When you hear the word ‘luxury’, you immediately feel the refinement of velvet as well as the coldness of marble at your fingertips and see the sublime hue of mahogany. The architect and visionary Adam Korulczyk gives these indispensable elements of luxury a futuristic touch in his own? futuristic features in his own designs. The typical aerodynamic line is one of his trademarks, regardless of the context in which it was applied, be it on a building façade, interior design or luxurious yachts. After almost 20 years in the industry, Adam Korulczyk is able to realise the visions of investors while not losing their identification with the designer. How can architecture overcome the formal-design and economic-functional stigma to reach the level of art?
( Aerodynamic styling of the railway station interior designed by Adam Korulczyk )
You studied interior design at the Academy of Fine Arts in Gdańsk. Currently, your activities extend far beyond interior design. You also deal with façade lighting and the design of unique architectural objects.
One of the subjects during my studies at the academy was the propaedeutics of urban planning, where we learned the interdependence of interior design and urban planning. It was a theoretical-practical course cycle called “dialogical city”. Here I became aware that the interiors of apartment buildings and office buildings are in dialogue with the context of the streets and building façades. Here I learned about the notion of scale between the interior of the houses and the exterior, and the decoding process of the exterior in the context of the interior. This analysis led me to look more broadly at interior design.
The building scale became the furniture and unique interior design scale. The scales and ornaments of the façades merged into the interiors on the wall decoration. Advertising signs and other inscriptions on the building façades formed an analogy to the corporate design and wall decorations in the form of paintings in the interiors. Fountains, outdoor exhibition objects and effective flyovers are nothing more than sculptures and lighting constructions. The whole urban structure, its functionality and form are transferable to interior design. The influence and urban planning geometric analysis of the traffic arteries in capital cities flowed into my perception of interior architecture.
These connections and the perception of “interchangeable architecture” established an order in my design that may be perceived as pure coincidence at first glance, but is actually built on tangible art principles. This was the first stage in my perceptual shift from the micro to the macro design scale.
The search for my individual architectural expression led me to the elaboration of a geometric code. It is an original stylistic line that I use in my designs. Constructed on the basis of the golden section, it is made up of several sections that are composed with each other through arcs in the appropriate constellation and spatial harmony in an aerodynamic geometry. This created an original composing style that fits beautifully into my multidisciplinary projects.
You have been in the design industry for almost 20 years. How has your perception of architecture changed over the years?
My adventure with art and design began in 1989 when I won an award in a school art competition “Help in a Disaster”. I can still remember drawing a rescue helicopter with a stretcher hanging from a rope to recover victims of an air disaster. This award gave me the drive to get more involved with art. At that time, you could buy American films on video cassettes. They all showed the American Dream with the Manhattan panorama in the background. Such an accumulation of skyscrapers in one picture made an enormous impression on me at the time. I often grabbed a ruler and a sheet of paper and eagerly tried to draw what I saw in perspective. I didn’t know anything about geometric principles yet, but I did my best to reproduce architectural structures with the help of perspective. Something pulled me in the direction of geometry and fine arts like a magnet.
In 1992 I passed the entrance examination to the Lyceum of Fine Arts in Olsztyn. There I learned the basics of graphic design, technical drawing, calligraphy, painting as well as academic drawing, sculpture and three-dimensional spatial composition. Both the art history and technical drawing I learned at school influenced my career choice. However, I was at the beginning of a long road. Another stage was formed by my interest in the basics of descriptive geometry.
In 1997 I began studying interior design at the Academy of Fine Arts in Gdańsk, where I was able to expand my knowledge of both art and design. Drawing, painting, sculpture, graphics, architectural design – framed by urban planning – melted together into a clear perception of space and gave the newly designed forms a basic style.
I discovered a common denominator for the perception of the architectural micro and macro scale, which was connected by a balanced multi-geometric structure. This, on the other hand, was built on the foundations of sculptural counterpoint and the golden section of space. It was another step in my artistic development.
Putting the new knowledge into practice was certainly a challenge.
You can put it that way. My next stop was working in the Tricity. I took my first steps in the industry. I worked in all kinds of design studios on cabinet designs and kitchen furniture. That’s how I got to know the technology and the market.
