Inside an old Berlin factory, interior architect and artist Ewelina Makosa and designer Jan Garncarek have created a light-filled art studio. Their style draws from the timeless formula of pre-war houses, consenting it with the character of contemporary interiors.
Combining manor houses with working-class housing estates, and industrial locations with idyllic parks and natural lakes, the Berlin district of Reinickendorf is both relaxed and inspiring.
“Life moves at a much slower pace here, compared to Berlin’s city centre” Ewelina explains. “The lack of trendy cafes and restaurants provides ideal conditions for genuine contemplation and focus. In addition, the local lake is a great summer destination.’
In this respect, interior designer and artist Ewelina Makosa and furniture and lighting designer Jan Garncarek, both originally from Poland, couldn’t have picked a better place to grow their work. Ewelina and Jan settled in their art studio in 2017; a warehouse of a former factory – most likely a storehouse for airplane parts during World War II.
The building had remained unnoticed until an Irish carpenter leased and renovated the property, sectioning the available space into several artistic workshops. Ewelina and Jan made it just in time to stop the full-blown renovation works. They managed to save the original walls and floorings: witnesses of the times when the workstations and machinery were being disassembled.
The interior, designed by Ewelina, is not an obliteration of such traces, quite the contrary – she has allowed them to function on their own in a vertical space, over 5 meters tall. A space that is clear and undisturbed by an excess of items.
Searching for traces and remnants of the past as well as studying the broadly understood problem of memory – are all recurring themes developed by Ewelina in her art. The building’s space conceals a plethora of traces and imprints of human labor and history, the couple wished to preserve. Partially painted in white, the dwelling’s exposed concrete structures, imbues the studio with a soothing austerity, enhanced by the large loft windows that bathe the space with an ever-changing peplum of natural light.
‘We did only some basic renovations, mostly ourselves. We loved the raw walls and wanted to keep it as it is, adding some nice furniture. In general our space changes constantly, it depends on what art project we are working on at that moment. We also love experimenting in the space when it comes to interior, design, or art. The space itself is an inspiration.’ explains Ewelina
Blessed with ample daylight, tall ceilings, and peaceful surroundings, not to mention a handpicked group of creative neighbors, the property that the Polish couple took over not only made for an inspiring studio but also turned out to be a great place to call home.
‘All this makes for a stimulating environment in which diverse projects can be brainstormed and eventually developed in various directions.’ mentions Ewelina
The space is sparsely furnished with a selection of Jan’s designs as well as vintage pieces such as the ‘Tatra’ sofa mass-produced in Czechoslovakia in the 1950s. Predominantly made of brass and channeling a pre-war, Art Deco aesthetic, Jan’s pendant, desk, and wall lamps add accents of opulence and refinement into the studio’s otherwise industrial starkness, while their hand-crafted quality echoes the human labor that once filled the premises.
Some of them are still prototypes, like the office glass-desk and the living room coffee table others – such as the “Hasta” lamp ) or the “U2” suspensions lamps– has already acquired the status of desirable and highly acclaimed collectible design pieces under the brand name of Jan Garncarek Design.
On the mezzanine level, hardwood flooring and white curtains soften the starkness of the exposed concrete surfaces while a free-standing bathtub, cheekily suspended on timber supports, further stokes the dialogue between the hand-crafted and mass-produced that runs through the project – a fitting discourse for a studio housing the practices of both an artist and a designer.
As Ewelina discovered, the loft windows are particularly useful when making large-format paintings. The artist she is , is always amazed by the warm light within the workshop which plays on the warehouse’s surfaces creating an aura of daybreak lucidity or hazy twilight – depending on the time of day and year.
“The place is like a haven to us. It lets us quiet down and focus, simultaneously providing an inexhaustible source of inspiration” – says Ewelina.
Images by Anne.Catherine Scoffoni via ArchDaily
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