Artist travels from Świnoujście to Gdańsk to shine a light on Poland’s lighthouses with series of beautifully illustrated posters and map
A graphic designer with a childhood passion for lighthouses has created a beautifully illustrated map and a series of posters and postcards of Poland’s coastal lighthouses to promote them as worthwhile tourist attractions.
To draw attention to their beauty, Sabina Strzelecka from Warsaw set out to discover all of the country’s lighthouses after being inspired during a beachside evening in Krynica Morska where she caught a glimpse of a distant flashing light.
First charmed by the lighthouse she saw as a child in the animated series ‘The Moomins’, her childhood fascination was rekindled and in the summer of 2019, she and her husband set off on their journey from Swinouście to Gdańsk, stopping at every lighthouse along the way.
The result was Strzelecka’s ‘Project Laterna’, an initiative comprising of a webpage, an illustrated map of all of Poland’s 17 coastal lighthouses, a series of 17 illustrated postcards and posters depicting each individual lighthouse, as well as limited edition bags and a memory game.
The pretty pastel coloured map and postcards are reminiscent of illustrations from children’s books, all feature a characteristic pale pink background, with a clean, simple lighthouse outline at the forefront filled in using a mixture of pale brown, red, black and white.
The lighthouses, all of which are named on each postcard, are remarkable in their visual differences from one another. They include Ustka Lighthouse, Darłowo Lighthouse and Strzelecka’s favourite, Stilo lighthouse, which she describes as having unusual colours for a Polish lighthouse.
Strzelecka told Noizz: “Coastal lighthouses and their rhythmically flickering light are something very mysterious and magical to me.
“For hundreds of years they were on the one hand a home for lighthouse men, who often, almost cut off from the world, sacrificed themselves for their work, and on the other hand, a flash of hope and symbol of homecoming for sailors.
“Today, their role has considerably changed, but luckily in many places in the world, we can visit them and observe their light.”
As well as aiming to popularise lighthouses as interesting tourist sites and encourage others to make them the main aim of their journeys, Strzelecka’s second aim for the graphic-travel project is to challenge contemporary designs used in gifts and mementoes sold to tourists as souvenirs from coastal trips.
She told Noizz: “The offer of souvenirs from the coast is quite one-sided and in a large part, kitsch. I wanted to create a situation whereby a postcard fulfils its primary role as a carrier on which you can write greetings from your holidays and send them to family or friends.
“Secondly, for it [the postcard] to be aesthetic and pleasing enough to the eye, that you want to leave it in your surroundings, such as putting it on your fridge or putting it in a frame on your desk.”
A self-confessed lantern enthusiast, Strzelecka has also visited lighthouses in Spain, Scotland, Iceland, Sri Lanka, Greece, Bulgaria and Norway.