Spotlight: Ania Jaworska

Ania Jaworska is an architect and educator. She currently teaches art, design, and architecture courses at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and the University of Illinois at Chicago. She holds a master’s degree in architecture from the Cracow University of Technology in Poland as well as the Cranbrook Academy of Art in Michigan. Her practice focuses on exploring the connection between art and architecture and her work explores bold simple forms, humor, commentary and conceptual, historic, and cultural references. Jaworska’s work was recently presented as part of 13178 Moran Street: Grounds for Detroit in Common Ground, the 13th International Architecture Exhibition in Venice (2012).

Tell us a little bit about yourself and what you do. I grew up in Stary Sacz, which is a small picturesque town and one of the oldest cities in Poland. I moved to Krakow to study architecture at the Cracow University of Technology, where the city itself provided a unique educational experience given its rich history, architecture and its progressive developments in music, art and design. After several years I moved to Detroit, which was a dramatic change and where I was ultimately influenced by the distinctive independent art and design culture and worked for several years at a local architecture office before receiving my second degree from the Cranbrook Academy of Art. For the past four years I’ve been living in Chicago, working as an Adjunct Professor and developing a new body of work that spans art, design and architecture.

How has living in Chicago affected your design practice? I am enthusiastic about where I am now and glad to have had the experiences of living and working in different places, which bring new influences and the chance to explore new cultures and different ways of thinking. An advantage of living in Chicago is that it provides access to diverse architecture, design and art communities. I teach at UIC, where the distinguished architecture faculty is constantly exchanging ideas producing a stimulating environment that in return motivates me to produce more challenging work. I am also an instructor at SAIC, where I am involved in learning and teaching a variety of materials and fabrication techniques, which is affecting the work I am currently developing.

What are some recent, upcoming or current projects you are working on? I recently completed an installation, which serves as a bookshop for art and architecture publications commissioned by Graham Foundation in Chicago. The bookstore was launched in conjunction with the opening of “Environments and Counter Environments. Italy: The New Domestic Landscape,” MoMA, 1972, an exhibition featuring works and documents of the iconic Italian architects and designers from that period. The exhibition provided a perfect opportunity for me to design the bookshop as an environment, where iconic forms, unexpected material and color could be utilized. Currently, my work “Monument for Them” is part of the CHGO DSGN: Recent Object and Graphic Design” exhibition at the Chicago Cultural Center, and I am working on series of works that will examine common architectural language, cultural iconography and humor, which will include prints, models, installations and architectural proposals.

What materials do you use in your work and what is your process like? Material is an important part of my work, as it can support an idea, bring references and layer of commentary. The materials I use are dictated by the nature of the project and the construction technique. My material of choice would be wood as it is diverse and I enjoy working in the woodshop. In Chicago, my workspace is limited in comparison to living/working in Detroit where I enjoyed constructing all of my projects and it was much easier to produce work that was large scale. I’ve had to restructure my process and have been developing ideas through sketches, models and detailed drawings in order to collaborate with fabricators.

Who is your ideal business sponsor/partner? I am interested in collaborations with institutions / professionals who seek alternative ways of approaching design and aim to operate within the diverse areas of architecture, design and art, and those who disregard conventions and favor bold and original work weather a design for a building, interior, installation, furniture or art.

What artists or designers are you interested in right now? Beverly Fresh, Monika Sosnowska, Olaf Breuning, Kari Cholnoky, Nathalie du Pasquier, Ettore Sottsass, Chris Schanck, Tim Parsons, Kelly Wearstler, Jimenez Lai, Grant Gibson, Paul Preissner, Design With Co., Charlie O’Geen, Dariusz Kozlowski

What was the last exhibition you saw that stuck out to you?  The Elevated: From the Pharaohs to Lady Gaga at The National Museum in Warsaw

 What are you listening to right now? Beverly Fresh, Czeslaw Niemen, Mister D. (Dorota Maslowska), Fleetwood Mac, Anna Calvi, Jessie Ware and wide selection of my husband’s playlist including: Esham, Hall & Oates, Kid Rock, Lee Hazlewood.

What are you really excited about right now? Seasonal wild blueberries!