Design: Message on the curb

(December 2010) Curb stones, setting a border to the roadside, have been around for thousands of years. Still, creative spirits are never at a loss for new ideas. A case in point can be seen in the design competition under the auspices of Polish trade journal Nowy Kamieniarz where student Agata Kokoszka presented „Abecadło” („ABCs“), curb stones bearing letters so that messages can be carved in stone for all to see.

More than 60 entries from the four Polish academies of fine arts participated. Their task: to design an object in stone for everyday use – emphasis on everyday use. A visit to stone masons’ studios was part of the program as were talks on design in stone. Of the 30 odd submittals, 3 were chosen for prizes and were exhibited for the first time at the Kamien-Stone (see below) this year.

Agata Kokoszka bore the idea of ABC curbstones in a different context, a project in memory of a Polish poet. She was looking for a boarder to her plot and stumbled upon the obvious: curb stones. „From there the path to engraving the poet’s work on the curb stone was not far away anymore“, according to Kokoszka, „after all the material has a high symbolic value.“ By this she meant that words written in stone are heavily laden just as poets aspire their work to be.

To date, only prototypes of the ABC-curb stones have been produced by the Polish Granex Company and made of local Strezegom granite. The development of the idea is in full swing though: could lettering be applied as inlay in other stone types, or could large blocks be split up into scrabble-like alphabet blocks, one letter to a stone?

Agata Kokoszka, for one, is full of ideas. „Passers-by could be confronted with concepts like love, peace or friendship chiselled in stone, or companies could perpetuate their name“ says she. „Or why not mark a bus stop with its street name – in light?“

Two of Jarosłav Kosek’s submissions were nominated for prizes, i.e. for his „Umywalka z otoczaka“ („Sink in a Boulder“), which he had conceived for small glacial erratics as can often be found strewn about the Polish landscape. Working the block, an ordinary saw is used to hollow out the stone. So the design demonstrates „uniqueness all the while allowing for repetition“. According to Kosek: the stone is unique and remains virtually untouched, the work with the saw is repetitive.

To Kosek it was important that production does not require an industrial setting. „Every company working in stone has its saw and can reproduce my sink design“, says he. He already has an entente to mass produce with Polgranit, the company which realized the pieces for the exhibit.

Another concept revolving around this idea is to bring a piece of the exterior indoors. „Everyone knows or has seen erratics at the fringe of the woods but to encounter one in a living area is always good for a surprise“, according to the design student.

In contrast his second piece bearing the title „Płytka okładzinowa“ („3D-tile“) is entirely mathematical. It is a tile with irregular slants on its surface. Combining the pieces, e.g. four to a square, produces a pattern, which can be repeated exponentially.

In developing the idea, the designer was drawn to the fascination of geometry, a passion to him. The tiles exhibited at the fair measured 40 cm x 40 cm. „Of course they can be produced smaller or larger at will“, according to Kosek. The samples were made by Italian based Euro Porfidi in Pietra Serena Sandstone.

Agata Kokoszka (Polish)


Jarosłav Kosek (Mail)


Euro Porfidi

Nowy Kamieniarz

Kamien-Stone Trade Fair

The second Trade Fair Kamien-Stone was held from November 10th to 13th in Poznań. The fair counted 7500 visitors – give or take, of which 90% were Polish locals. Exhibitors numbered 330, of which 61% made their way from abroad. Half of the exhibitors were vendors of heavy machines. An entire hall was dedicated to mini exhibitors from China catering to the technical requirements of grave stone production.