A Modernist-Meets-Modern Home in Warsaw by Paradowski Studio.
Enveloped between the Vistula River and its escarpment, is Powiśle, one of Warsaw‘s most happening neighbourhoods. It’s like a little funfair of Indie galleries and vintage stores and sunshine-y bistros. And then, in the summer, of colourful food trucks and bubbling-over bars that sparkle along the riverside promenade. With year-round promise, it’s no wonder that a young, creative couple chose to make it their home. “They settled on a modernist tenement,” say Zuza and Piotr Paradowski—co-founders of Warsaw-based design firm Paradowski Studio—who were enlisted to give the home a modish revival.
Modern updates aside, Zuza and Piotr were keen on preserving the home’s modernist roots. And so they did, with refreshed parquet flooring, original doors and traditional porcelain electrical fittings. “The home features modernist simplicity intertwined with strong accents of the second half of the 20th century. There are intense colours, round and sharp shapes, and a variety of structures,” says Zuza, of the jewel-toned aesthetic.
“The entry zone is a nod to minimalist maximalism,” explains Piotr, of the some-little, some-big design flourishes. The moss green walls and herringbone flooring, for example, channel an understated vibe, striking a happy contrast with the arched doorway, pleated Le Klint lamps and curvilinear ceiling cut-outs. A high-polish dark marble frame separates the foyer from the living room beyond. In the latter, there are no rules here. The scarlet library unit, the offbeat metal lamp, and the amorphous sofas hardly match. There are tchotchkes here, artworks there. The ensemble is eccentric, and yet somehow, remarkably cohesive.
The kitchen continues the dotty tale, turning traditional storage on its head with a large four-door wardrobe on legs. “It houses all the kitchen appliances and performs the necessary functions. The doors are finished with wooden cladding and overlaid with linen fronts,” Zuza reveals. The marble counter keeps up the quirk, bearing dandy, almost-molten-like, peach-and-grey tiger stripes.
The heart of the room, though, is the highlight, brought to life by a charming 1970s kitchen island. “The rounded form hides the drawers, and the tabletop is surrounded by a curved bar that emphasises its industrial character,” Zuza notes. Ergonomic it may be, but it’s not all brass tacks around here. The island’s outré proportions are balanced by its lighter elements. Like the Yves Klein shade of blue on its legs, the statement-making 1980s table, and the Tokyo Chairs designed by Rodney Kinsman and produced since 1980 by the Italian company Bieffeplast. Above the table, Gino Sarfatti Astep 2065 lamps cast a glowy halo over the delicate pink microcement floor.
“The office is a counterpoint to the rest of the apartment,” Piotr points out. Sure enough, his words ring true in the room’s plainspoken details. A simple, made-to-measure desk breathes easy without any accents, save for a spider lamp designed by Joe Colombo for Oluce. What really catches you off guard here isn’t the furniture, but the palette: a magnetic, almost vibrant monochrome. “We were inspired by the graphic simplicity of the works of the owner, Marta Kuryło, which hang over the table,” says Zuza.
Artistic gems, besides Marta’s own creations, jump out across the home. In the bedroom, above the bed, is a carving by Karol Machnio, “whose warm colours enhance the feeling of intimacy in the room”. The wardrobe is tailor-made, and sheathed in Lace Wood veneer. But it’s the headboard, upholstered in Dedar Tiger Mountain fabric, that’s the unapologetic showstopper. Brilliant, radiant, shiny, and framed on both sides by vintage bedside lamps from the 1970s, whose lampshades correspond to the rounded forms of the bas-relief.
To say the home has high-octane drama would be putting it lightly — the bathroom, a case in point. Here, twin zones in contrasting colours dazzle in their differences. The first, a forest green, plays host to the toilet, while in the second, the designers created a bright contemporary bath chamber with a geometric, free-standing bathtub by Marmorin Design and a slimline shower by Jee-o. Hushed sconces by New York-based design studio Rich Brilliant Willing and a pared-back Alape Metaphor washbasin round off the setting.
It’s a home of old and new, of metals and mattes, of black and white and colour existing on the same spectrum. It’s here that modernist meets modern and decades collide, as if time exploded and threw out the best of the past century.