The PALIMPSEST Residential Workshop in Łódź recently completed its first phase, offering participants a rich tapestry of experiences, insights and collaborative endeavours. From immersive walks through urban landscapes, an introduction to local practices and materials, fruitful discussions and a dive into the city’s most famous design festival, the Łódź residency workshop became a nest where interdisciplinary dialogue and creative exploration were nourished.

The workshop kicked off on the 18th of May with an introduction to its main objectives and a presentation of Mona’s El Batrik proposal “Freedom flow: Be like water”. A first walk into the urban vibes of ex-industrial site Księży Młyn initiated PALIMPSEST residency and the team was introduced to the history and cultural significance of the area. The day was concluded with a walk to Night of Museums 2024 at the Central Textile Museum of Łódź where the history of textile manufacturing was unravelled.

The second day was dedicated to a walk on the monthly Fair of Craftsmanship & Applied Art in Księży Młyn and a workshop with Krzysztof Olkusz and Jarek Brodecki on the Jasień River and the way that people can collaborate with urban Nature and the local ecosystem.

On the third day (Monday)  the team delved into the fantastic world of mycelium and its potential use in water and air purification. Małgorzata Ruszkiewicz-Michalska from the Faculty of Biology and Environmental Protection at the University of Łódź generously shared her expertise and passion for this infrastructure that is the Mycelium: the element that acts as an “information channel” connecting all living beings. What an astonishing image this is!

Tuesday was dedicated to the UNconference online event  “Creativity at Work: The Water Resource in Łódź”. During the session, Grazia Concilo, PALIMPSEST coordinator, explained the main pillars and how those are envisioned to support Łódź’s landscape challenges.  Aleksandra Sztuka-Tulinska from the Łódź City Council introduced the team to the city’s ongoing water-related projects and explained the problems, challenges and the city’s current plans. Giambattista Zaccariotto, PALIMPSEST advisory board member, focused on Water Urbanism and exchanged insights and experience from other projects.

Łódź’ Art Center team members, Michał Piernikowski, and Bogusława Bronowicka presented the city’s landscape challenges and the way they affect everyday life and Mona El Batrik, the winner of the CREATIVE DIALOGUES Open Call, presented her proposal “Freedom Flow, Be Like Water” and explained how water can be used as an element of life, re-naturalization, creativity and community bonding acting as a partial creative remedy to the city’s current reality.

The opening of the Łódź Design Festival was the perfect way to conclude the fourth day of the residency. The 2024 theme was the concept of COMFORT and designers from all over Poland and beyond showcased their proposals and prototypes to the audience. 

The residency’s fifth day was dedicated to discussions and the exchange of ideas on the valuable insights that were brought to life and cultivated during the first days of the week. Mona el Batrik had the chance to discuss more in-depth with our advisory board member Giambattista Zaccariotto and advance her proposal to an even more mature level.

Day six started with a podcast with Mona El Batrik at the University Radio studio. Mona offered her point of view on the city’s challenges and explained how she envisions Łódź through her creative but also pragmatic proposal. The day continued with a session with PALIMPSEST advisory board member Michael Jakob who offered his point of view on the proposal. The team gathered again for a workshop on “Prototyping”  to reflect on the concept, discuss examples and elaborate on how prototyping can be used within PALIMPSEST.

On the last day of the residency, the team gathered at their favourite meeting point for the morning creative collision and team bonding at the Hot Air Cafe. Later on, they headed to the  Łódź Art Center where they immersed themselves in the art of Ceramics and explored their attributes as building materials but also as elements of design and renaturation.

The residential workshop of Łódź was a one-of-a-kind experience, a valuable week filled with new knowledge, landscapes, elements, discussions, brainstorming, creative interventions, cultural understanding and of course team bonding! Stay tuned for the next phase of Mona El Batrik’s proposal – the design and testing!