Take 5 with... Magdalena Tekieli!

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Independent, entrepreneurial, grounded, inspirational… Uff, we would have to go though a couple of dictionaries to find all the words properly describing Magdalena Tekieli - a force of nature that she is! A product and INDUSTRIAL designer, an impressive creative, a versatile girl-boss - and we had a chance to sit and pick her brain a little bit! As every Friday, we are bringing you a written chat touching the topics of creativity, personal values, ecology, inspiration and strength. Read on and get inspired!

  1. First of all, please tell us about your background, education and how you ended up doing what you do.

I graduated from Fine Arts Academy in Cracow with an Industrial Design degree. However, before I started studying on my dream faculty, I had already been gaining my initial experience since elementary school. I was mastering my drawing and painting skills. Then, consequently and simultaneously with my further education, I continued artistic internships. I also started a course on ceramics and sculpture. I am convinced, that artistic workshops in such young age influenced positively the shaping of my aesthetic sensibility and they directly influenced my professional choices.

I chose to attend a General High School in Cracow, which, as a private high school, I knew would offer multiple and rich programmes for students who wish to develop their knowledge in subjects like art history or skills such as ceramics or theatre. After graduating high school, I started studying at Fine Arts Academy, during which I also travelled to Slovenia for a scholarship. While there, I mastered artistic work with fabric, glass, ceramics, graphics. I always made sure to choose courses that were not offered back on my home academy. That was my goal. I wanted to experiment, search, try different things. At the same time, I was always doing what I still keep doing nowadays - designing products and functional graphics. I always knew I would end up with my own company, that is why already when I was working on my Master’s thesis, I applied for an entrepreneurial grant from the EU. Step by step, constantly setting myself new goals - the self-made company was closer and closer.  

2. Please tell us something about your personal values and how they reflect on your professional choices. 

People are attracted by values, both in their personal and professional lives. Values are very important, because they steer our beliefs, attitudes, behaviours, they also help make better decisions. They arrange my professional path, my design choices, they accompany me on all life stages. As years go by, I appreciate their power even more, because I see their connection with the quality of my life. The most crucial values for me are support from my family, health, balance and harmony which I try to sustain between my work and my private life. I value heavily the inner peace and I attempt to live in agreement with myself. It all translates to the professional plane - I am a perfectionist and I adore challenges. I unapologetically push for my goals, but I have also learned to sometimes let go. I am learning it every day, actually. The most crucial for my work is passion and creativity - I try to cherish them and inspire others with beauty. 

3. Tell us more about your Paper Love line - the recycled paper stationery. How did a product and interior designer such as yourself developed this idea and how did you come around to realising it?

The idea of working with stationery was always in my mind. I started to realise it shortly after finishing studies. I had knowledge about it, as well as some experience and I knew what effect I was going for. I was determined to come up with a good quality (that was my priority) and prime materials, so it was important to me that the paper was recycled. I consider recycling as one of ways to protect our environment. Its aim is to reduce the use of natural resources and limiting the amount of waste. It’s an added value, and a product itself gains value from it. I choose materials for Paper Love line very carefully. The choices are still very limited (in the recycling section) and sometimes it takes extra effort for the material to meet all my requirements. However, is it personally a very important issue for me and I think my attempts are important to contribute to the condition of the environment and its balance. 

Paper Love  by Magdalena Tekieli.

Paper Love by Magdalena Tekieli.

4. To what extent do you see the influence of sustainable and responsible design in your everyday work? Does the market look for new solutions that are developed with agreement with environment and that use more ecological materials?

Taking care of the environment as an individual on even such micro level as recycling waste or refusing plastic bags while shopping has immense influence on our planet. The awareness is definitely on the rise, but at the same time still not sufficient. As much as 30% of all plastic produced by humans ends up discarded in oceans. The solution of this problem lies in design stage, so in the first phase of production of the new goods. It is there, where decisions about used materials and means of production are made. The projects’ executives often demand that designers and manufacturers to make sure the used materials have suitable certificates. I think the designers have the right consciousness, but the market often dictates different solutions - ones that are more economically driven, not necessarily ecologically. Personally, in my practice, whenever I have the possibility, I try to look for those solutions and materials that are as eco-friendly as possible. 

5. Do you have any personal heroes or people who inspire you?

My mom. She is the personification of strength and independence in a woman.

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