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TRAVEL - INTERVIEW

Interview with Magdalena Ponagajbo, Art Director and Owner of Autor Rooms from Warsaw

Autor Rooms is the first hospitality concept in Poland built entirely from local products in collaboration with local designers and producers. I talked to Magdalena Ponagajbo about this concept and she told me about the concept, history, and features of Autor Rooms.

Thursday, September 20, 2018

Magdalena Ponagajbo, Art Director and Owner of Autor Rooms

Magdalena Ponagajbo, Art Director and Owner of Autor Rooms

TRAVEL - INTERVIEW

by Melisa Kaya

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Autor Rooms is located in Warsaw’s Śródmieście district. The monumental Art Nouveau building that houses Autor Rooms has been staying here since 1914. Magdalena Ponagajbo, Michał Pawlik, and Piotr Ręczajski have decided to create their own hotel which could reflect theirs over decades of experience in Warsaw design office Mamastudio. To realize Autor Rooms idea, they have been combined historic building with modern culture, classic designs with contemporary artworks, friendship with successful collaborations. In order to learn more about Autor Rooms, I talked to Magdalena Ponagajbo, Art Director and Owner of Autor Rooms.

Autor Rooms

Michal Pawlik, Piotr Reczajski, and Magdalena Ponagajbo - Photo by Krzysiek Krzysztofiak

Magdalena, before start talking about Autor Rooms, could you tell us about yourself? Who is Magdalena Ponagajbo?

I was born in Warsaw and I live here all my life. I love this city especially South Śródmieście district where I work and Żoliborz where I live. I am a graphic designer with a great passion for interiors, architecture, and hospitality. Since 2001 I am running Mamastudio, together with my 2 partners Michał Pawlik and Piotr Ręczajski. We are specialised in visual communication, branding, and strategy. In 2015 we’ve opened Autor Rooms and since then I work on this project most of my time. I have 2 sons (6 & 14) and husband Jakub who is also a graphic designer :)

Autor Rooms is Boutique accommodation in central Warsaw, could you briefly tell us about your location?

South Śródmieście district is where locals gather. It’s only 100 m to newly restored Koszyki Market - a place with lots of restaurants and bars. The whole neighborhood offers the nicest cafes, bars, shops, galleries in the city. At the same time, it’s not touristic like the Old Town and Trakt Królewski. It’s also an interesting part of the city for architecture lovers. Konstytucji Square and Marszałkowska str. it’s an interesting example of social modernism. On the other hand Lwowska str. (our address) is the only street in the city that survived the II WW almost untouched. I love this neighbourhood.

Autor Rooms

Autor Rooms Living Room - Photo by Basia Kuligowska & Przemek Nieciecki

Could you tell us about the unique concept of Autor Rooms which was founded by Mamastudio? What was the inspiration?

People were often asking us where to stay in Warsaw if not in a chain hotel. There was not much to recommend so we thought it would be a good idea to create a place like that - well design, authentic and friendly. Since we know well Warsaw’s creative scene it came out naturally so the place should showcase Warsaw and Polish design, arts and craft.

Autor Rooms

Autor Rooms Room 2020 - Photo by Basia Kuligowska & Przemek Nieciecki

Autor Rooms has been decorated with Polish design, furniture, and art. Could you tell us about the design concept and details of Autor Rooms?

Most important thing was to preserve historical interiors. Autor Rooms is situated in a residential building. It uses to be a large apartment that we’ve transformed into 4 spacious rooms. It wasn’t easy as we didn’t move any walls and didn’t divide any original rooms. The space was left untouched. To incorporate bathrooms our architect Mateusz Baumiller has designed modern cubicles that create the unique look of our interiors. Our interiors are eclectic. I was collecting objects and furniture from different periods - pre-war, mid-century as well as 70-ties and 80-ties. They are everywhere in the rooms and common spaces. On the walls, there are original artworks by young Polish artists. We collaborate with curators from Polana Institute.

Autor Rooms

Copper Mirrors by Marysia Jeglinska - Photo by Basia Kuligowska & Przemek Nieciecki

What designers did you work with to create Autor Rooms?

Marysia Jeglińska has designed several objects for guests use. In every room at welcome, there is a wooden tray with drinking set of glasses and carafe. Glass collection has now two new items - small glasses and flower vase. Also, she created furniture handles for wardrobes and doors, bathroom mirrors and copper mirrors called “the face of Autor” I would call them sculptures more they are characteristic decorative elements. Another important collaboration we have with Beza Projekt. This creative duo provided a woolen bedding set - 2 pillows and a blanket. Maciek Kossowski from Ultralight designed beautiful lamps. We have special bathrobes by ZuoCorp and leather key holders from Balagan. Also, I have to mention Tylko shelves that are a strong element in the living room and furniture from Comforty - my favorite Polish furniture brand that hires best Polish designers.

