30 VI - 9 VII 2017

The ABCs of Polish design


30 june - 9 july, 10:00-20:00


PSTP Gdynia
Al. Zwycięstwa 96/98

It's not easy to show 100 years of Polish design limiting oneself to just 100 objects. How to choose the most important ones? How to avoid the temptation to show icons only? How to capture the interest of more than just experts? How can we present the diversity of fields within design?

Among the 100 designs, apart from furniture, glass or porcelain universally associated with design, we have included less obvious things such as: fonts, logos, kids' toys, a locomotive, a neon, a sailplane, a scooter and even the tastiest Polish treat: Ptasie Mleczko, as well as a rubber ring called Ringo – a Polish sports game. We present contemporary designs along with the ones that are already considered classical; unique objects, almost like singular works of art; prototypes that have never entered mass production; but also very popular things that have been used by Poles on a daily basis during the last 100 years.

The exhibition also combines past and present, because Handbook presents the heritage of Polish design through the achievements of contemporary Polish graphic. We display 100 works of Polish designers that have been interpreted by 25 Polish illustrators. Among these visual artists there are people at different stages of their career, including experienced masters of the Polish school of illustration, artists from the young and medium generation who receive rewards all around the globe, as well as young, freshly graduated ones. Most of the visual artists whom we have invited illustrate children's books, at the same time working with broadly understood visual communication. They use different styles and techniques, but all of them have one thing in common: a huge talent.

The show consists not only of the 100 objects and their visual interpretations, but also of 100 stories: about designers, needs, dreams, possibilities and limitations. Not only does it speak of specific projects, but it also explains the designing process, the creation of ideas and the amazing concept of design in general, as the field of art that is the closest to people, because it surrounds us all every day and we couldn't live without it, although most of the time we are not aware of this fact.

The objects are presented in chronological order, which shows that certain materials, topics and forms keep reappearing throughout this 100-year long history of Polish design. The exhibition is addressed to a broad audience, including the youngest generation. The show was organised for the 100th anniversary of the restoration of Poland's sovereignty.

curator: Ewa Solarz

layout: the Beton studio - Marta and Lech Rowińscy

texts about objects: Agnieszka Kowalska, Ewa Solarz, Agata Szydłowska

The exhibition is accompanied by the "Handbook of Polish Design", published by Wytwórnia, as well as workshops for families and children. The book and the first edition of the show will have their premiere during the Gdynia Design Days 2017 festival. The exhibition and the publication are a continuation and a follow-up of Ewa Solarz's project "Illustrated Handbook of Design, 100 Objects Drawn by 25 Illustrators" prepared for Łódź Design Festival in 2013.

Illustrators participating in the exhibition:

Jacek Ambrożewski, Edgar Bąk, Maciek Blaźniak, Katarzyna Bogucka, Ada Buchholc, Iwona Chmielewska, Robert Czajka, Agata Dudek, Emilia Dziubak, Małgorzata Gurowska, Monika Hanulak, Marta Ignerska, Tymek Jezierski, Paweł Jońca, Agata Królak, Grażka Lange, Patryk Mogilnicki, Piotr Młodożeniec, Ania Niemierko, Ola Niepsuj, Marianna Oklejak, Paweł Pawlak, Dawid Ryski, Marianna Sztyma

The exhibition is organized by the Adam Mickiewicz Institute operating under the Culture.pl brand, as part of its programme promoting Polish design worldwide and within the international cultural programme accompanying Poland’s centenary of regaining independence.

The goal of the Adam Mickiewicz Institute, a state-funded cultural institution operating under its flagship brand Culture.pl, is to promote Poland and Polish culture abroad. Through the presentation of high-quality initiatives and events in the fields of art, music, and design, the Institute aspires to introduce an international audience to contemporary Polish culture. 

From 2018 till 2021 the Adam Mickiewicz Institute will coordinate the international cultural programme accompanying Poland’s centenary of regaining independence. The programme will include the very best of Polish culture with more than a hundred cultural projects ranging from film productions to exhibitions and theatre performances.

More information about Polish culture at culture.pl


  • The author of books for children "D.E.S.I.G.N." (published by Dwie Siostry) and "Illustrated primer of design: 100 things drawn by 25 illustrators" (2012 ) (published by Wytwórnia). Journalist, editor-in-chief and publisher of an online service "Dom z pomysłem", co-owner of an online handbook of interior design “domplusdom”. She writes a column on children's books in the magazine "Kikimora". She works with Lodz Design Festival, Regional Museum in Stalowa Wola, festival Kids Love Design in Szczecin, Cieszyn Castle, Adam Mickiewicz Institute and the Polish Institute in Stockholm.

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