An interview with Wiktoria Lenart – designer, author of Balma PLUS stunning photo session and Bartek Sadowski, the photographer.
Autumn has already arrived, so we want to take you on an exciting tour now!
A photo session created by Wiktoria Lenart is a great example of cooperation between a designer and producer. The product itself becomes the main character of a certain story, in which it is brought to the forefront ... however, in a surreal way, which will leave lots of possible interpretations. The designer of BALMA PLUS System winks at all of us and approaches office space in a funny, even facetious, manner by showing the furniture from BALMA PLUS Collection in an unusual convention...
BALMA : How did you come up with the idea to do this unusual photo session of Balma PLUS System furniture? Wasn’t it going to be just an ordinary product session?
Wiktoria: That session was to be a product session since it was going to display the product, but from the very beginning, it was our intention to make the product an element of a certain story in which the product itself would not be brought into the forefront. It was definitely much more important to obtain an interesting picture than to demonstrate the functionality of the furniture.
BALMA: In your job you design furniture. Did you find it challenging to have to design the photographic scenography?
W: It wasn’t the first time when I was responsible for designing the scenography connected with photos, I had done that on several occasions before, but the novelty of this project was its scale and the huge layout. Bartek (Sadowski – the co-author of our photos) was amused by my first sketches because the sketches I had made required a site of a size of an airport. It’s by no means surprising since being a 3D designer I live in a world full of rendering devices, thanks to which everything is possible;)
B: As soon as I told Wiktoria that she had tried to show too much at the same time, she delivered something entirely different, which was a good starting point. That for sure proves that collaboration and talks are necessary at every stage of a project.
BALMA: What do the photos say about Balma products?
B: The photos reveal the beauty of those products and they show that, apart from their functional merits, those products can expertly communicate their message in a visual way.
W: Because Bartek didn’t realise the functions of those products, he was able, while using light and various layouts, to get out their sculptural qualities like the shapes and colours.
BALMA: What was your inspiration while working on designing the scenography?/ What was your inspiration while designing Balma scenography? And, taking this into consideration, how should we interpret the props which appear in those photos like the pineapple, apple, hat or blue pins? Should we look for hidden meanings there?
W: As PLUS System makes use of very many innovations, we didn’t want to present that System in a standard way. During our talks we finally came up with an idea to get surreal. In many pictures you will see some colourful elements, which, at a first glance, seem to appear randomly there as if they were cut off from the background or the context, and right then they become a part of a story – but this is the space left for making guesses. It’s quite bizarre how, by having its colour changed, any object can become its own artefact. And that’s the crazy element - how about introducing more of that craziness into office space that still remains much too formal?
BALMA: You’re right. And why did you choose to work with models in your photo creation? Was it something to do with “taming” the pictures?
W: From the very beginning I wanted to see people in my photos, but their role was going to be more of a prompt rather than of the main characters. Bartek has managed to make the models alive by freezing their motion in a specific situation, as if observed by others. The purpose of it is to transpose the person looking at that particular photo into a strange situation, according to some office standards. The characters become ghosts and the way they move indicates that time doesn’t exist there, some characters go back, while some others appear out of the blue.
BALMA: On the other hand, Bartek, your work involves taking photos of people, so how was it to work with inanimate matter like furniture?
B: While taking photos I always pay close attention to the light, arrangement and details. It doesn’t make a big difference to me whether I work with real people or furniture; it is the idea and final effect that ultimately count. And with furniture pieces it’s much easier – they always do the things I ask them to do. Besides, they can also stand up straight. (laughing)
BALMA: The Balma PLUS System, which you designed for Balma brand together with Piotr Kuchciński, is gaining more and more popularity.
Did you expect such a response from the market?
W: At times I wondered if we didn’t introduce too many innovations at once.
The revolving blend, systems with magnets, or desktop cable systems are completely new solutions which have never been applied in office furniture. Fortunately, it was Piotr (Kuchciński) who incorporated all those crazy ideas we had come up with and created a cohesive whole, which makes the collection meaningful and comprehensive.