Tomek Andrzej Rudkiewicz is mentioned literally in every book about polish design so you can imagine that I was a bit nervous before the interview in Warsaw last May.
I met him for the first time during Arena Design in Poznań, the biggest design fair in Poland. Strolling among stands I spotted fantastic lamps. Some looked like zeppelins, light as a feather, some resembled glass eggs with glue warms inside, others had modern, geometrical forms. That’s how I met Tomek and TAR lamps. After we chatted about his work, inspiration, Le Corbusier and current situation in polish design I knew it had to be continued. It quickly became clear that except from the fact that Tomek is a real gentleman and a charming person he happens to be a great designer with a beautiful mind.
“Design is a discipline that combines artistic and logical mind” he reviles during our interview in Warsaw and he speaks out of experience. After studying precision engineering at the Technical University in the capital he continued his education at design faculty at the Art Academy in Warsaw
“After my studies I was searching for a meaning in my work as a designer. In general I always tried to do things that are essential in life. I didn’t know back then what exactly I was looking for but a journey to West-Berlin was a revelation and influenced my future.It was late 70’s and I wanted to buy some professional equipment that was not available in communistic Poland. I stepped into my little Fiat Polski and drove to West- Berlin. The reality in East European countries was rather gloomy and grim. It was already after dusk when I approached West- Berlin boarder. First thing that struck me was a kaleidoscope of lights. Neons, street lamps, shop windows. So much light and so much colour. I made up my mind then: Let’s destroy communism with light!”
Back in Warsaw, Tomek decided to stop being part of a system and together with his brother, Jakub, started Mass Studio. What you need to know is that it was very difficult to register a company in a communistic system. In 1982 Tomek designed a collection of lamps called Reflex. They were modern, well made and colourful unlike any other product on the market. Shining brightly in polish houses they proved to be timeless. Reflex lamp became an icon in polish design and is produced in many variations till today.
Political and economical situation in Poland was critical in early 80’s. Tomek got a rare chance, a scholarship to Finland. In 1986 he emigrated with his family and started working for E&D Design, biggest product design company in Scandinavia.
A new adventure started!
Visit Tomasz Andrzej Rudkiewicz at www.tar-design.pl
All images by Asia K.