Artist pays homage to Warsaw districts with striking silver jewellery

The bridge across the Wisła inspired the Powiśle piece. Kasia Szafarska

A Kraków-based student has caught the attention of Poland’s design sector with a jewellery project inspired by her love of Warsaw.

Titled 022 – a reference to the capital’s telephone code – Kasia Szafarska’s work has been given nationwide exposure after originally featuring in the Polish lifestyle bible WhiteMad. Created as part of her diploma thesis, Szafarska drew on her passion for urban Warsaw to create a line richly brimming with symbolism.

“My biggest inspiration were the emotions I felt towards the city,” she tells TFN. “When I originally visited Warsaw 14 years back it was love at first sight, and I immediately wanted to learn more about its history, districts and day-to-day life – now, this project has helped me do that.”

The Praga-Północ ring reflects the irregular lines of broken bricks.Kasia Szafarska

Picking out the five areas of Warsaw that meant the most to her, Szafarska – a design student at the Pedagogical University of Kraków – then set about devising a jewellery line that would channel the spirit of these districts.

“Behind the collection there’s several months of thinking, analysis, drawing and learning,” she says, “but I hope that I’ve managed to capture the essence of each inspiration to present a truly personal view of the city.”

Choosing to focus on Ursynów, Praga-Północ, Powiśle, Saska Kępa and Żoliborz, the upcoming designer then prepared a mind map followed by 3D models of her ideas. Based upon these visualizations and technical drawings, the Arlekin jewellery studio in Kraków then executed Szafarska’s ideas by transforming them into silver jewellery.

“For the bracelet I took inspiration from the overhead view you get of Żoliborz’s central point, Plac Wilsona,” says Szafarska.Kasia Szafarska

“The first,” she says, “was a necklace that refers to all the prefabricated buildings found in the Ursynów district; next, there’s a brooch inspired by the spiral stairs of Saska Kępa’s pre-war, modernist White Villa on Francuska.

“For the bracelet, meanwhile, I took inspiration from the overhead view you get of Żoliborz’s central point, Plac Wilsona, while for the Praga-Północ district, the ring is reflective of all of the irregular lines of broken bricks you’ll find on the facades of buildings.”

Perhaps the most striking piece, however, is Szafarska’s tribute to Powiśle, a pair of earrings built to imitate the iconic Most Świętokrzyski, a modern day suspension bridge that has come to define the dynamic nature of this fiercely on-trend area.

A spiral staircase inspired the Saska Kępa piece.Kasia Szafarska

Explaining the outsized dimensions of her jewellery, Szafarska attributes this to her desire to spotlight these districts in an impactful way: “Each piece has an intentionally exaggerated form,” she says, “which I hope manages to intrigue and encourage people to familiarise themselves with the places to which each one relates to.”

Yet if the intention was for her line to stand out, Szafarska has nonetheless been taken by surprise at the reaction her work has received from the public.

“Truly, I never expected so much interest in this collection, nor the amount of positive comments, but if anything it’s motivated me to push on and work all the harder.”

The blocks of Ursynów in silver.Kasia Szafarska

Though currently existing solely as a one-off project, she is now hopeful that the series will become more widely available.

“That’s my next goal,” she adds, “and something I’ve already started working on – I want to share this collection with people so that they see it as something physical rather than just pictures on a computer screen.”

Spurred to begin creating jewellery on her own (which can be found on her Instagram account, @kasiaszafarska), she is optimistic that this could yet be the beginning. “I realise I still have a lot to learn,” she concludes, “but I’m positive that 022 won’t be my last jewellery collection, and I’m hopeful that in the near future I’ll see people wearing both this and other pieces designed by me!”