A Jazzy Warsaw Pierogi Bistro Puts an Inventive Twist on a Culinary Staple, and Other News

Our daily look at the world through the lens of design.

Syrena Irena bistro in Warsaw

The Design Dispatch offers expertly written and essential news from the design world crafted by our dedicated team. Think of it as your cheat sheet for the day in design delivered to your inbox before you’ve had your coffee. Subscribe now

Have a news story our readers need to see? Submit it here

A Jazzy Warsaw Pierogi Bistro Puts an Inventive Twist on a Culinary Staple 

Poland’s answer to Japanese gyoza or Italian ravioli, the humble pierogi is religion in a country where rustic recipes are passed down through generations like ancient gospel. At the newly opened Syrena Irena, the fluffy pillow stuffed with meat and vegetables receives a modern update. Located just off the city’s historic Royale Route, graphic design agency Mamastudio teamed with architecture office Projekt Praga on what they call a feisty interior scheme that evokes the spirit of the midcentury. 

“We were influenced by the aesthetics of jazzy Warsaw of the ’60s, when this part of town was a vibrant destination for night owls and barflies,” states Mamastudio, who tapped illustrator Ola Sadownik to collaborate on the project. “There were bright neon signs, music everywhere, colorful artsy types, and thrilling energy.” Indeed, references to the era show themselves in the form of neon ceiling fixtures, whimsical graphics of wine glasses, and soaring murals, including the Herbert James Draper painting “Ulysses and the Sirens,” which acts as a wallpaper of sorts in one of the rooms. 

In another seating area, Projekt Praga chose shapes and materials that evoke the more prudent style of Poland’s communist period such as terrazzo-like tabletops and triangular Finn stools by Buck Studio. Of course, even a design as fun as this one takes a backseat to the bistro’s raison d’etre: the pierogies, prepared using time-tested kneading and folding techniques though stuffed with inventive ingredients. For instance, fermented ramsons and smoked quark cheese, or poppy seeds, raisins, and nuts. Toppings push the envelope, too, and range from celery root cracklings to brown butter with wild mushroom powder to herring roe with cream. Best practice is to wash it down with a bubbly blanc de blancs or smooth local vodka. —Nate Storey

Cassius Hirst. Image courtesy Prada

Prada teams up with Cassius Hirst on a series of colorful spray-painted sneakers.

“In an industry that’s still deep in thrall with the idea of collaborations, Prada remains famously picky when it comes to working with other labels or designers. So when Miuccia Prada told the artist Cassius Atticus Hirst that they should create something for Prada together, Cass, as he’s known, reacted as if in a dream. A different sort of teenage pursuit grabbed Mrs. Prada’s attention. Inspired by a workshop Virgil Abloh did with Nike where participants could paint Air-Force 1s, Cass started buying blank white sneakers and spray painting them with trippy, abstract gradients. He didn’t intend for it to become an independent artistic hustle—he was just a kid with a lot of art supplies at his disposal, messing around.  Cass painted 80+ pairs of sneakers to come up with four final designs (in 22 colors) that showcase his eye for silky-smooth gradients and subtle textural embellishments.” —[H/T GQ]

George Gittoes creates a mural in Odessa, Ukraine, that likens Putin to the Hobbit.

“The award-winning Australian artist George Gittoes has created an outdoor mural in one of the main squares in Odessa, Ukraine, in collaboration with the local poet Viktor Solodchuk. Titled Russian Offensive, the 10-meter-long mural draws inspiration from a bloodthirsty warlord in The Hobbit film trilogy which has been popular on Netflix during Ukraine’s curfews. Solodchuk collaborated on the mural, adding lines of his poetry in between Gittoes’s India ink drawings.” —[H/T The Art Newspaper]

A beach pavilion by Tosin Oshinowo and cmDesign Atelier in Lagos. Photography by Tolu Sanusi

Tosin Oshinowo completes a quaint seaside pavilion in Lagos in her minimalist style. 

“The Lagos lagoon’s special topography means that a series of idyllic beaches and tropical stretches of leafy coast are just a stone’s throw from the bustle of the Nigerian metropolis. It is here, among the sandy, palm tree-lined open expanses, that architect Tosin Oshinowo was called upon to create a minimalist seaside pavilion. The project, a private space for entertaining and relaxation, was named the Coral Pavilion, referencing the site’s proximity to the water, and the special land it is built on. Following her work’s signature explorations in modernist and minimalist architecture, Oshinowo created the pavilion’s form using low, clean lines and a prevailing white hue that contrasts pleasingly with the greenery around it.” —[H/T Wallpaper]

At 788 feet long, a new suspension bridge in Bohemia becomes the world’s longest.

“Hikers with a head for heights take note: the world’s longest suspension bridge has opened in the Czech Republic, connecting the crests of the Králický Sněžník mountain in East Bohemia. Known as Sky Bridge 721 (its length in meters), the structure is part of the Dolní Morava mountain resort and took two years to construct. When it opened in May 2022, it snatched the Guinness World Record for ‘world’s longest’ from Nepal’s 567-meter-long Baglung Parbat Footbridge, which opened to the public in July 2020.” —[H/T The Spaces]

Nick Cave’s “Soundsuits” in Times Square. Photography by Trend Reeves, courtesy of MTA

Nick Cave’s percussive Soundsuits find a new noisy home in the New York Subway.

“For an artist best known for Soundsuits that produce a variety of percussive effects when worn, Nick Cave’s public project, Each One, Every One, Equal All, has found a fittingly noisy home in the New York subway. Earlier this month, during a preview of the completed project, a saxophone reverberated through the tunnels of the Times Square and 42 Street subway station, its sound almost overcome by the surging clatter and roar of trains. Here the artist’s wearable works, which fuse dance to sculpture, have been dramatically rendered into mosaic tiles across nearly 4,600 square feet, throughout three neighboring underground sites—the first phase was finished last year—making this the largest such project completed to date in the New York City Transit system.” —[H/T The New York Times]

Researchers are attempting to recreate an ancient Egypt perfume worn by Cleopatra. 

A team who used ancient recipes to recreate an ancient Egyptian perfume perhaps worn by Cleopatra is back at it again. This time, they’re turning to chemical analysis to decipher the perfume’s exact ingredients and proportions. In the fourth century BCE, Egyptian perfume recipes were written in Greek, and in the first century BCE, they appeared in Latin texts. In reading these accounts, one fragrance emerges as immensely popular — the Mendesian perfume from the city of Mendes. It was mentioned by many Greek and Roman writers, including Pliny the Elder, and similarly to many scents today, the connotation was one of expense and luxury. Littman calls it the “Chanel no. 5” of ancient Egypt and says it was popular during the reign of Cleopatra. —[H/T Hyperallergic]

Photography by Bernhard Lang

Today’s attractive distractions:

Disco balls, with their flecks of confetti-like lighting, have become a decor staple.

Remote workers are starting to embrace the old joys of being back in the office.

Bernhard Lang’s eerie aerial photos capture the world’s largest aircraft boneyard.

The MIT Media Lab is testing modular tiles for self-assembling space architecture.

All Stories