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Faculty of Design

The Faculty of Design is based on three key pillars: design, art, and theory. It is located in a complex of historic buildings at 8 Myśliwiecka Street

About the Faculty

Who are we?

The Faculty of Design of the Warsaw Academy of Fine Arts has existed since 1977. Our program promotes holistic thinking and combines product design, visual communication and space, and clothing design with knowledge about the market, technologies, social sciences, art, and culture. The three key pillars of the program in each field are design, art, and theory.


Design is present in all spheres of life today. Not only industrial products and graphics are designed, but also services and experiences. At the Faculty of Design, we teach specific methods – ways of thinking and acting. Design is understood here as a process leading to the creation of solutions that provide recipients with values that are important to them, both functional, aesthetic, and emotional. Students learn this process to effectively determine user needs and build solutions that respond to real problems, use optimal technologies, and achieve success. A particularly important area that the program focuses on, is shaping responsible attitudes of designers pursuing positive social changes. Social design questions design understood as a response to market needs and try to recognize the needs of users who often remain on the margins.


Students of our faculty participate in painting, drawing, and sculpture classes. Since the establishment of the faculty, art studios have been one of the pillars of teaching and have contributed to the special character and atmosphere of this place. This is still present today. Students work with outstanding artists, performing in many media, who are active in the field of art. They go on plein – air and cooperate with universities and institutions from Poland and abroad. The concept of Open Form developed by Oskar Hansen plays a special role in artistic education. The art teaching aspect at the Faculty of Design is not to improve traditionally understood artistic skills but to shape free, creative, and independent thinking.


Design studies are something separate from traditional art history, which is why students, in addition to general academic classes in the history of art and philosophy, participate in lectures, seminars, and tutorials that connect their practice with the social, political, and economic context. We also organize online lectures and discursive events open to the public and devoted to reflection on design in the context of many contemporary social issues, including a series of seminars called Wyzwania Współczesności (Contemporary Challenges) and the International Fair Design conference.

What do we do?

PRODUCT Product and service design

The teaching areas at the Faculty of Design respond to the challenges posed to designers by technological, social, and cultural changes, as well as the urgent need to care for the environment and the planet. The program also reflects the interests, areas of professional practice and personalities of lecturers. Students can develop their skills in designing everyday products, services, and transport elements, as well as solutions addressed to specific groups, considering their needs: children, elderly, and disabled people. The Faculty of Design also creates critical and speculative projects that comment on contemporary problems using design tools. Students have the opportunity to cooperate with companies and craftsmen. The Faculty of Design is also equipped with specialized studios, including woodworking, ceramics, and paint workshops.

SPACE Space design

The study program at the Faculty of Design also covers areas related to public space and the city. Students have the opportunity to design space furnishings, primarily considering the needs of various groups using the city, who are often excluded, and concerning nature and animals living in urban areas. Students design places for social interaction, rest, and recreation, paying attention to the fact that design is an important factor influencing safety, interpersonal relations, and ensuring equality.

MESSAGE Designing visual communication

Studies at the Faculty of Design are not limited to learning how to design three –dimensional products. Visual communication classes are an integral part of the course. This component has been present in our faculty since its inception. Initially, the graphics were supposed to coexist with the product, hence the emphasis was on designing device interfaces and packaging. Over time, graphic design classes have become an equal element of education and students are taught how to use a variety of media – from posters and books, through branding and packaging, to designing complex visual information. However, we do not duplicate the study program at graphics faculties but we teach these skills in our way, with particular emphasis on functionality, system thinking, and integration between various elements of the design process.

FASHION Clothing design (Department of Fashion)

In 2010, the Department of Fashion was established within the Faculty of Design, which offers bachelor’s studies. Its manager is Janusz Noniewicz. The department is distinguished by its original teaching program, which correlates with the specificity of the global fashion market. The international staff of the Department, which includes active designers in the world of fashion, combines design teaching with art, introducing critical thought and embedding this discipline in a social context. Every year, the Department’s activities end with a spectacular show, during which journalists, fashion critics, and the general public can get acquainted for the first time with the diploma collections of graduates and the current activities of students. This is an event that attracts international media and has become a permanent part of the capital’s spring cultural offer.

What distinguishes us?

Socially engaged design

The Faculty regularly cooperates with non – governmental organizations and foundations. We have, among others, cooperated with institutions dealing with addiction treatment, supporting seniors, blind and visually impaired people. The projects proposed by students, in addition to products, often take the form of system solutions. Socially engaged design is a topic often discussed in diploma thesis, both bachelor’s and master’s.

