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Marek Bimer - Objects That Enhance My Life
Marek Bimer - Objects That Enhance My Life

Marek Bimer, a versatile designer, artist and sculptor, likes to surround himself with objects that bear the mark of time. He is fascinated by the natural processes that occur within the matter and seeks synthetic forms, values minimalism and appreciates having space that does not restrict his creative freedom.

OMNIRES: How did you find yourself in this place, in this house?

Marek Bimer; My family and I moved around quite often; we had several different apartments and houses that always seemed our ultimate destination each time. However, I am always tempted to change something, to remodel, to arrange. I am always on the lookout. Our previous apartment was very beautiful, but it had one fundamental flaw. I didn’t have my own space to work. I was looking for something that would provide me with my own workspace, and I found this place here. There are hardly any spaces like this left in Warsaw, so this apartment is quite unique. 

The previous building was completely unlike the current one. Have you made many changes while pursuing your vision?

This corner of Sadyba (a district of Warsaw), totally amazing by the way, is probably the only one in the area with an industrial character. In the past, this area was dominated by car repair shops, and I think there is still one functioning. Initially, this was simply a warehouse. Later, its owner decided to live in it and adapted the interior to his needs. The apartment he set up had many rooms. When I saw it, I immediately saw the potential of getting rid of all these rooms. I wanted one large open space.

Did it require a lot of work?

I wouldn’t say so, as I left behind a great deal of the original matter. The walls are not plastered; they are cracked and show the marks of time. The ceiling, the beams, some of the walls – it’s all original, raw. The work was more about adjusting the details and rearranging. As everything was quite simply constructed, the main task was to dismantle and dispose of some of the elements.

You treat the ageing of buildings as a process that is also beautiful. You exhibit elements of patina in your sculptures. Do you treat your home like a work of art?

I have to immodestly admit that I do. Patina is not only a functional effect but also a visual result that I aim for. I practically have no new items of furniture in my home. I love it when old leather sofas get a layer of patina. I don’t have a problem with dogs going crazy on the sofas, scratching them in the process. I enjoy seeing a tabletop getting worn or a concrete floor cracking. This is all included in the costs of using these items. The patina effect is my favourite. Some of my sculptures, all the ones that stand outside, have been finished by nature on my behalf. I love seeing them covered with rust after they are rained and snowed on. They are subject to natural degradation, which is a process that happens at my request but outside of my influence. This is when these objects come alive. Sculpture is so important to me because it is alive.

What made you take up art? How did your artistic path begin? 

It started in a rather obvious way. My mother was a sculptor, and her husband, my stepfather, was also a sculptor. I was brought up among many outstanding artists who used to visit our house, so it wasn’t surprising that I got the art bug. When the time came to decide about my university studies, I chose graphic arts at the Academy of Fine Arts. I chose this faculty despite the advice of my mother, who always wanted me to become a sculptor, but I wished to learn as much as possible. Graphic arts provide a very comprehensive level of education. You can learn painting, and you can dabble with sculpture; however, the main and incredibly extensive emphasis is on graphics. During this time, I learnt about poster art, design, packaging design and, above all, about all the tools used in graphic arts. This knowledge provided me a wide range of opportunities. After graduating from the Fine Arts Academy, I decided to start working in advertising. That was where all the skills I had acquired came in very handy.

How did you go from working in advertising to focusing exclusively on your own art?

I worked in advertising for 30 years. I did the biggest campaigns out there. I won the most important awards that can be won. I found more than half of this period very interesting and rewarding. There came a time, however, when I started to get bored and tired of it, so after work, I focused on things that gave me satisfaction. My mother kept saying that I should drop everything, that I should start sculpting. When she died in 2015, I did just that. This decision coincided with my wife’s illness. That’s when I decided to stop working away from home so that I could spend more time with her. My creativity flourished during that period. My wife and I devoted practically all our time to art.

How would you describe your relationship with art? Does it give you satisfaction?

