In cooperation with Teatr Wielki - The Polish National Opera and BMW
Teatr Wielki - The Polish National Opera
Plac Teatralny 1
00-950 Warszawa
  • Mobilne idee. Heritage - relation

    • fot. Jarosław Mazurek
    • fot. Jarosław Mazurek
    • fot. Jarosław Mazurek
    • fot. Jarosław Mazurek
    • fot. Jarosław Mazurek
    • fot. Jarosław Mazurek
    • fot. Jarosław Mazurek
    • fot. Jarosław Mazurek
    • fot. Jarosław Mazurek
    • fot. Jarosław Mazurek
    • fot. Jarosław Mazurek
    • fot. Jarosław Mazurek
    • fot. Jarosław Mazurek
    • fot. Jarosław Mazurek
    • fot. Jarosław Mazurek
    • fot. Jarosław Mazurek
    • fot. Jarosław Mazurek
    • fot. Jarosław Mazurek
  • Mobilne idee. Heritage

    Mobilne Idee logo


  • Mobile Ideas. Designing cultural institutions

    Mobilne Idee logo


    Mobile ideas Designing cultural institutions
    24/01/2014/ Redutowe Rooms/ Teatr Wielki - Opera Narodowa


    What is the function, role and potential of contemporary cultural institutions?

    What are their main tasks?


    A meeting devoted to designing the future of cultural institutions will inaugurate the Mobile Ideas cycle within the frame of the OperaLab think-tank set up by Teatr Wielki – Opera Narodowa and BMW.


    About Mobile Ideas

    Mobile Ideas is a cycle of meetings expounding upon the concept of the OperaLab cultural think-tank, which moves the project to the plane of discussions and workshops. During the planned meetings, culture managers, sociologists, artists, designers and the business community will share their experiences and debate the future and the condition of the contemporary art and the city, possibilities of their development through innovative arts programmes. The Mobile Ideas programme is designed to put in practice the research assumptions of the OperaLab project, thus allowing integration of the creative, academic and business communities, in accordance with the concept, according to which the strength of today’s culture derives from its interdisciplinary character and openness to dialogue. A broad look and innovative thinking translate into effective actions. Mobile Ideas provide an intellectual space for culture. Held at the Redoubt Rooms of Teatr Wielki – Opera Narodowa, it is the first such initiative in Poland.

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  • Exhibition of the final projects Design of Identity/Identity of Design - relation

  • AR/ DIY OperaLab

  • Catalouge of Exhibition Design of Identity/Identity of Design

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  • Opening of exhibition of the final projects Design of Identity/Identity of Design

  • Final Preparations for Exhibition fo the final projects Design Identity/Identity of Design The Polish Grand Theatre - National Opera/Redutowe Rooms 17/05/2013

    • Fot. Mikołaj Molenda
    • Fot. Mikołaj Molenda
    • Fot. Mikołaj Molenda
    • Fot. Mikołaj Molenda
    • Fot. Mikołaj Molenda
  • The announcement of exhibition of the final projects Design of Identity/Identity of Design The Polish Grand Theatre - National Opera/Redutowe Rooms 17/05 - 1/06/2013

  • Final Results

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  • Final

  • Mobile Pavilion/Selection of projects submitted to the competition Design of Identity/Identity of Design

    plakat, głosowwanie 2 etap

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    Media Pack DOWNLOAD (220MB)

  • 2 Stage / Final

  • Results of the competition

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    Press kit - DOWNLOAD (190.0MB)



OperaLab is a think tank for culture launched in October 2012 by the Teatr Wielki – Polish National Opera in close association with BMW. It is a long-term programme integrating different actions set to unfold over the course of upcoming years. Among the currently implemented actions are exhibitions and discussion panels, construction of a mobile pavilion, and running the information platform Mobile Ideas. For Culture. documents innovations introduced in culture institutions around the world in the field of communication, branding, or strategy. It was set up as a tool of identifying modern methods of managing culture institutions.

OperaLab's idea is strongly linked with the Teatr Wielki's identity, and its rich and complex history. The project's dynamic formula is dictated by the changes that take place in today's culture and arts. Nowadays, it is difficult to look at significant artistic developments from the limited perspective of individual events or autonomic disciplines. A wider perspective that embraces a complicated network of connections and mutual inspirations gives a better idea of the complexity of contemporary art.