Further experience brought me work in an architectural studio in Gdynia. It wasn’t until 2005 that my path led me to Warsaw, where I was able to improve my design in renowned studios. This included a studio that dealt with interior design for corporate banking and private banking.
In 2010 I founded my own company, which at that time dealt with specialised design in the fields of architecture, interiors, furniture and graphics. I won the competition for updating the standardisation book of all branches of ING Bank in Poland, which I call the Interior Standardisation Book. This was a complex design of all aspects of interior design. I coordinated the implementation of the design – from the floors, unique curvilinear walls and system glazing, ceilings, lighting, electrical measures, air-conditioning and security systems to original furniture design and catalogue equipment.
My architectural perception was constantly evolving. Each new design is a new challenge that determines the transformation of the artistic processes and the consciousness of execution.
You are a visionary, artist and designer – that’s the kind of information you find on the internet. To what extent does art alternate with functionality in your designs? Does it perhaps depend on the character of the space or place in which you work?
Today’s designer tools allow to create very complex geometric structures and unique stylistic lines of architecture and design. At the same time, architecture cannot exist without a receiver.
The visionary is nothing more than creating aerodynamic geometric-structural aspects that are, on the face of it, unrealisable. Pragmatically, however, they can be realised. Their artistry, on the other hand, gives them an architectural lightness and uniqueness. My architecture seems to “fly” geometrically, but is statically anchored in the executed reality.
( Modern villa designed by Adam Korulczyk )
In my designs, I disguise the expectations of the investor in the geometric and innovative stylistic details I propose. It is a peculiar and clear dialogue between the created style, the functional guidelines of the investor and the geometric, colourful as well as structural canon of beauty, which is completed by original and noble details. All this is transcribed with the help of a real, technical language consisting of precise information for execution.
How do you start working on a new project?
The first basic phase of a project – right after analysing the investor’s expectations – is decoding the already existing and the planned spatial-cultural context. When working on an architectural concept, which also includes the functionality of the site, I take into account the local conditions that emerge from the spatial development plan. This determines the framework on the basis of which the new creation can be made. Another aspect to consider is the investor’s inspirations and guidelines regarding the function of the object, as well as the individual spaces. One must remain in harmony with one’s lifestyle and work style.
The visionary attitude is only a small fraction of the artistic potential of a designer. The rest is made up of other skills, which include the actual designing – and in my opinion this is not based on putting ready-made furnishing elements or ready-made cuboid shapes into the space, but on creating an original and refined stylistic line that fits into the framework of the investor’s expectations. It is a real art to offer something individual and original in this small field of creation. Thus, it is the possibility to move and live out artistically in a “small” area. This area can be small and large at the same time – everything depends on the potential of the architect.
( Skeleton skyscraper “FRAME” designed by Adam Korulczyk)
You are the founder of the Luxury Futuristic Design style. What is hidden behind this name?
The application in yacht interiors of mahogany and burl wood covered with dozens of layers of high-gloss lacquer, nubuck, suede and velvet upholstery, mother-of-pearl incrustations, polished Crema Marfil natural marble or resin-covered travertine, among others – all these materials are part of luxury interiors all over the world. When we dress these elements in a fine, extraordinary aerodynamic line, we get the style I have created called Luxury Futuristic Design (LFD). It can be seen, for example, in the interior design of a residence in the Mokotów district of Warsaw that I am currently working on (Case Study 015). The main goal of this investment was to design the interiors in the LFD style. This was expressed, among other things, in the line of the furniture at the bar, as well as in the acoustic ceiling part in the chill-out room, on the walls in the bedroom and in the wall system in the living room. The same approach characterises the vertical elements of the balustrades, where the futuristic geometry has been combined with the classic and elegant material of the handrail. The LED edge lighting in the vertical window system in the salon, which is decorated with a sand pattern in classic vintage style, also brings together the aforementioned aspects of the décor.
