elements forming a coherent composition

© Ksenia Makala

interaction with sculpture

ZOJA coexists with nature in the Gardens, as well as with existing elements of small architecture and pedestrian routes. The front element of the building was intentionally extended to include a convenient staircase descent. This treatment allows the viewer to come into closer contact with the sculpture - he or she can stop on the newly created walkway or walk further in, becoming part of the object themselves. In addition, the front element of the installation has narrow slits, allowing sunlight to pass through, and giving lightness to the whole composition.

The sculpture was designed using recycled concrete.

Nowadays, we are struggling with the huge problem of construction waste and its reuse. In art objects, using used materials is a great, future-proof alternative. Recycled concrete has the same properties as completely newly manufactured concrete," adds Ksenia.

ZOJA powstanie
w Warszawie

The facility will be made of recycled concrete

© Ksenia Makala

ZOJA to be seen as early as next year

The sculpture realized on the basis of the winning design will become a kind of window, connecting the garden space with the perspective of Kamionkowskie Lake. The object encourages interaction with its engaging form. It even invites you to sit on it or use the illusion of a circle as a frame for a photo during a family walk [...]. The recycled material from which the building is to be constructed accentuates the consistency with the idea of the Polish-German Gardens, whose mission is to protect the climate, says Izabela Szostak-Smith, deputy mayor of the Praga-Południe district of Warsaw.

The winning project will be implemented next year, after its author signs an agreement with the Foundation for Polish-German Cooperation. 100 thousand zlotys have been allocated for the creation of ZOJA. The project is co-financed by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Federal Republic of Germany.

Dobrawa Bies

The vote has already been cast