Janusz Kaniewski. Polish Design Polish Designers

For the protagonist of this seventh edition of the series, our museum has proudly chosen Janusz Kaniewski, a world-renowned Polish car designer and visionary with a sensitivity to the aesthetics of public space. This prematurely deceased designer is a remarkable figure, full of vision and closely tied to Gdynia. He co-created the Gdynia Design Days festival (in 2012 he was its main curator), and advised the Mayor of Gdynia on the city’s aesthetics. 2020 marks five years since his death.

The exhibition features a whole spectrum of Janusz Kaniewski’s work, introducing us to this artist of brilliance and good humour, in love with travel and cars. The various zones of the exhibition have been planned to contrast the two faces of Kaniewski – the official one we know from vehicle and commercial designs, and the private, lesser-known one, which is essential for understanding many of his decisions in execution or design.

During the process of making this exhibition we were inspired by Janusz Kaniewski’s own words: ‘The most effective way of predicting the future is to create it’. Here Kaniewski was alluding to the viewpoint of American computer scientist Alan Kay and his understanding of the future as something that ought not to be foreseen, but shaped and created through action. With this thought in mind, we decided to focus on the design’s impact, its resonance in the times to come.

In defining the significance and aim of design, Janusz Kaniewski wrote that it ‘should be functional and aesthetically pleasing, and if it makes someone smile – that makes it good design’. He equated design and functionality, practicality and pleasure. We are surrounded by things that are designed: objects, technical devices, buildings, cities. What does this mean for us in practice? What is the agency of design? To what future does it lead us? How does it change our world? We will join our visitors in seeking responses to each of these questions, chiefly focusing on design as a tool that improves the functionality of our surroundings and helps us create a better tomorrow.

Anna Śliwa


curator: Anna Śliwa
project team: Blanka Balicka, Marta Borowska-Tryczak, Mateusz Kozielecki, Olga Lewandowska, Michał Miegoń, Robert Szymanowski, Gabriela Zbirohowska-Kościa
cooperation: Izabela Meronk, Katarzyna Piotrowska, Ewa Skelnik, Tomasz Sosnowski, Patrycja Wójcik
exhibition architect: Dominika Janicka
visual identity: Anita Wasik
language editor and proof-reader: Aleksandra Piechnik
translation: Soren Gauger, Marta Skibińska
film: Piotr Seweryn
photography: Anna Iwanow, Ksenia Kaniewska, Maria Kaniewska, Janusz Kaniewski, Mateusz Nasternak, Katarzyna Wrońska, Leszek Żurek
framing: F.H.U. „Szklarz” Konatowski
typhlographics: Studio Tylografiki „Tyflograf”
montage: Rafał Frankowski, Robert Szymanowski, Mirosław Studniak, Pixella, Stolmar
print: Bluejet

honorary patrons: Prezydent Miasta Gdyni Wojciech Szczurek, MKiDN, Włoski Instytut Kultury w Warszawie
strategic partner: Mazda Polska
partners: Pomorski Park Naukowo Technologiczny (Centrum Designu), Centrum Nauki Experyment, ASP Gdańsk, School of Form, Instytut Dizajnu w Kielcach, Instytut Wzornictwa Przemysłowego, Traffic Design Gdynia, RMF Classic, Elzab S.A., Koło/Geberit, ModerTrans Poznań, S.Z.T.K. TAPS, Virako Sp. z o.o., Żywiec
media patrons: Radio Gdańsk, Gazeta Wyborcza Trójmiasto, Dziennik Bałtycki Polska The Times, Design Alive, Elle Decoration, TVP Kultura, TVP3Gdańsk, trojmiasto.pl, Prestiż, Linia, Logo24, Klif

This exhibition was co-financed by funding from the Minister of Culture, National Heritage and Sport.