Second prize in the Wilanów Palace Winter Garden competition

The gardens of King Jan III Sobieski’s Wilanów Palace are among the most popular tourist attractions of Warsaw. Together with the creative design studio Fishladder/Platige Image, we prepared a comprehensive concept for a sound et lumière show of the museum’s winter gardens.

Our aim was to engage the visitors in a process of discovering the King’s era and his heritage through an interactive light performance, artistic architectural installations and music. Our concept strove to draw attention to various aspects of the King’s life, through artistic devices pertaining to the particular aesthetic of his times. We wished for the visitor to set out on a time journey on entering the Palace grounds. From the outset we wanted to create an engaging, inspiring experience, equal to some of the World’s most stimulating open air displays – such as at the Kröller-Müller Musem in Otterlo, London’s Serpentine Gallery or the Benesse Art Site in Naoshima.

The show’s narration was divided into five thematic zones, each of which introduced key events in the different stages of the King’s life.
The metaphorical clasp which bound the stories was forged from mythological threads. The King, who in his youth was inspired by stories of mythological heroes, at the closure of the tale would ascend to the firmament as one of them. The central tale began with “A Childhood Among Heroes” – a zone which introduced mythological entities as a background to young Jan’s imagination and his desire to perform deeds worthy of heroes. “The Shaping of a Leader” looked at his growing up, surrounded by examples of the time’s various scientific pursuits. “Love and Politics” was a labyrinth, symbolising the King’s complex, emotional relationship with Marie Casimire de La Grange d’Arquien.
The fourth part of the exhibition “The Throne and Victoria” pointed to the object of the King’s and his consort’s desire. The size of the throne was to signify not just its gravity and majesty but also the extent of the burden taken on by Sobieski. A LED installation depicting the battlefield at Vienna was a key attraction while the charge of Poland’s heavy cavalry would be symbolised by a wave of light travelling the length of the installation. An interactive display titled “Politics and Responsibility” would reveal the full extent of solemn responsibility resting on the King’s shoulders. To illustrate this, we shifted from royal splendour and grandeur of military clashes into a cool, geometric space. The section titled “Ad Astra”, concentrating on the King’s final years in which he frequently returned to his beloved Rose Garden, would be the pinnacle of the exhibition. His botanical passions would be represented by floral lighting ornaments while a ribbon which bound the entire exhibition together would here become a pillar of light, finally turning into the constellation Scutum Sobiescianum (Sobieski’s Shield), light-painted in the firmament.

Lighting Consultant: ZUMTOBEL Lighting GmbH
Type: Winter garden design with light installation
Date: June 2017
Story: Tobiasz Piątkowski, Jan Pomierny, Łukasz Alwast, Maciej Jakub Zawadzki
Project Lead Fish Ladder: Łukasz Alwast
Project Lead MJZ: Maciej Jakub Zawadzki
Conceptual design, research and visualizations: Łukasz Wenclewski, Michał Polak, Toba Baghaei, Sylvana Repsi, Begüm Yildirim, Sebastiano Cutrupi / MJZ
Graphic support: Szymon Kuczmierzuk / PLATIGE IMAGE

Fish Ladder Presentation: