ANNA SZUFLICKA - DESIGNER - POLAND

What were your first steps in the field of design?

My adventure with design began when I started my studies at the Interior Design Faculty of the Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw. At first, I was going to study painting, then I decided to do something more connected with typical everyday problems, to create the space where we live and the objects that all of us use every day.

At the beginning I didn’t know exactly what I wanted to do, but during my studies I had the interesting opportunity of trying different areas of design, from interior to exhibition design or furniture design. I think that it was then that I realized that I had found my own way, that I wanted to do it and I could lose myself in it. 


You said that designing for you is like solving riddles. Could you please explain this approach more in depth?

When I start a new project, I believe that it’s very important to transform its image many times from the beginning till the end. This process is sometimes longer and sometimes shorter, but each time I ask myself a long list of questions (e.g. Why should I use this and not something different? Is it useful? Will I use it by myself? Is it economically advantageous?) searching for the most important features in each project. 

For me solving riddles means thinking and taking a small step to the right, and then to the left, and then backwards and then two steps forward and then stopping for a while. In order to get to the final product you must know many answers, and the only way is finding them during the creation process.

Among the different design fields in which you have been operating is there one that you feel more challenging or particularly rewarding?

Product design is my main interest and it gives me more satisfaction than any other field. Currently my working life is directing me towards this area of design but I am always open to other fields and maybe in a few years I will do something totally different. 

My works were also noticed in some magazines and exhibition festivals, which gives me even more energy and makes me believe that this is what I’m meant to do.

What features of the product “Duality” make it especially suitable for the Just99 project?

Just99 is very modern and I wanted to make for the Just99 team, that is young and full energy, an item that was somehow like them. Duality is simple, useful and modern and it is based on the contrast between two different materials and two different shapes which work together: one can neither live nor work well without the other. I think that the most important thing for me was to make a product that was contemporary, well made from good materials and that could be used by anyone, including the people who work in Just99.

Where did you draw your inspiration from for this item?

I wanted to create a product that showed some kind of cooperation and the result I wanted to achieve was a good balance between two solids, two energies and two different materials. 

The inspiration for its structure and the cooperation of the two shapes might be in a certain way connected with architecture, but it was actually less complex than that. I think that also simple things like flowers and food, which can bring a bit of joy in our everyday life, are very important. I really like both flowers and food and with this item they can go together perfectly.

Did finding the right shape, size, materials and screwing system for the vase and the tray need many experiments and trials?

First of all I started my work drawing and preparing paper models to find the right shape and proportions. Afterwards I carried out some experiments on the technical properties of the materials because, as I mentioned, for me it was also very important to show the contrast between materials.

In the end I chose two materials like wood, which is warm and has a very distinctive grain, and baked clay, which is colder and smoother and more glossy.


Which keywords would you use to describe this item?

Duality shows a sort of interplay of two opposite solids, therefore the keywords I would use are “contrast”, “stability”, “balance” and also “cooperation”.

Did you have a specific user in mind while designing Duality?

For me Duality as a whole is a product for people who are in some kind of relationship and don’t live on their own. The type of relationship is not important, they could be lovers or close friends or mother and daughter, there should just be a good energy between them.

Duality is for people who want to do something nice for another person, like a grandmother who prepares something nice and beautiful for her grandson or somebody who brings breakfast in bed with flowers to another person just to make his or her day more beautiful.

What do you think that makes the Just99 project special?

I truly like the idea of limited edition products around which Just99 is centred, but what I like the most in this project is the fact that its team really places great trust in the designers.

While working with them they gave me much freedom even if I’m young and I don’t have much experience, and this sort of cooperation doesn’t happen very often.

Moreover, knowing which numbered product you have creates a history for the item, and being aware that it’s something that you will not throw away a few days after you’ve bought it, I’m sure that the product will be handled especially carefully.