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Interview with designers of Balma Floo plant stands and shelves

Designers, graduates of art colleges in Interior Design. They focus their design work around offices, market stands and private interiors. Education and sensitivity allow them to combine the technical aspect of interior architecture with an artistic approach. Regardless of the purpose of the designed space, they emphasize the simplicity of form and color.

    

Aleksandra Hyz

Aleksandra Mętlewicz

Designers, graduates of art colleges in Interior Design. They focus their design work around offices, market stands and private interiors. Education and sensitivity allow them to combine the technical aspect of interior architecture with an artistic approach. Regardless of the purpose of the designed space, they emphasize the simplicity of form and color.


Marika Hanysz-Janik: How did it all start? Is Balma Floo just an answer to that green trend dominating in the office or there’s still more to it?


Aleksandra Mętlewicz: This is the project that reflects the actual need for being surrounded by plants. Humans have always been inseparable from nature, so that should refer to work, too.

History repeats itself, investors started asking for considering plants in the design. The only problem was how to display plants as there was nothing of that kind available on the market. 



M.H.-J.: What is Balma Floo then?  

Aleksandra Hyz: I’d call it a complementary family of plant stands and shelves. You can easily create your own stands or shelves by choosing from nearly four thousand existing configuration variants or you can go for a ready solution.

Balma Floo has more to offer than just traditional planters since this system can also serve as an organiser, which can be used as a hanger for various accessories or as a magnetic message board. 



M.H.-J.: Did you have a mission while designing Balma Floo? Do you want offices to be flooded with plants now? 


A.H.: Work in the green office is definitely much more productive. It’s a blessing both for employers and employees. It makes everybody happy. :) 




M.H.-J.: Why are your plant stands and shelves made from metal? Why did you choose this kind of material? 

A.M.: Well, it’s unbreakable, practical, modern and has an industrial look – you can place flower pots, postcards or posters on the metal mesh, and stick magnets to the metal sheets.

Only this material would allow us to produce such a delicate and fine structure. We wanted our plant stands and shelves to be lightweight and minimalist, we also wanted them to create the feeling of linearity, something rather abstract which would be similar to a drawing on the wall or in the open space. The metal mesh enhances that feeling and encourages some other interesting divisions.



M.H.-J.: How is it to work as a duo? How did your career paths cross?  You haven’t been working together on a regular basis. 

A.H.: So far, each of us has been busy with completely different projects. I have dealt with residential interiors, whereas Ola Mętlewicz has mainly designed office spaces. We have known each other from the university in Poznań, but it was the change of the environment – I mean moving to Warsaw – that made us get reunited. Since that moment we’ve started our collaboration and have been working as a duo on a daily basis.


M.H.-J.: What does ”compromise” mean to you? Do you recall many cases of having to reach a compromise while designing your system of plant stands and shelves? 

A.M.: To us a compromise means constant learning. We do learn a great deal from each other. My experience lies within the functioning of the office, whereas Ola Hyz has incorporated her observations from home interiors into Balma Floo design. Thanks to combining our diverse expertise, a revolutionary system of planters has been created, which is suitable both for the office and home.

Balma Floo has been the result of several compromises. Our original idea as how Balma Floo should look had to be modified because of the factors like, for instance, product technology, assembly or product packaging. 


A.H.: We strongly feel that at every stage of the implementation we have been making decisions concerning the ultimate appearance of the product. That means both of us are happy with the decisions we’ve made. It often happened we didn’t speak with one voice, but we would always try to find a solution, reaching a compromise if necessary.  



Balma Floo, photo: Radosław Berent



M.H.-J.: In your opinion, could Balma Floo be mass-produced? 

A.H: On the market there are several products dedicated to displaying plants. But up to now, there has been no solution that would be compatible with office furniture, like for example with desks – whereas Balma Floo is adjusted to the standard height of desk tops. What’s more, the system performs other functions which can come in handy in an office – i.e. noting down, fastening, clipping, etc.

Our plant stands and shelves can also be used as an organiser, thanks to which you can easily keep your work area nice and clean. They can serve as an alternative to the systems of green walls, which are expensive to be maintained, but are nowadays still quite popular in public and office areas. Our system will provide you with an opportunity to arrange the green spots your way.

Balma Floo will work fine in case of adapting new areas as well as in case of introducing some order to the plants in the already arranged space.  



Targi Orgatec 2018, Kolonia



M.H.-J.: You have invited the duo Kwiaty & Miut to cooperate with you – these are the authors of books ”About Plants” and ”About Flowers”, who own a florist shop in Poznań. Do you fully grasp now the impact of plants on health and well-being?  

A.M.: We have known those two guys for ages, and we appreciate their work and competence. As far as plants go, thanks to our relationship with the Kwiaty & Miut duo, we have become aware of how much important it is to be surrounded by plants. But it was right at the start of our adventure with Balma Floo plant stands and shelves that we realised the tremendous influence the plants have on health and well-being in a work place. 

We got to know the plants that are most recommended for office areas as they purify the air, ionise and cool the air in the room and reduce noise more effectively than other kinds of plants. We thought we should share that knowledge with the future owners of our planters. That’s why, in Balma Floo catalogue you can find many useful tips formulated by Kwiaty & Miut duo and find out how to look after those incredible plants.



Backstage of the photo session with the duo Flowers & Miut, Studio Mleko, Poznań



M.H.-J.: What do you think of the photo session of the latest Balma Floo collection? It’s pretty daring, isn’t it? With those strong colours it resembles contemporary music videos. 

A.M.That photo session is indeed quite different from those well-known minimalist and toned-down photo sessions of Balma collections. The four of us (the designers and Kwiaty & Miut duo) love colours. The photos have been taken by Radosław Berent, Ola and me have developed the concept, Łukasz and Radek have selected all the plants, and  together with us they have taken care of the scenography. 


A.H.We believe that the strong and daring colours go exceptionally well with the lightweight and minimalist forms of Balma Floo and they accentuate the character of those forms. In our session we wanted to inspire others to start using strong colours in the interiors, because such colours can enliven any space and can also improve the mood. 



M.H.-J.: Your project has been nominated for Good Design 2019 Award in the Work category. We’ll know the results at the end of October. What does this nomination mean to you?

A.M.: We are excited that our product has been noticed. The nomination itself is a great honour, especially that it has been our debut when it comes to designing a product. We are more than happy because we feel really great being product designers. Right now, we’ll keep our fingers crossed ...