'Eye of the light' by Malgorzata Mozolewska: Shifting the perception of metal and ornament.
Malgorzata Mozolewska's radiant, almost mystical work entirely changes how we view and understand two terms or two entities: metal, and ornament.
The shift is in the way we look at metal–a material we can only imagine being rigid, durable and hardly easy to mold with our bare hands. Polish designer Malgorzata turns that perception on its head when she creates 'metal fabric.' Though composed of metals like steel, copper, brass and nickel, this 'fabric' possesses the organic, soft movements and forms of textiles. One wants to touch it and feel its perceived warmth and softness–an instinct one reserves for cloth, and rarely for cold metal.
Even more interesting is the fact that Malgorzata takes this 'metal fabric' a step further, in her creation of a series of table, floor and ceiling lamps, room dividers and decorative objects, called Eye of the light. Here the 'metal fabric' is weaved and turned into various shapes, in order to reflect light in the best way possible. The texture of this fabric responds to light and enhances the 'play' of light on it. Working with local Polish artisans to produce the Eye of the light series, Malgorzata has experimented with multiple forms and finishes for the metals (such as steel galvanization) to achieve the glimmering effect of many colors, when light falls on these objects.
The second, radical shift in our minds is the idea of 'ornament,' which Malgorzata changes for us completely. Hers is an idea of an ornament, that is something more than skin deep,"A structural ornament" really. She says "I am interested in an ornament which is closely related to form, and resulting from the structure of the product. In this approach, I am inspired by nature –the wings of butterflies, the scales of fish, the shimmering feathers of birds. In my work, tt is the very fabric that serves as an ornament, along with the sparkles of light reflected off the metal fabric surface."
Recently, as just before her exhibit at the upcoming London Design Festival, we spoke with Malgorzata about her work, her motivations for creating 'metal fabric' and more.
Read our chat with her below, and do look out for Eye of the light series of work, as well as a new collection of work at the LDF 2016. Her work can be seen as part of the Form&Seek collective, at the London Design Fair from 22-25 September 2016.
MD: Malgorzata, how and when did you realize you wanted to work with metals? And in particular, when did the idea of 'metal fabric' come about?
Malgorzata: When I decided to design a collection of light objects, I began wondering what would be the best way to approach it. I realized that it would be interesting to think about the solution and design entirely from the perspective of light–what surface would light choose to reflect itself on, to best exhibit its beauty and potential.
I came to the idea of a flexible, very reflective textile that could surround light like a beautiful collar. Metal was a natural choice then since its characteristics are durability, flexibility, reflectivity while having a certain essential thickness and strenght.
This metal fabric achieves organic expression, even though it is made out of metal because it always remains flexible and light. The idea of creating many shades in the fabric draws from nature; try to summon the image of a blooming flower. Nature is never still, it is constantly changing. Eye of the light has that same quality- light reflections constantly change on the surface, creating a sense of aliveness.
MD: How did 'Eye of the Light' come about? You have now created two version of Eye of the Light, one each in 2015 and 2016. What is different about your most recent version?
Malgorzata: When I was searching for solutions and design from the perspective of light, I combined this quest with my passion for ornament.In particular, this is a passion for an ornament which is closely related to form, and resulting from the structure of a project. The third inspiration for Eye of the light was the world of fashion, and the softens of fabrics–from the beginning, I was playing with the idea of 'Queen Elisabeth collars.' I wanted to create a beautiful, soft collar that would surround the light. The metal fabric that I use to create the lampshades is the result of these inspirations and interests combined.
The difference between the 2015 and 2016 versions is mostly about improving the efficiency of price and production process. I wanted to cut down the cost so the price can be more affordable and accessible for people. I worked on simplifying the form of the base and finding smart ways of assembling the whole lamp. That influenced the shapes of the existing lamps, but I also come up with new kinds of hanging ceiling lamps to expand on the range.
MD: You have an interest in the 'Structural ornament'-where the structure itself serves as an ornament. Tell us about this interest.
Malgorzata: It all started when I was working on my master's degree at the Academy of Fine Arts, in Warsaw. The subject of my thesis was "Structural Ornament.“
Ornaments were always part of the material history of humanity. When the industrial revolution came about, however, with new technologies, the ornament was removed, since it stood in the way of new concepts of production, efficiency, and affordability. A clean surface for objects became standard. That was very reasonable at the time. But that was 150 years ago.
Today with all the modern technology and production possibilities, we can reinvent 'ornament' and the way we think about it. My answer is an ornament that is not on the surface but acts as the structural material from which an object is made. Eye of the light is an expression of my approach.
MD: What will you be in displaying at the London Design Festival this year, as part of the exhibit with Form&Seek–a talented group of designers that you are a part of?
Malgorzata: I will be showing the Eye of the light project since I haven‘t shown it yet in London, in its new version. This year I have also designed a collection of metal trays – so I am planning to introduce them as well.
I met Golnar Roshan, one of the founders of Form&Seek during my time at Marcel Wanders, so she invited me to join this unique group. I have now been exhibiting with them at every exhibition for the last two years. I love the spirit and atmosphere of Form&Seek, which brings together so many creative and amazing people. It's a pleasure to be part of this growing, talented collective.
MD: In addition to metal-fabric, what materials and techniques are you interested in exploring through future work?
Malgorzata: Next year I plan to launch a new jewellery brand, so I am working intensively on that new collection. Owing to that, this time, I am exploring more precious metals like gold and silver, and all the techniques of jewellery production.