26 April 2016

Story #6 Life's coincidental lines

Apparently to succeed in life you need to be in the right place at the right time. What is more, to complete the whole circle, the right person must also be present in this lucky triangle.

Well, I do not want to disappoint any of you who believe in this golden rule, but MY little life experience does not confirm this at all.

Saba in the BOX
Crazy Polish Communist-Inspired Design exhibition
Brussels 2014

Confession time:
Neither was I in the right place or at the right time when it came to my Art in the Box adventure. What is more, I had not even planned to be a part of this project. There was another person before me who began the preparations with Aga.

Late sunny autumn 2013
in the traffic close to Schuman roundabout

Aga was dropping me off at the office after having lunch together. Briefly, as we only had five minutes or so left, she told me about a project she was about to run.
- You know, I have this idea to design big boxes and place them here on the streets of Brussels to show people a piece of polish design that has been inspired by communism.
This was the first time I had heard about the Art in the Box project and before I had time to think, Aga stopped at a roundabout, I got out and left for the office and actually forgot about the whole conversation.

So far so good. The sky was clear and I was oblivious to any warning signs that may have been present. But Life – this tricky bitch – does occasionally like to rock the boat and slightly alter one's destiny path. Why? I really don't know. But that was exactly what it did to me a couple of months later.

Late rainy winter 2014
somewhere in a dead end of Brussels' metropolis

A little Art in the Box casting is taking place and the situation on the chessboard is changing completely and what is more important – it's to my favour! 

The Art in the Box is losing one of its team members and that particular team member has decided to cancel his membership and leave. Following his resignation I received an offer to join the reduced team and basically decided on the spot to accept the offer so that the Art in the Box game could be continued. One simple move and voila I’m on board!

Without any effort or winning strategy whatsoever!
Without any pressure!
With simply nothing!

God knows what?

Call it whatever you like but I believe that, to some extent, you create your own path in life just by being the person you are. And it’s the way YOU ARE, the way YOU THINK and the way YOU ACT that ATTRACTS certain people or certain situations at certain points in your life.

And all the positive things that have happened to me are not because I was in the right place at the right time with the right person but because I had the courage to grasp an opportunity that presented itself to me and by investing my own time and working hard, I feel that I have achieved more than I ever imagined. That’s all.

Written by: Sabina Stachnik

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20 April 2016


The DESIGN we presented IN our BOXES 
during the Magic Box - Polish Design exhibition,
Design September 2015, Brussels, Belgium


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17 April 2016

Story #5 Stuff full of elevating pleasures

Since my last post had a rather left-side convention this time I will take the third turning on the right and will get you bored with some bourgeois stuff. Bourgeois a la Village Girl - to clear it up from the very beginning.




Believe it or not but the Village Girl got stuck with the bourgeois subject for more than a week! The only thing she was confident about was the fact that she did not know what to write about. She was desperate to come up with the slightest idea, a hint, a tiny something to start with, but to no avail. Everything showed how little does she knew about the pleasures in life.
But why? - she asked herself, the Village Girl. - After all, I have been so smart until now!
No Answer.
The Village Girl decided to figure it out.

She prepared a cup of tea, put some cakes on a plate and made herself comfortable at the kitchen window. Apparently that was the best place for any kind of the Out-of-Nowhere-Appearing-Answers. After one and three quarter hours of sitting and gazing into an empty space the tea was cold and the Village Girl got bored. And the Answer had still not bothered to appear. 

Suddenly the Village Girl banged her first on the table and said - Enough is enough! Right after that she got up, ran out of the house, locked her chickens in the coop, hided the rake, then went back home, opened the fridge, took out a bottle and had a drink. The milk was off but it did not matter. In her head she was ready.
I'm ready!
Then she grabbed her little bag, slammed the font door and set off to find the Answer about Life’s Little Pleasures. 


She was travelling for years, despite many holes on the roads, murders round the corner and terrorists appearing out of nowhere. Most of the people would already have given up and gone back home. But not the Village Girl. Not her! She was unstoppable! By train, by plane, on horse, on boat, by bike, on foot, crossing of a river, crossing through the jungle - she kept moving forward and forward. She even dared to cross the Himalaya mountains!
Between you and me: she is a cleaver bitch, she did it in the full sun right in the middle of the summer time. I wouldn't call it a challenge!
Anyway, along her journey the Village Girl met plenty of Beings - Trolls and Fairies, Cockroaches and Garden Gnomes, Queens and Kings, not to mention Sir Mick Jagger, Dalajlama, Spiderman and President Obama. Unfortunately none of them could assist her out to come closer to the Answer she was looking for.


