About Iga Alicja Włodkowska

Iga Wlodkowska is artistically active as an image producer at concerts, creates visuals, conceptual films, animations, music videos, writes poetry focusing on science, society and nature. She has been dealing with stage technology and video production for 9 years. Author of video settings for the festival "Róbrege" and the festival "PiP Music Party" (realization live cameras with visuals keying). Creator of short conceptual films, incl. "Ość / Stick", "Retniakcja". She completed practical studies in the field of art education, humanities and social sciences, specializing in Film Editing at the Faculty of Film and Multimedia in Warsaw Film School.

Interview with Iga Alicja Włodkowska

Iga Alicja Włodkowska ("IAW") interviewed on Friday, 5 August.

Could you please tell us about your experience as a designer, artist, architect or creator?

IAW : My first professional assignments were about creating logos, business cards, and posters. I developed in the field of mathematics and physics at the same time. A big leap in development occurred during the beginning of studies in the Polish-Japanese Higher School of Computer Techniques. Then I met my current partner — the co-creator of the project — and the Polish 12RAEL reggae band and its then manager, Dariusz Świerczek. I went to rehearsals, started to go to concerts more actively, and concert photographed e.g. the aforementioned crew. The door opened before me and came out with a number of inspirations and new experiences. I started my work from the basic in the field of stage technology and multimedia installations. By creating within the scope of digital-art I became more interested in image converters to which I had access. I started playing on mixer and projectors, and focused on learning the technical aspects of multimedia devices and exploring the possibilities of their operation. Dynamic development started when I know many talented and inspiring people, with a variety of passions, who are specialists in their fields. Dialogue opened new spaces for exploration in my creative and scientific perception. I have always been inspired by versatile people who develop their abilities. One of them was Robert Brylewski. I also loved meetings and conversations at cookies with Polish cultural philosopher, poet composer, musician Sławomir Gołaszewski. I will quote the words from Sławoj Merlin’s lecture and at the same time the film “Przeblaski” by Piotr Vienio Więcławski, which had a big impact on my experience with the form: „If history teaches us anything, it introduces the concept of a circle to our consciousness. There are, of course, alternative concepts: linear, wave, elliptical and spiral history." Relationship with art and creators develops my imagination, in particular poetics in art e.g.: symbolism of paintings by Eva Chełmecka, creative workshops “Prague Icons” with Natalia Żychska. Discussions about light with Wolfram, Andrzej Brześciński and Krzysztof Elo Niewiadomski developed my spatial perception. I gained experience in cooperation with music clubs, cultural institutions, members of the Academy of Fine Arts. Looking at the works and creative processes of experienced designers such as Cezary Koczwarski. When designing music videos, such as those co-created with Sławek Pakos for Legend Manufaktura, I gained experimental and rhythmic experience. A special place for me is the friendly Progression club, where I took part in many interesting and developing events. Great development in the field of sociological and artistic sciences was influenced by the beginning of studies at the Warsaw Film School, and in particular under the influence of outstanding educators and artists such as: Maciej Ślesicki (Chancellor), Katarzyna Taras (Aesthetics), Bronisława Maślanka (Copyrights), Zbigniew Niciński (Film Editing), Andrzej Cichocki (Dramaturgy), Tomasz Malinowski (Colorist), Piotr Gorszczyński (Workflow), Wojciech Rawecki, Andrzej Wolf and Andrzej Ramlau (Cinematography), Robert Krawczyk (Short Commercial Forms), Mikołaj Jaroszewicz (New Technologies in Film and Multimedia).

How did you become a designer?