Nowadays, people often work with the copy-paste principle in the field of architecture. This makes designing faster and at the same time one saves on the creative part of the work, which also reduces production costs. The materials and finishes are copied, which means that in the majority of architectural objects there are hardly any elements that allow the designer to identify them. They are only products of economic-functional factors.
By applying elements of the three-dimensional LFD code, the streamlined and bionic geometry flows into the architecture. Thanks to it, the functional and image-building expectations of the investor are united with the individual aspects of the architect’s artistic ego.
So it is the latest generation of design?
The concept of the latest generation of design is nothing other than the result of expectations as well as the demand for ever newer stylistic aspects of architecture, the characteristics of which are recognisable in the phenomenon of the lines and structure of geometric aerodynamics.
Despite their preference for futuristic stylistics, one can also find designs in their portfolio in which elements of traditional architecture appear – for example, the Japanese residence in Ukta or the design of the Chopin Studio.
In fact, there are such exceptions where the designs are characterised by classical features. These designs tie in with the geometry of classical architectural orders and Far Eastern stylistics. In a way, such projects are a departure from LFD design.
You work on designs that are built in a wide variety of places. Did you discover any differences in the way architecture and design are approached?
The majority of the institutions I worked with preferred the modern line with LFD accents, and so I was able to meet the innovative expectations of the investors. In such cases, the local-cultural elements are considered to have a decorative function. A good example of this is the aerodynamic curtain wall of the railway station I am currently working on (Case Study 030). When we assign LFD elements to the latest trends in architecture, an original character of façades, interiors and design emerges, which can be described as the “latest generation of design”.
( Railway station in aerodynamic geometry – designed by Adam Korulczyk )
As it has already been mentioned, you work in a wide variety of fields – you design stylistic lines for yachts, different institutions, airports, shopping malls, hospitals, and so on. What can your potential clients expect?
Architecture has two poles. The first pole is the designer’s imagination. The second – the technical possibilities. If we move skilfully and methodically between them, we can work on countless levels. In hospitals, railway stations, airports as well as shopping centres, their precise guidelines influence the architecture. Here, function determines the character of the division of space and communication.
I keep all these aspects and factors, which always occur in such objects, in mind. My basic task is to create a system of objects that determine the programme of use. This is done in discussion with the investor’s expectations. Potential investors can expect a personal approach. I carry out each project with the utmost care. Only in this way am I able to precisely implement the client’s expectations in the architectural objects, interiors and design.
Do you find that architecture fills a mission these days? Perhaps you have your own?
I think that architecture – just like in the past – testifies to the social status of the client. The biggest investors in the world are competing with each other for stylistically innovative executions, which is raising the bar in the architecture industry. The Burj Khalifa building in Dubai, which amazed me with its scale and restrained form during its construction in 2009, is an excellent example of this. The Burj Al Arab hotel, completed in 1999, made an even greater visual impression. It became the luxurious accent and architectural pearl of Dubai. Dripping with luxury yet understated, this architectural icon is also a symbolic synonym of the investors’ market position. During my next stays in the United Arab Emirates, I looked at another building in Abu Dhabi – the Emirates Palace. There, too, I observed classicist architectural details and furnishings of the highest quality. These buildings differ in style, but at the same time they are engaging. They combine the dialogical aspects of the present design and futurism with the classical style of the ornamentation of the interior and details of the façade.
My mission is to develop original architectural solutions with individual geometric character that support people’s life and work.
( Pharmaceutical stand concept for private investor in Abu Dhabi )
On your homepage you can find the quote: “Geometry touched by spark of talent is the visionary essence of architecture style”. Could you elaborate on this?
A spark of talent filters that certain something out of architecture. Many architects of different works have this talent. This is how they are able to create works of art. When an architect works to create something not just superficial, he analyses all the factors to be able to give the best suggestions regarding the expectations of the potential investor.
When the talent given by the creator is used in the design process, the result is a perfectly geometrically and structurally balanced form – the essence of architecture. The rest is the response to the constraints of space and use. Without the use of talent, the architecture forms only a purely formal design response.
How do you reconcile the client’s vision with your own?