Care for the environment

Sustainable, ethical production is one of the most important trends in contemporary design. The Faculty of Design also addresses these issues during both practical and theoretical classes. The search for alternative, renewable materials, and ways to process excess waste are some of the most interesting topics for students. The topic of ecology is addressed by all studios and is one of the main pillars of most projects. Students eagerly use natural materials in their projects and pay attention to designing a sustainable production and distribution process.

Urban Space

Designing for urban space is a complex and diverse area. Students have been facing it since the first years of their bachelor’s studies. Their projects, often created in cooperation with institutions from Poland and abroad, as well as with specific places in mind, often win awards in competitions and are then implemented.

Good craftsmanship practices

For years, the Faculty of Design has been trying to sensitize students to the problem of disappearing professions. Every year, projects are created in cooperation with Warsaw craftsmen. Thanks to this, students not only learn about non – industrial methods of producing objects but also participate in supporting local identity and creating a bridge between tradition and modernity. Crafts are also a model and a source of inspiration in the search for alternative patterns of work and production that will counterbalance the ecologically and socially unsustainable industrial model, which, given the challenges of the climate crisis, can no longer be sustained.


Throughout the entire course of studies, we place special emphasis on technology. In addition to basic knowledge regarding technological and construction requirements, which is needed to design objects both on a small scale and for mass use, students also learn the latest, innovative technologies that help reduce the negative impact of the production of objects on the environment. Technological knowledge is crucial when it comes to having a positive impact on the industry to mitigate the negative ecological and social impacts of manufactured products. In addition to caring for the environment, we also pay special attention to designing the use of technology so that it is safe for people.

Design in the 21st century

About us

„Design is much more than picturing beautiful things. Design is a field of human activity that responds to many contemporary dilemmas. It has the potential to change the world in a better direction: interpersonal empathy and interspecies equality, counteracting various types of exclusions and conflicts. By serving its basic purpose of responding to people’s needs – physical, intellectual, and emotional – design can improve the quality of life of specific communities, considering issues like climate change and migration.

Contemporary design means shaping not only products of visual communication or public space. It is also about creating temporary forms of social interaction and awakening the imagination. People involved in design often participate in strengthening interpersonal relations, supporting marginalized social groups, people with disabilities, people affected by economic exclusion, people in the crisis of homelessness, and not forgetting about the subjectivity of the biosphere.

Study programs at the Faculty of Design are implemented in the spirit of balance between tradition and modernity. We are aware of the enormous importance of design for both the modern world and future generations.” – Prof. Grzegorz Niwiński Dean of the Faculty of Design of the Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw

Our history

Design before the Faculty of Design

The origins of the Faculty of Design relate to the Experimental Plants operating at the Warsaw Academy of Fine Arts since 1954, a multidisciplinary design office led by the legendary architect Jerzy Sołtan, as well as a studio and then a department dealing with design at the Faculty of Interior Design. Sołtan’s collaborators and successors were the later co – founders of the Faculty of Industrial Design: Andrzej Jan Wróblewski and Lech Tomaszewski.

The history of the Faculty of Design dates back to 1954, when, by the decision of the rector of the Academy of Fine Arts, Marian Wnuk, the Experimental Departments of the Academy of Fine Arts were established (in the 1970s, renamed the Artistic and Research Departments) under the leadership of the legendary architect and collaborator of Le Corbusier, Jerzy Sołtan. It was a multidisciplinary design office, within which an industrial design studio had been operating since the second half of the 1950s, carrying out orders from industrial plants. In 1958, Sołtan presented theoretical assumptions, based on which two years later the Industrial Art Studio was established within the Faculty of Interior Design. The studio grew – it was soon transformed into the Department of Industrial Design with two studios, and finally, in 1977, it became the basis for the creation of a separate Faculty of Industrial Design. Before the Faculty of Design was finally established, subsequent years had to pass, during which organizational work was carried out and the foundations of the program were created. The Faculty of Industrial Design was finally established by order of the Ministry of Culture and Art in June 1977. The first dean was Dr Wróblewski, and the vice – dean was Prof. Tomaszewski.

The beginnings of the Faculty of Industrial Design: between architecture, art, and technology

The interests and competencies of the Faculty’s creators determined its program in the first years of its existence. On the one hand, artistic traditions were not broken, but on the other, inspired by the influential scientific operationalism, rigorous modernist thinking was introduced accompanied by a study and research program. From the very beginning, the programme of the Faculty of Industrial Design included visual communication and learning the history of the discipline, as well as developing humanistic sensitivity in future designers. The distinguishing feature of education at the Faculty of Industrial Design is the abandonment of the „master” model, replaced by teamwork, a partnership approach, exchange of experiences and developing solutions through dialogue.