The breakthrough moment happened in a small city in the north of Europe called Brussels. There, in the early autumn, whilst looking for a place to sleep, the Village Girl saw a gigantic BOX on the street.
Hmm, a nice place to spent the night. With a carpet and a chair and some toys to play with and a beautiful view on the Brussels' street life... not bad at all. I will have a chat with this nice lady inside.
The Village Girl knocked on a plexiglas and said Hello to Aga who was the lucky one being in the Box. Never in a million years did these two charming ladies would think that that chance meeting would change their destiny. But it did!

I would like to spend a night here. On this funny carpet - said the Village Girl.
Well, this funny carpet was meant to be a part of an expo presentation but it could also turn into a mattress, why not - replied Aga.

So, the Village Girl (against any expo guidelines and general conditions or governmental security measures) was the first one to have the pleasure of spending a night in the Box. And to be honest with you that’s the moment when the story really begins.


Once Aga left the box the Village Girl made herself comfortable. At her disposal were there some interesting things: a red chair, a cartoon stool, a carpet, some wooden toys and a poster.

The Village Girl in her King-Box Apartment
enjoying the sunshine and connecting the carpet dots

The Village Girl said Hello to all of the things and for a while was just looking at them. They are nice – she thought - the shape, the colours and the texture. I like them. Than she started touching the things to see how they feel and smelling them and talking to them.
She even licked the carpet dots suspecting they might be candies! I am serious!
Once she had saturated all her senses she went to sleep. That night she had a magic dream. She was dreaming that all the nice things in the box became alive and were telling her their stories.

The Red Chair about the sadness of spending decades as a paper project in a dark desk drawer and the happiness of the day at being discovered by someone and finally created.

The Dot Carpet about the pleasure of being designed for kids, having the fun to playing with them and the relief of not ending up as a simple floor decoration.

The Wooden Toys were telling stories about secrets of the ancient woods, life changes and how it felt when it used to be a tree, got it cut down and turned into an object.

And the Cartoon Stool was telling about the joy that comes from creativity and a simple life enjoyment.

While the Poster took everyone into an incredible world full of incredible graphics where all of them were playing hide and seek.

The Box, on the contrary, was only making notes. He did not want to share his story. He only whispered to the Village Girl's ear: One day I will appear once again in your dream and tell you my secrets, my little Village Girl.

And right after that a mysterious smile appeared on the plexiglas’ window. 
Then, when everybody said what it was supposed to be say, they all built a fire and ended up singing the greatest hits of the 60’s, mostly Elvis.

The dream was over, but the big dreaming smile that was stuck to the Village Girls’ face at that moment stayed there the whole night.


The next morning was special and different to any other in the Village Girl’s life. Not only because of the beautiful dream she had last night but also because of a surprise waiting for her in front of the box. All kinds of croissants, black tea, coffee and orange juice on a tray and a blue skateboard with a short note stuck to it:

Who put it there?
No Answer.
The Village Girl did not spend much time thinking about it. She grasped a croissant, had an orange juice, washed her teeth in a next door café and made herself ready for the day of discovery.

The skateboard was a dream. Light, fast and beautiful! So that the skating down the streets felt simply amazing. The Village Girl was enjoying the ride: the wind in her hair, the sunshine on her face, the people on the street. Everything around looked more or less the same as in the other cites she had visited but at the same time totally different and new.
How strange – the Village Girl thought.
She decided to give up on the regular sightseeing and to follow the spirit of the day! Most of the time she was just skating down the streets and watching people. Nothing else. Then in the late afternoon she went to Forêt de Soignes, laid herself on the grass and contemplated the sky.

Can you imagine this?
Psst…, from a reliable source I know that there was more than that! The Village Girl was flirting with Suarez on the way to the public toilet AND, there is more! AND she was also begging for some euros for a sandwich from his Majesty Phillipe who was coincidently sitting on that afternoon on a park bench and was trying to hide himself behind his posh sunglasses!

The END 
or maybe just 

It was already dark when she came back to the box but she felt light and happy. Those were the feelings she had not experienced for a very long time. Now they were back and it felt great!

The Village Girl wanted to say thank you to the stranger who by act of a simple skateboard helped her out to get back to the feelings she had forgotten. In her pocket she had a Jupiler beer mat with a thank you note that she wanted to stick to the box. But to her surprise she has found another note for herself. She took it and read it. Then she looked around in a hope for the author of this message. But there was no one. Only an old women who was just passing by.
What a day! – said the Village Girl and went into the box to hit the sack. 
The day was over. 