Could you tell us about your rooms and the meanings of their names? What are their features?

Room 1410 is the smallest is painted dark navy colour and has the same floor. This room is very cosy and soft, perfect for one person or a couple. The name is after the famous battle that Poland won in the year 1410, it’s this kind of date everybody in Poland knows.

Autor Rooms

Autor Rooms Room 1410 - Photo by Basia Kuligowska & Przemek Nieciecki

Room 2020 is the biggest, the sunniest room with balcony. Accommodate up to 4 people on a twin bed and a comfortable foldable sofa. There are also 2 armchairs and large coffee table so it’s even good for a less formal meeting. Each room has also a desk and chair to work. The cubical in this room looks a little bit like a spaceship and that explains the name.

Autor Rooms

Autor Rooms Room 2020 - Photo by Basia Kuligowska & Przemek Nieciecki

Room 1777. It’s a lucky room. Very white - perfect for the romantic stay. Has the best window view of all.

Autor Rooms

Autor Rooms Room 1777 - Photo by Basia Kuligowska & Przemek Nieciecki

Room 1968. It’s a vintage room with lots of design from the late sixties. It's actually a suite with bedroom and living space. The sofa is also foldable so its a perfect room for traveling friends or families. It’s the most quiet room and the only that has a traditional bathroom.

Autor Rooms

Autor Rooms Room 1968 - Photo by Basia Kuligowska & Przemek Nieciecki

What could your guests buy from your rooms? Please tell us about the different shopping experience that you offer to your guests.

Most of the design that I’ve described above is for sale. The glass collection, bedding, copper mirrors, bathrobes. Guests can also buy “Warszawa. Warsaw” book which is a visual inspiration and a guide to Warsaw.

Autor Rooms

Autor Rooms Living Room - Photo by Basia Kuligowska & Przemek Nieciecki

Please tell us about your common space, services, and amenities. How could your guests spend time at Autor Rooms?

Guests can use the kitchen if they need. In the morning we serve breakfast in the living room. There is an honesty bar with our selection of wines, craft beers, and softs. Tea and coffee are available for free during the entire stay. In the living room, there is a record player with a nice selection of vinyls and we have a lot of books about Polish arts and culture. There is no TV, on purpose, but each room has a bluetooth radio. It’s a quiet space, perfect for relaxation.

Autor Rooms

Autor Rooms Living Room - Photo by Basia Kuligowska & Przemek Nieciecki

Autor Breakfasts by Chef Joanna. Could you tell us about your breakfast and cookbook author chef Joanna?

Joanna is a great cook, she works at Mamastudio, we are friends and together we’ve published a cookbook several years ago. Asia’s goal is to introduce our guests to Polish tastes. Breakfast is a personalised experience. If guests have special needs or allergies we offer them a special menu.

Autor Rooms

Autor Rooms Kitchen - Photo by Basia Kuligowska & Przemek Nieciecki

What can your guests do when they step out of the Autor Rooms and step into the streets of Warsaw?

As we offer personalised experience we always ask our guests what they like, what are their interest. Is it art? food? music? history or sport. Warsaw has to offer something interesting on almost every field. To prove that we’ve published a book about our city and since then we are running a website warszawawarsaw.com where guests can find out about Warsaw’s culture, food, places, and people. Above that every Friday we publish agenda for a weekend called “weekend finally".

Autor Rooms

Autor Rooms - Photo by Basia Kuligowska & Przemek Nieciecki

What kind of additional services do you offer for business travelers?

Autor Rooms offers unique space for extraordinary meetings and presentations. Of course, that requires to rent the whole space. We also held some events like Christmas dinners for companies and press conferences. Besides free WIFI, screen and projector we offer catering services.

How can travelers make their individual or business/group reservations? Do you have any advantage packs that you offer to your regular and long-term guests?

The best way is to contact our reception at reservations@autorrooms.pl we create individual offers in such cases.

Autor Rooms

Autor Rooms Welcome Brochure - Photo by Basia Kuligowska & Przemek Nieciecki

Which is the top season for travelers who want to visit Warsaw? What is the reason?

Top season according to our experience is September and October, lots of events are taking place in the City during early Autumn. My personal advice would be to come during Summer July and August are less busy - the city slows down and there are more things happening outside.

What are the most famous attractions near you?

As I said everything is near as Warsaw is a quite small city but I would point Koszyki Market, Palace of Culture, Zbawiciela Square, U-Jazdowski Contemporary Art Museum and Jazdów Garden and Poznańska street for its bars and restaurants.

How do you describe Warsaw in one sentence?

Alive, Authentic, Friendly, Green

Thank you Magdalena for this enjoyable interview.

For more information, please visit website of Autor Rooms





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