Artists are very specific individuals, as they simply have to create. When they are prevented from creating, they feel unhappy. This is how I have functioned since my early childhood. In the beginning, advertising resembled the Wild West and Eldorado. You could do anything you wanted, and I did things I perceived as works of art. Functional art, of course. Advertising is a utilitarian activity; it is bespoke work, and it is meant to serve a purpose. As long as the element of creation was there, and there was a lot of it, I was content, and my creative drive was satisfied.

I am fortunate, however, that in the autumn of my life, I can focus solely on what gives me 100 percent satisfaction. And this satisfaction is due to the fact that I can do exactly what I want to do. I don’t need to concern myself with anyone else. I am absolutely free. I like to paddle my own canoe. And I find this wonderful.

What are your inspirations? What defines your style?

As I have mentioned, art has been present in my life since I was born, first because of my mum, then my studies at the Academy of Fine Arts; my wife was also an outstanding artist. Although I was involved in advertising, art has always played a crucial role in our lives. By way of example, when we were going somewhere on holiday, the itinerary was prepared to include art-related locations. We have been looking at art all our lives and have visited hundreds of exhibitions and art venues. Our interest in art has always been enormous – we have been reading art magazines, books, and albums, devouring any art-related news. Over the years, I have stuffed my luggage of art experiences to the full – now, I have millions of references at my fingertips. I have to make a gigantic effort to curb this in some way because I have a thousand inspirations and a thousand different paths I could be taking, and I certainly will. I like all kinds of sculptures. There are blocks of resin concealing various items that I no longer need. I invented this technique myself. I also do the most archetypal sculptures in clay, modelling clay or plaster, and I find such work almost mystical in nature. I don’t shut myself off – if an idea comes to me that is different from what I am working on, I pursue it. I am not worried about someone accusing my work of insufficient coherence.

Can you tell us about the objects we see here? Nobody could describe them as lacking in coherence.

These sculptures illustrate the latest, incredibly crucial period in my creative life. Because of the formula itself and the type of sculpture, references can be found here to the greatest masters of the twentieth century who used a synthetic, almost abstract form, a kind of simplification. Hans Arp, Constantin Brancusi, Henry Moore, Isamu Noguchi and Barbara Hepworth come to mind. I am most interested in searching for the purest of possible forms, which represent something on the verge of abstraction, are highly symbolic and, above all, synthetic. Synthesis is also a quintessential part of working in advertising. If you have to tell a story about an object in a fifteen-second TV commercial, you have to design it synthetically. And this is a kind of discipline that I learnt in advertising and before that from my outstanding teachers, such as Professor Mieczysław Wasilewski, who I was lucky enough to learn from at the Academy of Fine Arts. 

How would you describe the experience of creating sculptures at the level of physical contact with the material? How does it feel?

For example, if I’m working with plaster, and I like this technique very much although it is tiring work, and I’m working on a sculpture in a one-to-one format, with no textures but a pristine surface, and transitions from curvature to curvature are extremely important, then at a certain point the sense of sight is no longer necessary, it even starts to get in the way. Then I literally close my eyes or switch them off. All I am left with is the sense of touch. Nothing can detect the falsity of a curve or shape better than a hand. And that is amazing. Apologies for the comparison, but I can compare it with embracing a woman in the dark. As your eyes are no longer needed, your other senses come alive. This is an incredible sensation. And this is how I experience it.

The minimalist, simple form of the OMNIRES SWITCH kitchen sink mixer caught the artist's eye, perfectly fitting in with his way of thinking about interiors. In a house filled with works of art, the kitchen provides an unostentatious backdrop for the sculptures. The mixer creates a harmonious composition with the kitchen space, fulfilling both practical and aesthetic functions.

Do any of the objects here have a sentimental value for you?

Yes. I always have to be surrounded by my wife’s artwork. It is most important to me. A few pieces hang here, such as this painting with a stone. I always have to be near her portrait made by the eminent Polish sculptor Barbara Zbrożyna. It is always keeping a watch over me. And then there are my favourite works by my friend Michał Slezkin. And also my mother’s sculptures, with several of them standing here. These things have a personal meaning to me. I also really like all the furniture. I made most of the items myself, so I like to surround myself with them. 