Written by Sabina Stachnik

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13 April 2016

COMMUNIST-Inspired Design

The DESIGN we presented IN our BOXES 
during the Crazy Polish Communist-Inspired Design exhibition,
Design September 2014, Brussels, Belgium


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11 April 2016

Story #4 Communism welcome back!

The other day I went to a local UPS access point to collect my package. The shop was closed although the sign on the door clearly stated that it should be open. In the hope that a salesman would soon appear from a toilet or nearby, I decided to wait. 

I spent a very long hour in my car watching the neighbourhood, people on the street, listening to the radio, checking FB and hoping for the lazy salesman to magically appear in front of the store door. 

Tough luck! He wasn’t as bothered as I was.

I was hungry after working all day and angry because of the situation I found myself in that I finally gave up and went home.
Unproductive waiting time is in fact very productive - a little bird told me. And I have to say - it hit the nail on the head.
On the way back home one particular part of my brain switched on and made me reminisce to the time of my communist childhood. All of a sudden, similar to a movie tape, I saw pictures of people queuing for hours in a long line outside stores waiting for all kinds of stuff.

Right after that I had this idea to link the present with the past and to write this post.

Ladies and Gentlemen,
for once let’s have a bit of exchange!

Today on display
Yes, it does exist!

poster: Krzysztof Iwanski


When Communism crashed into Poland I was almost twelve. I was young enough to adapt to this New Reality but old enough to remember the Old One. Although I cannot say I was unhappy as a child, on the contrary, I still remember the Old One as a time of grey images lacking of every day needs.

Lack of sweets, lack of toys, lack of clothes, lack of colors, lack of anything.

This every-day-lack-of-anything was the top of all kinds of adult conversations at that time. Everybody was constantly hunting for something that was not available in any local shop. Sometimes for weeks, but mostly for months or even years.

No wonder I grew up with the belief that communism was a shitty period in Poland’s history.
Only twenty five years later and by preparing with Aga the expo Crazy Polish Communist-Inspired Design did I start to look at myself and the history of my country from a totally new perspective.


Yes! Communism was shit.
Yes! It was grey and sad.
And yes! We did not like it!
And yes, there is a but!
BUT at the same time 
it was one of the most inventive periods in Polish history.

Do  you  want  to  know  WHY?

Because this EVERY-DAY-LACK of almost everything  
pushed us towards being a society that had to rely

With almost NOTHING  
we had to invent SOMETHING
in order to live in a BETTER SHIT!

And yes! We Poles are extremely creative!
And yes! We can make things happen!
And yes! We are amazingly good at it!

And… lucky us!
Not all of the communistic projects went lost forever!
After decades of hibernation on dusty attics or hidden drawers
they appear on the market stage and are 
now available to the audience they were destined for.


Vive le Communism!
although I'm happy that it's dead.

Written by Sabina Stachnik

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04 April 2016

Story #3 One step closer to the show

On that evening I was at Aga's place. We were having our very first business-kind of meeting.
I remember myself sitting on a chair at the kitchen table and Aga standing a bit further away next to a kitchen sink when I asked this critical question:

- So, with no experience whatsoever, how are we going to manage this expo?
- A step-by-step expo guide. I have googled one on the Internet - Aga replied.

Straight away I envisaged it in my head - this googled step-by-step expo guide.

A lazy A4 printout.
With some lazy bullet points.
Maximum 10.
No details.
No description whatsoever.
Crap! Rubbish! Garbage!

I didn't make any comment because, seriously, I was convinced she was joking. But then I looked at her and I realized that she was not. She really meant it. I could see it written very clearly on her face. She was really planning to manage our expo according to a fucking step-by-step guide that she googled on the fucking Internet! And this fucking guide was supposed to save our butts!
Wow! - I said to myself - that could be really interesting. Not only the expo title, not only the boxes on the street and the communistic design which will be crazy but also the way we will run this show. What a perfect combination!

I must say I had a good laugh for the next couple of days. Then Aga sent me an email with a little attachment and I stopped laughing. The lazy step-by-step expo guide turned out to be a very professional one!

And with more than only one lazy page!
And it had all the necessary details for dummies like us!
And all the explanations, guidelines, illustrations, facts and figures!
Simply everything!
The psycho part included.

I must say I finally had an inkling what could come from this! This little piece of information really cheered me up. Really! Unfortunately, only for a while. Because once I knew what was about to happen and what steps we were going to take, did I fully realize what kind of deep shit I was in. And that there was no turning back.
Goodbye to my quiet life!

Written by Sabina Stachnik

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