PLY. Plywood Furniture

Professor Wojciech Małolepszy
Studio of Product Design (No. 6)


Janek Godlewski’s degree piece is the most interesting result of the experiments
with plywood carried out in the No.6 Product Design Studio in the last few semesters,
and its author turned out to be one of the most inquisitive experimenters.

In an era of virtual projects, Janek Godlewski prepared his project in a physical form,
in a 1:1 scale. In his degree piece he mainly used flat plywood, which minimised
the need for forming it and preparing expensive tools for furniture production.
He made use of the fact that through bending, plywood tightens and becomes
self-hardened. The resulting objects are very firm and lightweight. The proposed
type of construction of pillars and legs allows the use of production waste,
or plywood scraps. Thanks to it, the production process will not require high capital
and will be environmentally friendly.

In his investigations into the structural possibilities offered by plywood in furniture
making, Janek followed in the footsteps of such designers as Alvar Aalto, Eileen Gray,
Gerald Summers, Charles and Ray Eames, Carlo Mollino. In his degree piece
the solutions were closest to those applied by Michael Thonet in the second part
of the 19th century, and Isaac Cole. The author drew inspiration also from ideas
put into practice in aircraft industry during the interwar period, and in particular
the famous wooden structure of the lightweight bomber De Havilland DH.98
Mosquito, nicknamed Termite’s Dream.

In my opinion, the value of this project results from conscious and creative use
of the properties of the material used. The objective of the study was to examine
how this material behaves when treated differently than it usually is in the furniture
industry. The unconventional use of plywood and the resulting structural solutions
led to new, very interesting formal developments, and the offered whole is unusually
clean and coherent.


B. 1985, studied at the Department of Interior Design of the Białystok University
of Technology (2003–2011) and at the Faculty of Design at the Academy of Fine Arts
in Warsaw (2006–2011). His designs include interiors, furniture, means of transport,
lighting, clothes and shoes. His work has won awards and been recognised
in Bombay Sapphire, Espiro and Mazda Design competitions, among others.
He was a member of the project team which won the 1st prize in a conceptual
competition to design a new model of uniform for the Forestry Commission, in 2010.

T: +48 608 653 665