The various areas of interest and education of the founders of the Faculty, Sołtan, Wróblewski, and Tomaszewski, determined and outlined the profile of the newly established unit. Sołtan was an architect, Wróblewski an artist, and Tomaszewski specialized in technical and construction issues. From the very beginning, the program of the Faculty of Industrial Design was inscribed in the modernist traditions dating back to the Bauhaus, which can be summarized with Louis Sullivan’s bon mot: „form follows function”. In the 1970s, when the Faculty was established, its shape was strongly influenced by the fashionable ideas of scientific operationalism originating from the Hochschule für Gestaltung of Ulm (HfG), with which Polish designers were in contact. It was an even more purist version of functionalism, which consisted of maximally simplifying the form, rejecting expression, and striving to eliminate aesthetic styling. The inspiration from the Ulm School also meant the introduction of a studio and research thread.

The programme also included the study of visual communication, overseen by Roman Duszek. In 1980, the General Art Education Department, led by the painter Jacek Sempoliński, was established, to focus on the so – called pure arts – painting, drawing, and sculpture. From the very beginning, the creators of the Faculty’s programme attached great importance to the general intellectual development of students, whom they wanted to see as intellectuals, sensitive to the humanistic, social and economic contexts of the discipline. In 2004, the Department of History and Theory of Design was established (since 2014 a Department), headed by Józef A. Mrozek. This unit introduced classes that go beyond the usual humanities education at art universities, offering a reflection on contemporary times from the perspective of various disciplines. From the beginning of the Faculty’s existence, it was also important to move away from the „master” model typical for the Academy of Fine Arts, which was replaced by learning teamwork and developing solutions through dialogue and exchange of experiences between specialists in various fields.

Transformation: economic crisis, international cooperation, new challenges

After the economic crisis of the 1980s, the Faculty of Industrial Design faced the challenge of formulating educational models for designers for the new, rapidly changing market reality. At the turn of the 1980s and 1990s, the Faculty participated in a long – term international cooperation program, and in 2002, as the first among Polish art and design faculties, it introduced a two – stage course of study, thus adapting to global teaching standards.

The 1980s were a difficult time for the Faculty of Design. The crisis in the Polish economy meant a reduction in industrial production and consequently, a reduction in demand for designers’ services. Throughout the crisis years, the department was led by Wojciech Wybieralski, who served as dean for two terms from 1985. From 1985 to 1995, teachers and students of the Faculty took part in a cooperation and exchange program initiated by Lou Taylor, a lecturer in the history of clothing at the Technical University in Brighton. This initiative led to long – lasting relationships between the program participants and opened the Faculty to cooperation with universities from Western Europe. In 2002, by the Bologna Declaration, the Faculty of Design was the first among Polish art and design faculties to introduce a two – stage course of study, divided into bachelor’s and master’s studies.

The new millennium: from cooperation with global companies to fashion and social design

After 2000, students of the Faculty of Industrial Design began to take advantage of the opportunities offered by the Faculty’s opening to international cooperation, both in terms of access to global companies and the possibility of student exchanges with European institutions. At the same time, the Faculty began to intensify its collaboration with local governments and non – governmental institutions on socially engaged projects. The study of crafts was added to the pillars of teaching at the Faculty, as well as something that in the following decades became the foundation of all education at the Faculty – awareness of responsibility for the planet and the environment. In 2010, the Fashion Department was established, introducing a completely innovative education program for fashion designers.

After a difficult transition period in the 1990s, when the Polish economy was undergoing rapid transformation and designers had to adapt to new technologies and methods of cooperation with enterprises, the beginning of the new decade brought enormous interest in design studies. The attractiveness of the Faculty was strengthened by increasingly intensive cooperation with large global companies and outstanding designers. Students began participating in workshops and creating projects for companies such as Ikea, Alessi, Hansgrohe, and Nokia. At the same time, projects began in collaboration with non –governmental organizations, city authorities, and other institutions dealing with non – commercial activities. Within these partnerships, an increasing number of projects were created with public spaces and marginalized individuals, such as the unemployed or disabled people. In 2010, Dean Jerzy Porębski opened the Fashion Department at the Faculty of Design, entrusting leadership and programme development to Janusz Noniewicz. The department is distinguished by its original teaching programme, which is correlated with the specifics of the global fashion market. The international staff of the Department, which includes active designers in the world of fashion, combines design education with art, introducing critical thinking and embedding this discipline in a social context. In 2009, in response to the expansion of the unit’s profile, as well as changes within the discipline itself, the name was changed from the Faculty of Industrial Design to the Faculty of Design.

Faculty authorities

Dean's Office

Faculty of Design
Myśliwiecka 8,
00-459 Warszawa

22 628 16 23