Design Ecosystem in Warsaw

{ 🇵🇱 } – Warsaw: Falling in Love with Its Design Roots

The Palace of Culture and Science in Warsaw. Photo by Valik Chernetskyi.

Poland: Rediscovering Its Design Roots

One could argue that, right now, Warsaw is (one of) the most exciting cities for designers right now. Poland has a long tradition of design, which unfortunately hasn’t been fostered quite as much up until recently. It has only since a decade or so that Poland has rediscovered its design legacy, which is now being once again celebrated. Plenty of local designers are going back to the roots of Polish design to create works that meet contemporary standards, and this has helped put Poland – and Warsaw especially – back on the map.

But what constitutes Polish design? Polish design is characterised by its playful use of typography, illustrations, and geometries; moreover, it is known for a certain naïvety that gives it a unique character. Rather famous is the Polish Poster School, a movement that was born in the 1950s when Poland, at the time a Socialist country known as the People’s Republic of Poland, was creating its own version of film posters.

Polish Poster School plakat for the 1956 French movie “The Man with the Golden Keys. Photo credit:

The State of Design in Warsaw

Poland has made tremendous improvements in the way its design heritage is treated and the contemporary scene fostered. Today, the creative scene is booming thanks to a whole new generation of Polish designers, who are combining elements belonging to the local design heritage with contemporary trends. The result is a breath of fresh air for the whole scene, which has been dominated by Nordic-made design.

Therefore, the current state of design in Poland – and particular in Warsaw, its capital and biggest city – is the best it has been in a very long time. Galleries, museums, events, and organisations dedicated to showcasing, promoting and preserving Polish-made design are abundant.

One of the main organisations uniting the best designers from Poland is Stowarzyszenie Twórców Grafiki Użytkowej (Association of Polish Graphic Designers), or STGU in short. The STGU’s goals are the promotion and development of graphic design, integrating the community of graphic designers and other visual artists in Poland and abroad, and raising the level of visual culture in society by organizing campaigns, lectures, or competitions, among others. The website offers the possibility to find STGU-affiliated designers, as well as design studios, operating throughout the entire national territory, and is regularly updated with new information regarding events, educational activities, and job offers. Platforms such as STGU are a fundamental instrument for a young design scene such as Poland’s: they offer a place for growth and promote cohesiveness. Their efforts have no doubt helped put Poland on the right track to become what is now one of the hottest destinations for good design in Europe.

Vintage cars in front of the Palace of Culture and Science. Photo by Sebastian Kurpiel.

Another notable platform for design discussion and promotion is the Polish Design Now blog. Here, designer Emilia Branecka-Ledwoń talks about contemporary Polish design. She is interested in inspirational projects and people, describing phenomena, and keeping track of trends. Unfortunately, Polish Design Now is available only in Polish language; luckily, English-language information about Polish design trends and innovations, particularly regarding print design, is available in the aptly-named print control – printed matter from Poland website, a publication which has international circulation being available also in print format (and how could it not, given the name?).

Design Education

Should you be interested in pursuing a design education in the Polish capital, you won’t be short of options. The classic choice for anyone who wants to obtain a University-level degree in design is to enroll at the local academy of fine arts, known in Polish as Akademia Sztuk Pięknych w Warszawie, more specifically, its Faculties of Design and Interior Design. ASP Warsaw, as it’s known in short, is one of the oldest institutions for higher education in the creatives fields operating in the country. The alternative is the Warsaw School of Photography and Graphic Design (Warszawska Szkoła Fotografii i Grafiki Projektowej), a private institution that offers design education in an international environment. Despite being a booming European capital city, the landscape for design education is still not as varied and developed as most capital cities in Western Europe, especially in those places where design has been historically tied with the very culture of the country (I’m looking at you, Germany, Netherlands, and Denmark).

Working Remotely in Warsaw

If you happen to be in Warsaw or live there, and you’re looking for places to work from, you’ll be happy to know that the Polish capital has quite a strong café culture (although nothing than can compare to the one in Vienna), plus co-working spaces have been popping up everywhere throughout the city in recent years. Let’s start by talking about the kawiarnie (cafés) that aren’t going to mind if you linger in their premises on your laptop well after you’ve finished your hot beverage: if you are one of these people who cannot decide between a café and a co-working space, then Labour Cafe Deli & Co-working (Tamka street 49) is most certainly a place you should consider, as it’s pretty much is the best of both worlds. Another café where it will certainly not be an issue if you end up staying for some hours is MiTo, located on Ludwika Warynskiego street 28. Generally speaking, a lot of cafés which are suited for remote working can be found in the historical Praga district. More into co-working spaces? Have a look at the websites of BOBO Coworking as well as Mindspace, two of the best spaces in the city, to look at their offer and rates in detail and check if they suit your needs.

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Gianmarco Caprio / Content & Community Manager @ Phase

Content creator, editor and community manager at Phase.