superchat katowice: michal kubieniec + geszeft

located in the silesia region in the south of poland, katowice is a post-industrial city with an emerging force in design, art, architecture and fashion. we caught up with one of the masterminds behind local retail gem geszeft, michal kubieniec, to talk shop and the local spirit that defines the city's flourishing creative community.

can you fill us in on the background of geszeft and its retail evolution? the idea behind geszeft was born at kato bar, the spot i run with dominik tokarski [co-owner of geszeft]. we started out by creating gifts and gadgets sold at the bar, aimed at promoting the local area. we were seeing many other creatives, designers and artists who were also inspired by our local region and as time went by, we decided to open a small shop. the idea was to sell local products and also polish designers from other regions. after some time we realized there were so many designers in the area that we went strictly local and we are now working with about 50 silesian designers from katowice alone. so basically, geszeft has become a kind of a start-up platform for young designers and the first place they're able to show their products.

tell us about the local scene in katowice? i've lived in katowice for about eight years now and i've watched the city change quite dramatically over the years. from an industrial to a post industrial city where design has become an important element in many areas. its quite an interesting vibe here where creatives are proud of the region and it influences their projects often. designers here i think are very inspired by our industrial tradition. we have jewelry made of coal, t-shirt slogans in local silesian dialect and many other industrial inspired items. we wanted to showcase these types of things in our store and base it on this theme.

who is the geszeft customer and what is their story? actually, we were very surprised when we opened to see such a diverse set of people buying things from the store. it's hard to pin point the exact type of person who shops here, but that was sort of the idea. geszeft is a place where anyone can come and find something that suits them. we were really avoiding the model of appealing to only one type of customer and i think so far it's working well.

we love the geszeft interior, what inspired the design and lay-out? we wanted the interior to correspond to the spirit of silesia, which has a minimalist, raw and industrial character. so, the interior really just reflects the look and feel of the whole local area, sort of silesia in a nutshell.

what is the current mood of polish fashion and retail in your opinion? i think poland is a place inspired by local tradition, so you see a lot of designers using local materials and working with regional craftsmen to redefine traditional fashion. this is reflected by what you see on the street and in the stores. lots of referencing the past in a modern way.

how do you go about selecting the creatives you work and collaborate with at the store? we basically search online or otherwise discover people at local fashion events. we also talk with alot of friends who work in fashion and design, to introduce us to new talent in our area. 

are you planning to open other locations, and if so, are you looking to introduce your brands internationally? we are actually thinking to open a new spot outside of poland, we'll have to see. we are currently involved in a design exhibition in berlin and we will be showing some of our products there coming december. it will be our first step to see if people are interested in what we do. it'll be interesting to see how that goes.

can you give us a few recommendations - where should we be when in poland? come to katowice! it's really the best place. we have great architecture, a creative atmosphere and an industrial soul. there are a lot of design-oriented places to visit... but we'll wait till you come before we reveal everything!

geszeft - ulica morcinka 23-25, 40-124 katowice.