The table too?

All the tables standing here are by me. The large one we are sitting at was made according to my design. The tabletop is made of ancient black oak. And the idea is for it to wear and tear. This is despite it costing a fortune. These small tables are uniform circles of mahogany that my father once brought back from Africa. It’s interesting that this one stood outside for twenty years, and this one was always inside. The same type of wood yet so different from each other. I prefer the one that stood outside.

How important is the function of objects for you? Those you create, but also those you surround yourself with?

The sculpture has no utilitarian function. Sculpture is supposed to create sensations, and this is its sole function. I separate my work into sculptures, i.e. non-luminous and luminous objects. Of course, the ones that provide light, apart from their form, are also closely linked to their function, and I pay a lot of importance to that. The material emanates beautiful light with a pleasant tone. There are objects that illuminate functionally, i.e. they illuminate the table, and you can eat and spend time in their company. There are also objects that have a purely decorative function; they can only be treated as supplementary lighting. These objects can also be regarded as sculptures – they are as much alive when they are lit as when they are switched off. The forms have a unique structure and shape, and the moment you light them up, they become something completely new. That’s what fascinates me most about them. I also work with interiors. Not professionally, but I have designed a few interiors in my life, not just for myself. When I’m embarking on an interior design project, function is of core importance to me.

You have an open-plan kitchen. Art plays a key role in this particular room. You have recently installed the OMNIRES SWITCH mixer with a water filtration system in your kitchen. How do you find it?

I have been using various kitchen sink mixers with filtration systems for some time now. I have long needed a mixer that filters water, so the idea is not new to me. However, what attracted me to this mixer was its simplicity. It fits into my canon of thinking synthetically about form. I really like the minimalist design of this mixer. What appeals to me most about the way you use the mixer is that you don’t need any additional switches or dials for switching the filter that you would have to install on the countertop. Here, everything is hidden with an attractive design finish. The form is modest but beautiful, not exaggerated. It matches my physical interior, which is my home, but it also agrees with my way of thinking about form. I am happy about my choice. The colour suits me too. I chose it so that it goes with the interior.

You create your interiors with great care. Are you planning to stay here for good?

I love living here. Apart from the living room, which is 180m2 with the kitchen, I only have a bedroom, a bathroom and a dressing room, so it’s really an apartment for one or two people. Living in such a space is fantastic. This apartment might be my final home. I wouldn’t want to move. Yet all the time, of course, I’m thinking that maybe, at some point in the future, I could have an even bigger workspace that would restrict me even less. I’ve never lived outside a city, but I imagine that it might be interesting. I might like to have even more dogs and a space where I could display objects related to outdoor art and, above all, have a big, even bigger studio. These are the kinds of things that go through my mind sometimes.—

The story was styled by the Warsaw-based duo JAM KOLEKTYW.

In the presented collaboration showcased in our magazine, OMNIRES takes centre stage with its compelling project series, 'Objects That Enhance My Life.' This initiative is a deep dive into the personal spaces of creators, revealing how OMNIRES' designs play a pivotal role in elevating everyday moments. 

“Through this series, we commit to telling the stories of individuals whose unique living and working environments are as distinctive as they are, reflecting their identities and souls. Our lifestyle can combine functionality with beauty, emphasising the importance of individual preferences and memories’ stages the brand. 

This philosophy resonates throughout their journal of corporations, providing a refreshing narrative and inviting us to ponder our personal values and the spaces we inhabit, urging us to create environments that positively affect our daily lives. 

The OMNIRES Switch mixer with a water filtration system became background character of the brand's journal 'Objects That Enhance My Life.'

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Thisispaper Magazine
A book of stories about thinkers and makers.
In this publication we have collected stories from the designers and artists that inspire us with their creativity and skill. Whether working in fashion, design, photography or architecture, they share the commitment to process and have a strong, personal voice.

How do you create an inspiring workplace? How does the space we work in influence our health? Can the workspace boost your creativity and well-being? To answer these questions we reached out to experts in the field.
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