Gdynia designers give tired old shopfronts a makeover with impressive results

Kalbar/TFN

Traffic Design, an NGO from Gdynia, is reinventing the style of Polish shop fronts, signs, and streets.

Apart from two successful editions of Warsaw’s re:design initiative and transforming shops in Elbląg, they have now been nominated for the Polish Graphic Design award for the Orłowo market front.

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Traffic Design/ Rafał Kołsut/Facebook

Polish cities, big and small, are struggling with rampant advertising, excessive and garish, which can often be found in and around small stores or workshops.

Lack of proper regulations on the cities side and funds on the side of the owners leads to cluttered streets with an overabundance of flashy signs.

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Traffic Design/ Rafał Kołsut/Facebook

The Gdynia-based NGO, together with Warsaw City Hall, reached out to shop keepers and craftsmen, some of whom have businesses that existed for 80 years.

In this context, Traffic Design recently finished its second edition of the re:design initiative – a part of Praga-Południe district’s revitalization focusing on the aesthetic improvement of urban space and promoting Polish design.

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Traffic Design/ Rafał Kołsut/Facebook

Leading artists were again invited to cooperate, including Marta "Martisz" Ludwiszewska, Paweł Ryżko, UVMW, and Zespół Wespół.

Praga used to be Warsaw’s industrial districts and for a long time, it was facing progressing dilapidation.

However, local craftsman and entrepreneurs continue their work there, just as the area has been gaining a fresh start and hip reputation over the past few years.

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Traffic Design/ Rafał Kołsut/Facebook

Michał Olszewski, deputy Warsaw mayor, said: “This is the second edition of the craftsman signs transformation carried out on our behalf - this time in Praga-Południe.

“This transformation perfectly shows how good advertising enriches the appearance of public space. I am very happy with these changes and I hope that they will gain the favor of the residents of Grochów and Kamionek.”

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Traffic Design/ Rafał Kołsut/Facebook

The new signes, in subdues colours and retro style, appeared on Siennicka, Skaryszewska, Grochowska and Kobielska streets.

Traffic Design is an NGO which concentrates on the aesthetics of city spaces.

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Traffic Design/ Rafał Kołsut/Facebook

Established in 2012 by a team of designers, educators, and architects, the initiative’s goals include cultural and artistic education, promotion of applied arts, especially in the urban environment.

Traffic Design’s members believe it’s not just up to the local authorities to take care of how the streets look and everyone can take responsibility for what’s around them.