IAW : I've been creating since I can remember being open to different fields. I developed artistically from an early age. I won awards in competitions of young talent, photography or literary. I participated actively in poetic evenings and artistic events. Science and at the Nicolaus Copernicus High School in Grajewo formed the foundations of my future path. A special place in my memory has poetic evenings “Save from Oblivion”, organized by Emilia Świderska, and physical circles & experiments conducted under the supervision of Teresa Poślednik. There were also quotes in the corridors of my school, and the one in front of the entrance: “Be yourself, — look for your own way”Janusz Korczak. No one expected me to become a designer and could not predict what I would do. Others have seen in me an artistic soul and mathematical abilities. I have always paid attention to the world around me, I was curious and intrigued by various aspects of the world. Going back to the early paintings of my childhood, I remember dismantling toys and talking dolls, then I combined the elements into an imaginary form. I hijacked hammers and tools from my grandfather’s workshop. I had ideas that were supposed to speed up work, increase the functions of objects. I've always wanted to change the world for the better. The first man who liberated my artistic drives in me was my uncle Wiesław Zajdel, who gave me — not working, but aroused a huge imagination in a five-year-old — an analog photo camera.

What are your priorities, technique and style when designing?

IAW : The main priority of my design process is to combine the usability aspect with aesthetic qualities — the harmony of function and form. It is very important to organise the Hick Law, which says that the less the user has to make choices, the easier it is to use the project. It identifies the aspect of minimalism in my design work. The theme that integrates my work is man and nature. In its projects, it integrates the coexistence of technical and artistic aspects taking into account the impact on the audience and the environment. My current design style is the result of my experience. A multitude of tools and solutions gives many possibilities, adapting them individually to the project. I stick to the chosen framework and assumptions that in simplicity of use and nice form include the functionality of the project. Combine various design techniques and tools. I rely on both my hands, digital solutions and new technology. Sketches preliminary outlines of form, inspiration maps and important elements. I often make cardboard models on a smaller scale. I like 3D, Kinect and VR technologies that open up new creative opportunities and the use of digital space. I discuss each new project thoroughly with the client, set assumptions and purpose. I strive to achieve them starting with thorough research and preparation of preliminary materials. I listen to expectations and needs looking for optimal solutions.

Which emotions do you feel when designing?

IAW : I am most excited about the final phase of the project. I can't wait to collide my project with the recipients as I approach the destination. More and more critically I look at the project and analyse the various stages. In this way, I am striving for a consensus of undertakings and perceived perfection. The sense of the finished work brings satisfaction and another phase of excitement with the reception of the project and its further journey. Equally exciting is the road itself. The road creates an inseparable whole with the goal of the project. The process enriches experience and provides multidimensional and long-term expression of actions and emotions. Another dose of excitement provides me with the progressivity of the project. Achieving the goal does not mean the end of the road and is usually the next stage, extremely important. When designing, I like new challenges and confrontation of ideas with reality. I feel fulfilled when I submit my project to broader criticism and I see the emotions that evoke intuitive interactions and smiles of the recipient and their satisfaction.

What particular aspects of your background shaped you as a designer?

IAW : As an stage technician, I functioned in everyday changing environments. I had to adapt to them and bring out positive values. I have developed flexibility of functions, mastery, and work in difficult realities. Meeting many different clients, I developed the skills of conversation, maintaining a friendly atmosphere, which is useful in every profession. A valuable skill is personal culture. She helped me connect with my clients and show them respect and understanding. Respect and understanding help to better understand needs and create a project to meet expectations. My previous adventure with design is literally an adventure. This approach gives me a fresh look full of possibilities.

What is your growth path? What are your future plans? What is your dream design project?

IAW : Design of a new, eco-friendly form of manual, and in the long run new models of Viti brand products and development of existing ones. I have many ideas to implement, and some of them are becoming more and more clear. Almost completely “and now for something completely different” is the plan to publish the lyrical book “Venojeno” designed and written by me. My book is waiting to be settled by the competition realised by the Institute of Literature in Krakow. The book is waiting for the contest to be settled. The first reviews and emotions of people I appreciate confirmed me in the belief that it needs to be published in a wider circulation with translations into other languages. I just need to find a dialect language enthusiast. In general, I want to explore the secrets of good minimalism. Develop maximum functionality by combining technical and artistic aspects. I want to design projects that blend into the environment and needs. Distribute my designs and products all over the world for everyone to enjoy.

What are your advices to designers who are at the beginning of their career?

