Paulina Piasta tapped into the psyche of the members of our Association with her winning logo design: it outstripped the other nine entries by a significant margin.
Her three entries into the competition focused on the key symbols Poles always associate with Poland—the Polish eagle, the map of Poland, and the colour red. That those aspects resonated with Auckland’s Polish diaspora proves that although we may be on the other side of the world, we retain a Polish core.
“Logos need to communicate ideas in the most simple and direct way. But, of course, with good design.”
Born in Sosnowiec, Paulina is one of our newest members—she arrived in Auckland in 2017 with her parents Piotr and Beata Piasta, and younger sister Patrycia—but while she misses her extended family, and especially her babcie and their cooking, she has embraced her new home with gusto. Last year she organised the Great Orchestra of Christmas Charity event at the Dom Polski. (WOŚP, or the Wielka Orkiestra Świątnecznej Pomocy, is a charity that raises money for children’s ophthalmology.)
What made this young Polish woman decide to move to New Zealand?
“My dad got a job offer from New Zealand and we decided, as a family, that it sounded like a great opportunity, an adventure we could not say no to. Conveniently, I had just finished my Bachelor’s degree in Architecture, so I could easily apply and start my Master’s degree here in Auckland.”
Making the most of opportunities has become second nature to Paulina. While still in Poland she joined the Erasmus programme, established by the EU in 1987. Erasmus is an acronym for European Region Action Scheme for the Mobility of University Students, and follows the philosophy of the Renaissance monk and classical scholar, Desiderius Erasmus of Rotterdam (1466–1536). Erasmus opposed dogmatism. He studied, lived and worked in England and several countries in continental Europe and used his interactions with the people he met as a means to expand his knowledge and gain new insights.
“It was an amazing experience and I’d recommend it to anyone who has that option. Thanks to Erasmus, I studied in Denmark at VIA University College and then got an internship in the Netherlands where I also lived for six months.
“I was drawn to architecture because it’s one of the few disciplines that combines something real and logical (maths and physics) with something creative (art and design). Living in several countries and studying different approaches to architecture and design has helped me gain an understanding and awareness of how we build the world around us, regardless of where we are from.
“My understanding and awareness of the built environment is growing, but that environment—the way we live and build—is constantly changing, so our response as architects, needs to keep up with that cultural change, or even try to create positive influences via the buildings we are creating. That is my aspiration, but I’m still at the very beginning of that journey!”
One of her tutors at Auckland University steered a newly graduated Paulina towards an internship with the Avatar franchise that turned into a job as a set designer. Two years later someone recommended her for a similar position on a Lord of the Rings production, which kept her busy for more than a year.
“After LOTR finished, Covid hit, which made it harder for film productions to make it into New Zealand, and I decided it’s a good time to make a shift to a more traditional approach to architecture and work in an architecture practice, JASMAX.”
Congratulations, Paulina, on your win! We wish you all the very best for your future.
—Executive committee, APA.