Michal Maciej Bartosik is polish and he studied Architecture at the University of Toronto School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture, and at the Politechnika Krakowska in Krakow.
His work is mainly in urbanism, architecture, art and design. He always trying to represent an idea as simply as possible which he thought come from a desire to produce clarity.
Could you please tell us more about your art and design background? What made you become an artist/designer? Have you always wanted to be a designer?
MB: I received my bachelor degree in architecture from the University of Toronto School of architecture and landscape architecture. My thesis was heavily invested in the work of Mies van der Rohe. From that moment, the pursuit of the ‘ideal’ detail became central to all my future work. The design of objects was a natural progression in so far as its scale is conducive to such obsessions.
What is “design” for you?
MB: The question of ‘what is design is for you?’ seems as intangible as asking ‘what is god to you?’ the closest I can come to an answer is a text I once read by Yehuda E. Safran in an obscure publication where he describes the pursuit of the master builder as being one which ‘betters their relationship with their own consciousness’.
What kinds of works do you like designing most?
MB: The ones that can be physically built. In the last decade, the pervasive nature of sketchup and online rendering software has produced a lexicon of virtually ‘made’ objects which appear increasingly common on design blogs and as entries into design competitions as stand ins for physical objects. Talent aside, this may explain why ‘real’ objects are increasingly poorly made and how we increasingly associate touch with the virtual world and not our own. I’m a proponent of physical abstraction, but I like to be able to touch my abstractions.
What makes a design successful?
MB: I find design successful when it is allowed to take its own shape. When the designer affords the project the necessary space for it to come into its own. In this way it becomes idiomatic, unconstrained by style; the project has learnt its own logic and begins to have a voice in the process of its own making.
When was your last exhibition and where was it? And when do you want to hold your next exhibition?
MB: Most recently, I had the opportunity to exhibit at the Design Exchange in Toronto. A two part exhibition titled ‘Playing Favourites’ which surveyed contemporary Canadian design along side some of the country’s most iconic and notable design contribution from the not so distant past. Currently I am working towards a solo exhibition in Ostrava, Czech Republic, which will focus on varying iterations of tensegrity light systems. All this to say that I think it is important to maintain a national and international public discourse about design beyond its commercial success.
Where does the design inspiration for your works come from? How do you feed your creativity? What are your sources of inspirations?
MB: I’m always trying to represent an idea as simply as possible which I think comes from a desire to produce clarity. My work is an experiment in the tectonics of ideas and their built form. Most often it’s a matter of endurance, having to think an idea through to its natural conclusion. This of course never happens in any linear fashion. I think one has to trust themselves and in someway concede to their subconscious, that somewhere beneath the thousand of banal ideas and decisions we make on a daily basis is an uninterrupted undertow of creativity that forms this ‘thing’ we are trying to make at a given moment. Then suddenly, like the prodigal son, it appears before us in the check out aisle.
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Can you talk a little about your design process?
MB: The process in my work most resembles that of applying the scientific method. It begins with a Question; what do I want to achieve through the art of making?, the Hypothesis; how can it be achieved, the Procedure; what variables best describe it, and finally the Experiment; the design itself, the process of trying to make a ‘thing’. I’m always trying to challenge my abilities and it’s essential that there is always room for things to fail. I think that’s what makes designing interesting: pursuing the chance of an idea being successful. One of my earliest fluorescent light domes was once called a ‘spectacular failure’ which I always preferred over it being potentially called a mediocre success.
Designing can sometimes be a really time consuming task, how do you manage your time?
MB: There never seems to be any time left to manage after designing. At the same time there doesn’t seem to be any time left after the internet either, so all this feel quite natural.
Do you have any works-in-progress being designed that you would like to talk about?
MB: There are numerous works and commissions in various stages of progress. I also try to maintain an active practice of submitting work to design competitions to test their relevancy in a broader cultural context. This in turn pushes their design to a level of near completion in a relatively short period of time, while teasing out qualities specific to the call that I had not previously considered. Most recently I submitted one of two chairs I have been developing in the back of my mind for several years to the Battery Park ‘Draw up a chair’ competition. Out of 679, ‘The Battery Park Pretzel Chair’ made it through to the first selection of 50 finalist which to me warrants its further development and eventual production. It remains a pretzel, sadly without the battery.
How can people contact you?
He’s always challenge his skills and it’s essential that there is always room for things to fail – at the end the idea is being successful.
He has designed numerous artist run centers in Toronto and His work has exhibited internationally.