IAW : To every designer who is at the beginning of my career, I would like to repeat: Don't give up! Go your own way. The beginnings are difficult, but hard work and endurance acquisition of new experiences, broadening of knowledge and horizons will result in the development of work techniques and creative skills. That give me good ground for a successful. I would like to warn young artists of laziness and copying. Be yourself and seek your own way by creating in harmony with your conscience and vision of a better future. Many problems and obstacles may be encountered, but the path to self-improvement lies in solving them and overcoming further challenges. One of the problems I encountered as a student was lack of time. Developing working methods & organization, and as well as improving skills workshops allowed me to optimize the schedule of the day. They manage a place for rest and regeneration. Knowledge and competence grow through curiosity, analytical thinking and willingness to explore issues ...so don't stop learning. Asking many questions I look for the best solutions. I develop and create better and better projects. I allow myself to think beyond the usual patterns and be authentic. Maintaining high ethics and respect for oneself, the recipient and the environment lay the ground for a good project. Someone once told me: “If you think your idea is good, make it happen”. It was the best advice I could get and I would like to repeat it to other young designers.

You are truly successful as a designer, what do you suggest to fellow designers, artists and architects?

IAW : Every artist, designer or architect should remember the impact of his works on the environment and social fabric. The most important thing is respect and awareness. Success is achieved by understanding. Best practice is continuous progress and every effort to benefit humanity and make the world a better place. It’s a big mistake to ignore the intelligence of the recipient. It is worth taking care of the quality of the basic elements, the logic of the project, its functionality and details. It’s necessary to remember the principle that not the best, and the weakest element is most conspicuous. Maintaining high standards proves high quality. The best practice is honesty and reliability. When starting to work in design, it is necessary to remember that we not only materialize the ideas that are here and now, but also create a vision of the future.

What is your day to day look like?

IAW : The routine of my day is a morning brainstorm, a discussion of plans and ideas. Between 10 a.m. and 8 p.m. there is time to contact customers. When I was professionally involved in estrade technique, I learned flexibility. Every day brings new challenges. A permanent element is the establishment of a day plan and a driving schedule. In the evenings, I read technological novelties, review interesting projects and explore curiosities in the field in which I create at a given time.

How do you keep up with latest design trends? To what extent do design trends matter?

IAW : I avoid blindly following trends but I like to keep up with them and analyze. I adhere to universal rules that are fashionable regardless of time and space. My projects work independently of seasonal trends, which last only for a moment. I'm sticking to my own style. I give a part of myself in every project by implementing people’s desires for each project to be both universal and individual. I want to develop a family of products that will be durable and reliable, fit into any space and fashionable regardless of the prevailing season. New trends can be a source of inspiration. Inspiration can be the beginning of an idea. The idea can be the beginning of innovation. Inspiration is from all possible directions.

How do you know if a product or project is well designed? How do you define good design?

IAW : Good design is filling voids and needs. When I see the simplicity of new solutions in a project or product, I think aha! That’s it. When creating a good project, you should avoid routine, the temptation to go easy, and avoid complicating simple solutions. The design must be easy for the user. The project is good for me when it fulfills its function and I can use it instinctively in a sense of pleasure. The main criterion for assessing a good project is its effectiveness and impact.

How do you decide if your design is ready?

IAW : Theoretically, the design can be improved indefinitely, but practically you need to know when to say enough. The completion of the project is determined by acceptance of the results achieved. Reaching the goal results in a sense of satisfaction. Standing in front of my work, I feel that it took its final form when I am surrounded by satisfaction and excitement crowned with pride. I can say that this is when I see that the fullness of expectations and needs has been met. There is a moment when we reach the top of the parabola, where common target converge and the project achieves the optimality of all parameters. Further iterations are redundant when reaching consensus and may disrupt the already well-planned aspects of the project and the harmonisation that has been developed. The project succeeds when it generates intuitive interactions with the recipient and meets the needs of our, the customer, the society and the environment in which it coexists.

What is your biggest design work?

IAW : The entire Viti brand is my biggest project so far. Starting from the design of the logo, website, visual identification, product photos, videos, to the design of the ViTi Stand product family: Classic, Bull, Loco, and ViTi Back: Liliput, Masters, DikZak - in 3D models.

Who is your favourite designer?

