photo credit: Michał Bera
Launched by Anna Bera in 2014, The Whole Elements is a design studio and a wood workshop based in Poland's Świętokrzyskie Mountains. Dedicated to creating furniture pieces, often crafted by hand from wood, the brand is notable for its bridging of art and design, with inspiration coming from Bera's observations of the relationship between humans and nature — from a biological, spiritual and cultural perspective. With particular focus on texture and sensory richness, The Whole Elements production process goes hand in hand with the brand's workshop where all of Bera's projects are implemented.
'I was born and raised in a small village in Swietokrzyskie Mountains. My studio is located near the peak of Łysa Góra, which was once one of the largest centres of pagan worship in Poland. I was brought up among rituals rooted in the beliefs of the ancient Slavs. I think that is why I am interested in a kind of intimate contact with the object and with nature. While working on the Earth Stone Wood collection, I explored the cultic significance of stones and trees. Since then, this aspect has been clearly present in my work.
For some time now, my work has been inspired by objects taken from their natural environment. At the start of the working process, I usually create a collection of objects that, for some reason – sometimes incomprehensible at this stage – fascinate and thrill me. Sometimes, this is due to the shape, construction, the structure of the surface or the colour. I study these items, trying to understand why their attributes are so moving. Next, I try to mirror selected characteristics in objects made out of wood. I think my approach to design can be called primitive. The object that comes from nature is the most important to me, and the function that it can be given is secondary. I think this stems from the belief that nature is fundamental, and therefore the most optimal space for human life. For this reason, I am interested in its attributes, which I try to discover and then implement.
Sometimes I focus on the form of the object, other times on the sensation of touch. I am interested in creating objects that are not emotionally insensitive to the user. That is why I look for those feature in nature that make it affect humans in such a strong way, such as the variety of scale, fractality, the plurality of details, dynamic light, etc.
I am interested in researching correspondence between forms in nature. I believe that by doing so I am looking for fragments of a bigger whole. Experiencing the feeling of permeation between divergent worlds is extraordinary, and it brings the feeling of unity and wholeness. I think that my search of traces connecting various materials and objects are caused by something obscure, but ever-present in my art, the conviction that the world is internally cohesive and one.'
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