OperaLab is a platform designed to bring together artistic experiments with form and concept, and to help art and technology meet. It facilitates a dialogue between different visions of the contemporary city, which is built by art, and triggers debates about contemporary design as an effective tool of transporting ideas. This intellectual circulation corresponds with the latest developments in the world of art.

Mobile Ideas

Mobile Ideas is a series of meetings aimed at taking the idea of OperaLab, a think tank for culture, further. In the course of discussion panels and workshops, culture managers, sociologists, artists, designers, and business representatives will share their experiences and debate the present and the future of contemporary art and city, and the possibilities of their development through innovative artistic programmes. The programme of Mobile Ideas reflects OperaLab's research objectives. It brings together the artistic community, the academia, and business in the belief that the strength of contemporary culture lies in its interdisciplinary character and openness to dialogue, while adopting a wide perspective and progressive thinking translate into effective actions. This intellectual space for culture is the first initiative of this kind in Poland.

Mobile Ideas - Designing Cultural Institutions      Mobile Ideas - Heritage


OperaLab Pavilion is a mobile space for cultural initiatives, available to the public in different urban locations. It constitutes a temporary intervention into urban space and may facilitate a range of artistic and intellectual projects pertaining to the operations of the Teatr Wielki – Polish National Opera. The pavilion brings together different arts, ranging from opera, to ballet, to architecture. Its space may by arranged to host exhibitions, meetings, workshops, and concerts. Its mobile character corresponds with the dynamics of the contemporary city – it makes culture widely accessible, setting up a modern context for it. The idea behind the pavilion as well as the project's educational, artistic, and academic role is in line with the strategy of audience development that is one of the priorities of the celebrations of the 250 years of public theatre in Poland.

The design

The winning design by Karol Żurawski was chosen by the jury of the international project Designing Identity / The Identity of Design. The jury included: Jacek Fröhlich, Professor Konrad Kucza-Kuczyński, Boris Kudli ka, Marcin Mostafa, Natalia Paszkowska, Professor Jerzy Porębski, and Tomek Rygalik. Using lapidary, almost minimalistic means, Karol Żurawski has created a very brave and suggestive design. It evolves from the curtain as an object full of theatrical meanings and connotations. The architect proved his excellent understanding of the institution's identity when he justified his choices, writing:
'The anthracite curtain demarcates space devoted to the art of theatre and opera, the art of image, word, and music. It is heavy, and can obliterate outside distractions, muffling noises and stopping light from penetrating inside. It helps one focus. The small opening in the curtain stimulates curiosity, invites the public to explore the mystery hidden inside. The curtain is not there to separate or conceal, but for people to pass it. It is extremely pliable, may be shaped as needed – the pavilion may be turned from a closed to an open space in no time. (…)'

The construction

The load-bearing structure of the pavilion is held by eight columns – telescopic, hydraulic cylinders in extensible steel guides/cases. Their shape is reminiscent of the Teatr Wielki's design. The use of hydraulic aggregate makes it possible for the whole construction, complete with the roof and curtain, after being assembled on the ground, to rise on its own without the need to use a crane. The roof is build of a system of criss-crossing chords forming a scissor truss. The pavilion's size may thus be adjusted to the space available.

Different locations/ transport

The pavilion may be moved to different locations throughout the spring and summer time. Its adjustable construction may be easily assembled and dismantled. The rhombus-shaped truss roof makes it possible to adjust the cubic capacity of the pavilion to different urban spaces. After dismantling, the pavilion may be transported in a large goods vehicle.

The designs of mobile pavilions had to be showcased in a way that communicates the idea of the whole project, is visually enticing, and reflects the creative tension between the legacy and identity of the Teatr Wielki on one hand and actions oriented towards the future on the other.

The objective was to make visitors' physical experience of the exhibition both tacit and tangible, performative and contemporary, dramatic but elegant.

With such means of expression it is possible to launch a suggestive intervention that is grounded in the search for dialogue between different art forms.

Augmented Reality was chosen because of its high narrative potential. AR makes it possible to construct an autonomic, parallel world whose identity is determined by the desire to search for new means of expression, while being rooted in a given institution's identity.

The task of designing the exhibition and application was given to Bridge Design & Technology Research Bureau. Thanks to AR the design met the exhibition's objectives, providing vast possibilities of interaction and supplementing real-world environment with computer-generated input.