IAW : Most impactful in my understanding of good design is the designer of minimalist architectural compositions Ludwig Mies van der Rohe. His popular words “less is more” were rhythmically repeated and implemented in projects that I consider to be good and have been widely echoed in my work. Of course, designers from Bauhaus, de'Stijl, BLOK Group, art co-op ŁAD. Individually I like to talk to Makaruk - mapping designer on 40 skyscrapers, Kinior — creator of Flapart style and words: “Flap Style” means Presence. Following the blow of Flap People are the People of the Present. The presence, of course, bears the marks of self-knowledge in the world", Wojciech Sawicki — designer of ceramics with organic shapes.

Would you tell us a bit about your lifestyle and culture?

IAW : I grew up in the vicinity of the Biebrza National Park appointed by the “green lungs of Poland” at the junction with the so-called “land of lakes”. My native areas are places where so far I find an oasis of peace and creative space in natural formations organically organised and functional. The city where I found the most inspiration, and still discovering new ones, is Warsaw, and especially our creative center - green Żoliborz. The capital of my country is a place where I observe the rapid changes and works of human hands. I like to walk through the streets among modernist and avant-garde buildings. I often visit music clubs that are centers of intellectual and artistic life. Several such iconic places where creators and artists of various fields meet to conduct conversations, inspire and create: Fugazi, CDQ, Łysy Pingwin, Pracovnia. My culture influences my projects by giving them my own unique character. I am now moving between Warsaw and my hometown — Grajewo, my most creative teranes. I am working on the development of the Viti brand and the development of further projects from the Viti Stand family of products. Working in the stage industry, I also thought locally about its development. The expression and precision of the Stagehands started me a vision of designing a product coexisting with their character and at the same time preserved in a delicate and streamlined aesthetic. A good project in local terms inspires and gives some kind of motivation to act. It allows you to draw from good patterns. A good project with its constellation and publicity becomes the achievements of the present generation. It becomes a matter for learning for future generations. It fits into the story and the bullet of a given place. It's a pretext for analysis, learning and discussion that can lead to new concepts and ideas. Observing the impact of the project on the space in which it operates and the interactions that it induces, I learn and I can improve the workshop.

Would you tell us more about your work culture and business philosophy?

IAW : The culture of my work puts emphasis on organization and communication. A very important aspect for me is respect and openness to criticism, joint dialogue and above all the speed and accuracy of the flow of information. Working for me, you can expect friendly relationships, and my quality work control. I always discuss the important aspects of the project carefully and make sure that all parties understand each other well. Working on various projects with diverse people, I can say that among the commitment and conscientiousness of work, freedom of communication and personal culture are complementary.

What are your philanthropic contributions to society as a designer, artist and architect?

IAW : I have created a product that will serve for many years. Thanks to this, the project will serve people by leaving money in their pockets. It will serve the ecosystem by leaving less garbage in our galaxy. It is easy to use, mobile and safe. It saves nerves and time to improve the quality and working conditions. It can be used in many ways, a question of imagination and demand. It stimulates action and new projects of people around. Design is filling the void. A good project gives new perspectives. Behind each project are the people involved and their work. The project creates opportunities for these people and subsequent creators, designers and architects. I believe that artists, designers and architects should engage in projects that improve the quality of life and the condition of the environment, social and humanitarian projects. By creating technologies that are harmonious with nature, we support the Green Earth initiative and together strive for a better future. Less rubbish is a cleaner environment. By using a durable raw material that can be recycled, certified paint and materials, minimizing plastic components can significantly improve quality. We should think not only about what is now, but what happens next, after us.

What positive experiences you had when you attend the A’ Design Award?

IAW : A positive experience was the constant evaluation of my project by specialists. The contest was not easy and provided many new challenges. Every year, participants from all major countries come forward in an attempt to meet strict criteria. We made the impossible possible. It happened — we created our own product from scratch, we believed in it and we were recognised as the laureath of the A' Design Awards. The victory confirmed our brand’s compliance with good design practices and principles. Now I can share my project with the whole world. We can expand sales and distributions to other countries. We know that we meet strict criteria and have created a family of products that we can be proud of.

Iga Alicja Włodkowska Profile

Viti Stand

Viti Stand design by Iga Alicja Włodkowska


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