Stowarzyszenie Żydowski Instytuk Historyczny w Polsce

Honouring the benefactors

Honouring the benefactors


The way the benefactors of the Museum of the History of Polish Jews POLIN are honoured inside its building is a perfect example of successful cooperation between designers, the architect of the building, builders and the client, i.e. the Association of the Jewish Historical Institute of Poland. Thanks to its unconventional approach, the POLIN Museum prides itself on unique (in Poland, possibly even in Europe) visual solutions used to honour the most important benefactors of the fundraising campaign, which took place in the years 1993-2014 and led to the founding of the Museum.

Honorowanie Znamienitych Darczyńców w holu głównym Muzeum


Finding a form which would blend naturally into the exceptional building by the Finnish architect Rainer Mahlamäki was a serious challenge. Katarzyna Kunkel and Kuba Tkaczyk of the Bad Design studio with support from the interactive agency 180heartbeats + JUNG v. MATT, and the architects Magda Rostowska and Łukasz Racinowski, rose to this challenge. They had worked together before, on concept designs of the Forest gallery, as well as the installations Post ’89 – both are part of the Museum’s Core Exhibition.

Kuba Tkaczyk: Honouring the benefactors of the Museum was an extremely delicate project. Working with the Association the Jewish Historical Institute, the Museum, and particularly the outstanding figures and institutions we were about to commemorate was an honour, but at the same time - a great responsibility. We were about to disturb the open spaces of the architecture of one of the most beautiful buildings in Poland. I believe we managed to achieve the effect we strived for.




The result of this cooperation is the imposing wall in the atrium, commemorating four major categories of benefactors. The especially designed and built wall, 6 metres high and 21 metres wide, is probably the largest construction of this type in Europe. Its shape – in accordance with the conceptual framework – calls to mind a sheet of paper leaning against the wall. Its special form makes it look light, thin and paper-like, in spite of its size. The effect is enhanced by the arrangement of benefactors’ names, the choice of font and the subtly distinct colour of the wall. Museum guests have a sense of communing with a monumental and arresting art installation.



Another example of a project perfectly blended into the architectural concept of the building is the commemoration of the Distinguished Benefactors and Founders of the Museum on the curved wall in the main hall. The concept, developed by the designers from the Bad Design studio, involves honouring the benefactors in the hall, in a manner that does not disturb the exceptional impact of the curved wall and at the same time attracts attention. Thanks to close cooperation with the architect, it was possible to achieve the effect by using letters carved in natural, semi-transparent Italian quartz, the colour and texture of which perfectly correspond with the wall. Every letter, every punctuation mark was individually carved out of stone blocs and fitted to the curved wall. Because the rare and natural materials are so perfectly coordinated with the wall, the Museum was able to honour its eminent benefactors in an exceptional manner, and in an exceptional place, without disturbing the incredible impact of the Museum’s main hall.



 Foto 1 i 3: Franek Mazur, SŻIH
 Foto 2 i 4: Bartosz Dymarek, SŻIH