They create objects out of steel. How did the Steel Wave brand come about? [INTERVIEW]

In contemporary design, the discussion about the primacy of form or function is becoming a thing of the past. Today, we are returning to redefined qualities: craftsmanship, the power of colour and the sensual values of an object. Form follows not function, but material and the imagination of those who shape it. Objects by Steel Wave are available on the platform as part of the exhibition ‘OBJECTS FOR THINKING. A CURATORIAL SELECTION OF ON*ARTE AND WHITEMAD ART’. More information can be found by clicking HERE.

Karolina Amissah-Pszczółkowska, founder of theSteel Wave brand, is interviewed byAgata Kiedrowicz.

I invited you to the ‘Objects to Think About’ exhibition because the objects you create escape divisions – they function at the intersection of design, sculpture and art. How do you define what you create under the Steel Wave banner?

At Steel Wave we focus on steel as the material that inspires our design visions. With a solid craftsmanship foundation, we create objects with a unique combination of functionality and aesthetics. Our designs, in particular the ‘Mirror’ collection, reflect the durability of steel. The geometric forms are both robust and elegant, giving each object a distinctive yet subtle dimension. It is this balance between strength and delicacy that defines our approach to design. One that is not only practical but also visually memorable.

Family heritage and craftsmanship have played a key role in the creation of the brand and products.

Yes, it’s true. My dad Ryszard has been running an artisan workshop producing high-precision steel components for over thirty years. The plant, located in the north of Wielkopolska, employs more than fifty specialists and works for demanding partners from all over Europe. I have always known that my brother’s role was to take over my father’s inheritance. My background is in law, but I have always been drawn to design and photography. When I lived in Stockholm, I observed design there and was captivated by its simplicity, functionality and minimalism. I also developed my interests by studying at Central St Martins in London, where I explored the broader aesthetics and photography. It was an amazing experience that shaped in me a whole new outlook on art. I never thought I would be able to turn these interests into a way of life and combine them with the family business.

Who is behind the Steel Wave brand?

Me and my brother Peter, complementing each other. The division is simple. I create ideas for products or entire collections, manage the brand and manage sales. My brother, on the other hand, is responsible for production and makes sure that my ideas are always well executed. We both care about providing customers with the highest quality product. We came up with the idea of working together just over a year ago. We wanted to use the facilities and knowledge we have and make something beautiful out of steel. This is how our brand Steel Wave was born. It was then that I realised for the first time that I could find my way in the ‘steel’ world after all.

You got a taste of good aesthetics while living and working in Stockholm, London. Did these experiences allow you to define your direction, to name the gaps you want to fill – in the Polish, and perhaps also in the global market?

I realised that less is more. I fell in love with minimalism and objects that are beautiful in their simplicity. The Polish market lacks furniture that is frugal in form, stemming from a knowledge of the material. We want to fill this gap; our ‘Mirror’ collection is designed precisely in the spirit of minimalism. Thecoffee tables and side tables resemble geometric shapes, and are presented in a variety of colours: from natural steel to cobalt and elegant black. The furniture is made of the highest quality stainless steel, polished to a high gloss, thanks to the work of experienced craftsmen. The objects we create are handcrafted, not a mass product; each piece is handcrafted in the workshop. The tables are captivating in their simplicity, yet striking at the same time. They dress up the space in which they are placed. The mirrored surface of the furniture reflects the light beautifully, and I love looking at it – my love of photography echoes here. In the near future, we plan to introduce more products, not only tables, but also metal wall decorations, cabinets, mirrors and tables. I would like to present furniture not only in gloss, but also to show the beautiful, brushed texture of steel, and to enliven the space with colours. We are just starting to operate on a larger scale, and the number of ideas and the scale of possibilities on the Polish market, as well as abroad, is enormous. This gives us a lot of energy to act.

If you could define the proportions that make up the Steelwawe brand, how much design and how much craftsmanship and know-how?

At Steel Wave, design and craftsmanship are inextricably linked, forming the foundation of our brand. Let’s say that each of these areas accounts for about 45% of the importance in our creative process. The remaining 10% is made up of determination, passion and the constant pursuit of excellence that motivates our work. In our team, there is no room for creating designs without a deep understanding of craftsmanship and production capabilities. All aspects are closely intertwined to form a coherent whole. Design does not exist in a vacuum – it must be grounded in practical knowledge of how to materialise our visions. It is the combination of expertise and creativity that allows us to design and create exceptional objects, made with the utmost care and precision.

What does your working process look like?

The process starts with me preparing a moodboard of the collection or product. I then sketch the individual products in a working manner and we discuss them with Peter and our team. Together, we consider how to realise the design in terms of construction. We prepare a 3D model, a technical drawing and start working on the prototype. Steel Wave is a team effort.

Market reality, as well as lifestyles and consumer choices, have changed a lot today. What role does design play today?

Design is not just a question of the moment, the moment or fashion. For us, durability and high quality are key. At Steel Wave, we focus on timelessness, which is a conscious expression of opposition to the dominant consumer culture. This approach not only underlines our commitment to aesthetics, but also to creating objects that will serve their users for years to come.

What feeds your senses on a daily basis, where do you look for inspiration?

I find inspiration everywhere. I draw from everyday life around me, architecture, art, travel, emerging trends. I am particularly fascinated by the way light and shadow influence the perception of form and material. This is reflected in the design of furniture, which reflects and diffuses light to create dynamic effects in space. Perhaps in the future we can realise a project in the spirit of the above thought. Ideas abound.

Objects to think about, or perhaps objects to feel?

Susan Sontag argued that thinking is a form of feeling, and feeling is a form of thinking. In the case of art or design, when you think about what the artist wanted to convey with their work, naturally the whole process evokes emotion. It’s hard to disagree that these processes seamlessly intertwine.

portrait photography: Błażej Pszczółkowski

other photos: Karolina Amissah-Pszczółkowska

source: on*arte

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