'The application created for the OperaLab exhibition is interactive and makes it possible to showcase the designs' different variants and bring them to life, for example, by supplementing passers-by. Showcasing the pavilion models in AR was a successful way of overcoming their immovability. After touching the screen the visitors could see alternative versions of the pavilion designs, or the way they could be dismantled. By moving a tablet close to a virtual model, you could also look inside the pavilion' – said the Bridge designers.

Apart from the winning design by Karol Żurawski, the exhibition showcased the runner-up by Rafał Oleksik, Agnieszka Wyrwas, and Krzysztofa Stępień, and the entry by Gonzalo del Val and Diego de las Heras hat received a special mention, along with designs by Łukasz Pastuszka/ MOOMOO, Jan Sukiennik/ 137kilo, Jakub Szczęsny/ Centrala, Ligia Krajewskia/ exexe architects, Konrad Basan/ Deigie Architekci, and Batosz Haduch/ NarchitekTURA.

Serving as the exhibition's point of reference were Redutowe Rooms, a special place at the Teatr Wielki whose shape is one of very few links between the building's original design by Antonio Corazzi and the present structure by Bohdan Paniewski. For the purpose of the exhibition, Redutowe Rooms were fitted with a white floor and white, three-metre high walls forming a white cube – a modern structure inside a neoclassical space. The exhibition revolved around ten illuminating boxes concealing encoded trackers. Directing a tablet's camera at a tracker launched an application presenting a pavilion design.

The exhibition's mobile edition became a way for OperaLab to travel to different locations. The exhibition's structure was divided into modules that could be easily rearranged in order to optimise the use of available space. The application remained unaltered, only the form of the exhibition was changed to facilitate transport and assembling.

In the autumn of 2013 the exhibition's mobile edition was presented at Przemiany (Transformations) Festival at the Copernicus Science Centre in Warsaw and the Łódź Design Festival.

App       Film       Photos       Catalogue


This project will present the architectural dimension of the Teatr Wielki – Polish National Opera and the impact it exerts on is environment – the city. The name of the project is a reference to two most important architects in the opera house's history: Antonio Corazzi, who created the original, neoclassical design, and Bohdan Pniewski, who rebuilt the theatre after the World War II. Both were instrumental for the institution's identity. 'X' stands for the future architectural and artistic scenarios that will be written by the designers and artists taking part in the project.

The core of the project will be formed by artistic interventions offering different views on the theatre's space and its role as an element of the urban tissue. The project will also embrace multidimensional showcases in the theatre's and Warsaw's space, bringing together all the other streams of the project: the main exhibition, workshops, and discussion panels.

The upcoming 50th anniversary of the Teatr Wielki's rebuild is an excellent pretext to launch new, interdisciplinary actions in the area of art and design that would present the complexity and merit of the theatre's artistic and architectural heritage. The idea is to examine and showcase the theatre in a variety of contexts in which it functions, including artistic, urban and economic ones. The OperaLab Pavilion will be included in the celebrations.


Architecture is perceived and experienced through its function and aesthetics, yet it also carries meanings, has its own narration. Its complexity in terms of structure and meaning cannot be reduced to the visible. It plays a few parallel roles: it is an instrument of persuasion, communication, a backdrop and environment for art. With the role and purpose of the institution now changing, we can see the focus shifting from its core operations, which are significant for the audience and artists only, to actions that trigger interactions with the architectural environment.

Visualising/Mapping impressions

Shifting competences of culture institutions trigger reflection on the sensory influence of space in the perception of art. There are, on e one hand, historical buildings, seen as temples of the arts in line with the 19th century ethos, and ultra-modern constructions, often taking the form of laboratories, deeply rooted in visual traditions, on the other. But do they connect with the audience emotionally? Culture institutions determine their identity by negotiating between durability and continuity, between tradition and openness to change, integrating artistic functions and those of social and economic character. Do they also design the public's experiences in the process? A culture institution's space, determined by the building's architecture, is primarily a place where artistic expression unfolds but it is also explored by its visitors from a variety of perspectives. The meanings encoded in it form a map of subtleties – the context is complemented with wall texture or the sound of steps on the floor. All of these experiences create associations with the space, giving it a definition.