Creativity according to Marta Bakowski

Can you present yourself ?

I am a designer, colorist and visual artist. I set up my own design studio almost ten years ago and I practice a transversal approach mixing both my industrial and artistic education with craftsmanship inspired know-how. Color is central to my work.

What does creativity mean for you ?

How does it translate into your work?

I imagine that it translates into a relaxed use of color and materials. I like my objects to be both expressive and evocative, to include certain signs that stimulate the imagination. 

How do you stay creative? How do you nurture your creativity?

Apart from the routine of exhibitions, travels and visits of all kinds, I also try to keep an open eye on the everyday, the ordinary, or rather the « Infra-ordinary » to use Georges Perec's term. In the small things there is often enough to make sparks fly. A meeting, an insignificant conversation, a graphic shadow on a wall, a gesture, a color at a precise moment of the day. I try to remain attentive to it.

There is also an ingredient that we don't often talk about, and that is boredom. It is more and more rare in our hyperactive lives. Yet these breaks are necessary. They allow us to digest information and encourage serendipity. I don't practice it enough and I often think about how to reintroduce it in my daily life.

Collection la Musique

You collaborated with Maison Matisse on the creation of its very first collection (La Musique): how did you approach this project? What was your creative process? 

From this collaboration, I still have a vivid memory of my studio: a joyful mess of open catalogs of Matisse's works, palettes of gouache sheets, turned wooden forms and pieces of clay spread out on the desk. And in the background, this recording of an interview with the artist found on the INA website, with the voice of Henri Matisse who tells his creative process.

For this project I felt a strong need to immerse myself not only in his work but also in a state of mind. I felt the need to understand his way of seeing and apprehending the world. I spent a long time dissecting the painting « La Musique », which was the origin of the collection, and I ended up isolating each element to consider it separately. This allowed me to create a sort of inventory of shapes and colors that would become a palette from which I could draw and appropriate the elements to imagine my own compositions for the sets.

Collection la Musique

The silhouettes of the objects were directly cut out of the canvas: the guitar became a bottle, the bust of the blue woman lent its shapes to the jug. The plates and large dishes resulted from this work and were drawn with a generous format allowing the decorations and colors to fully express themselves. I wanted the work of translation into ceramics to be faithful to the pictorial techniques of the painter, that the trace of the brushstroke is readable in the slip, that the gaps and the voids are assumed, that one guesses the curves scratched in the material. What the manufacture succeeded in making with brilliance!

What were the most important issues? What inspired you?

The most important issue in this project was not to fall into pastiche, to succeed in making a real work of reinterpretation in which I could let express my own language without distorting that of the painter. After this long time of immersion and pictorial study I ended up finding a common denominator between Matisse's practice and that of design: the synthetic work.


The painting La Musique (1939) carried something delightfully childlike about it, whether in the candor of the lines and shapes, the curves in opposition to the rectilinear composition, the simplicity of the motifs and the choice of elementary colors. It is this seemingly primitive approach that spoke to me the most, because one feels this attempt to go towards the essential. A process that echoed my practice. The palette seduced me by its insolence. The colors are both dissonant and complementary, soft and explosive. It was a fantastic playground !

Collection la Musique

What material do you prefer to work with? What are your favorite materials for your creations ?

I don't have a favorite material. Each material, as simple and common as it may be, can become surprising depending on the way it is approached and worked. Sometimes the simple fact of decontextualizing the material is enough to give it a completely different language, which opens up a fascinating field for innovation. The materials that offer me the possibility of working with color are perhaps those towards which I will tend most naturally. Threads and textiles are often used in my work, but also composite materials. If a material annoys or disturbs me, it is usually a good sign for me. It means that it has a potential for transformation and I will want to experiment with it.

What piece of Maison Matisse evokes creativity for you the most? What is your favorite piece?

All are creative in their own way. It's hard not to be with a subject as rich as Matisse's work! The limited edition collection is probably the most liberated. I love the hyper-futuristic interpretation of Alessandro Mendini, especially "LucenteThe green "Belle épine" textile wallpaper by Cristina Celestino is very beautiful. I like its muted, yet warm tones and the rhythmic pattern. We find the spirit of Interior with Eggplants (1911) and the nod to the use of textiles in Matisse. And probably without any objectivity, but with a little hindsight anyway, I am very happy with the result of our collaboration, especially with the