Designer of the Day: Polina Miliou – SURFACE

Here, we ask designers to take a selfie and give us an inside look at their life.

Age: 32

Occupation: Artist/designer.

Instagram: @polinamiliou 

Hometown: Athens, Greece.

Studio location: Athens and Los Angeles.

Describe what you make: I make monolithic sculptural furniture that embraces color, intuition, and gestural expression. I usually subvert and upcycle humble materials like paper, expanded polystyrene foam and found objects, transforming them into unique objects. In my recent work I revisit and adapt discarded traditional and folk furniture by twisting their existing character into playful, monolithic shapes that project forms of primitivism, anonymous art and architecture, as well as character building.

The most important thing you’ve designed to date: In each work I’m trying to explore something, even if it’s just a new little thought. Therefore it’s hard to distinguish them as the personal time spent with each piece is very unique. But I’d say the collection Kyklos I’m showing at Carwan Gallery was a significant challenge. I had to create 18 pieces in three months, with purely analog and handmade techniques, without compromising the quality of the time I spent with each piece. There were a lot of moments that I completely lost myself during that time. I’m still digesting the amount of information I got the past few months and how it affected me and the work.

Describe the problem your work solves: It suggests a playful resistance in technology, use of humble materials, upcycling, naivety, instinct, and fun.

Describe the project you are working on now: I’m working on some new ideas that were born through my last collection. I’m developing assemblages of folk furniture that have different uses, to create multiple interactions on the same piece. I see this direction as more spatial.

As another continuation of the series of transformed folk and traditional objects, I’m interested in exploring materials like wicker, and weaving. These are elements you find often in folk furniture. I want to see those in juxtaposition to papier-mâché. It’d be really cool to work with a local weaver on my pieces. 

A new or forthcoming project we should know about: I currently have my debut solo show, “Kyklos” at Carwan Gallery, which is on view until Oct. 29. It’s a series of traditional and folk furniture transformed into colorful, monolithic seats whose forms could be described as both primitive and animated.

Additionally, I’m showing four pieces at the group show “Greetings from Greece,” also until Oct. 29. It’s taking place at India Mahdavi’s Project Room in Paris and includes a cool group of designers and artists from Greece.

What you absolutely must have in your studio: When I work, there’s either loud music or a horror movie playing. It’s very necessary. 

What you do when you’re not working: I’m almost always with other people, whether at an opening, drinks, or having a cocktail at my yard with my partner. I seek people. If I absolutely have to be alone, I’m obsessed with movies and/or puzzle games, which I often do simultaneously.

Sources of creative envy: The envy is in a cute way. Currently I’m obsessed with Ruben Östlund (director), Jillian Mayer (artist), Andile Dyalvane (artist), and Ahmed Morsi (painter). 

The distraction you want to eliminate: The Internet is the most obvious—it possibly applies to everyone and I’m no exception. But to be honest, it’s indecisiveness. I always linger between two things, but not because I don’t know what I want, it’s because I know they’ll both work in their own way. So tell me: how can you pick?

Concrete or marble? Concrete.

High-rise or townhouse? Townhouse.

Remember or forget? Remember.

Aliens or ghosts? Aliens.

Dark or light? Light.