The client is looking for the opportunity to realise his vision through a designer who works with those forms of expression that are consistent with his convention. So it is fair to say that a person looking for a designer already has a template of preference that converges with the potential creator’s designs and realisations. The investor himself is a co-creator and gives permission for his vision to be clothed in the forms of expression that – transformed by the artist – enable the realisation of his idea. The architect brings out the client’s concept and provides it with a form.
A precise dialogue of the designer with the client serves to prepare a complete collection of data, on the basis of which the realisation takes place that satisfies both sides.
( Modern skyscrapers designed by Adam Korulczyk )
( Interior of the corporate branch of ING Bank in Łódź – Poland / Łódź on Kopcińskiego Street )
Is the end result a question of money?
Design services and their realisation belong on the market. If you want to become successful on the market, you need the capital. Only then can you open and maintain a studio. In order to realise the geometric form, you need the first artistic factor – the idea. This is therefore the most valued market product. The steps that follow are only its material justifications. We are talking about the most important and most appreciated artistic field which enables the transformation of an idea into a final result.
During the design process, the conception stage occurs cyclically, although it is assumed that it is only the case at the beginning. A good theme needs to be verified all the time. Throughout the process, the architect analyses all the successive states and verifies his work. He records this in the designs. Similar to a good chess player, he recognises possible conflicts, makes future considerations and excludes the possible collisions so that his work is perfectly balanced in every aspect. The investor buys not only the object of the contract, but also the architect’s time, which is recorded in the object.
A potential investor knows the business principles and has the skills to turn the architectural product into a profit. It can be recognition, commercial value or comfort of use. The investment status is a question of money. The client’s wallet meets the architect’s artistic wallet, resulting in a perfect product with which both sides are satisfied.
( Interiors of a residence in Warsaw’s Mokotów district designed by Adam Korulczyk )
Which of your designs or created objects is your favourite?
I don’t have a favourite theme, as each design is individual in its form, content and treatment. I prefer companies in which I can bring out my geometric sensibility. Some examples of this: the penultimate design of the pharmaceutical site of a private investor in Abu Dhabi (Case Study 026) or the design of the magnetic train station in Jakarta (Case Study 024). They also include the interiors of the corporate branch of ING Bank in Łódź on Kopcińskiego Street (Case Study 009). The common feature of all these projects is characterised by the geometric factor based on the LFD code.
Among the interesting ideas designed according to the golden section in the modernist style, we find a residence I have called Makarska Riviera (Case Study 018). It is a conception for a foreign client in Croatia. Often I only work on the architectural concept, as the investors mainly expect balanced designs that compose themselves into the context and at the same time fulfil their function. This part of the work is very time-consuming. This object is the final goal of an investor’s search for an autonomous space, far from the noise of the city. The object is composed of a composition of ashlars conceived according to the golden section. The buttresses seem to clip into the landscape and structure of the valley. Vertical, mobile grass surfaces were used in the interior, allowing the interior to dialogue with the coastal landscape and the nature surrounding it. One of the walls forms the natural cliff face. The building is separated into two independent parts – a living area and an office area, where there is a green area in the atrium – this makes the microclimate more attractive in bad weather.
Each project is very important to me – I feel connected to each one on a mental level.
How does it feel when a concept that first originated in your head is then transferred to paper and finally – after several stages – materialises before your eyes?
Actually, I distinguish three moments in which the degree of satisfaction is at its highest. First, it’s the artistic phase, when my vision meets the investor’s expectations. Then it’s the moment when I step onto the building site. The idea experiences a rebirth. Eventually, the final moment when the investment celebrates its official opening. The rest of the time is filling in the gaps between these stages with patience.
( Makarska Riviera Residence designed by Adam Korulczyk )
What architectural and design challenge would you like to take on in your career?
I have many architectural solutions in my head that are constantly evolving. Apart from such architectural objects as yachts, airports, residences on rocky hills, shopping malls and skyscrapers, I love to work on flats, banks and porches that have ten floors.
But I dream of a multifunctional architectural complex that would be 100 kilometres long and powered by renewable energy sources – the sun, wind, water and geothermal energy. If a serious group of investors could be found for such an initiative, I would be happy to present my multi-structural architectural concept.