Designer Marcin Rusak rallies international creatives to raise funds for Ukraine

Raising funds for Poland’s Fundacja Ocalenie, Warsaw-based designer Marcin Rusak is making the most of Instagram’s immediacy, auctioning original pieces donated by international designers

clay collections
Some of the pieces from Marcin Rusak’s auction. Top row, from left: ‘Touched’ table lamp by Studio Truly Truly; ‘Osis Block Flat’ table by Llot Llov; and ‘Untitled IV’ from the series ‘Fortune Teller Told Me’ by Sonia Szóstak. Bottom row, from left: ‘Rose Ripple Spine II’ vessel by Julie Nelson; ‘Meteorite Vessel Honey’ by Alexa Lixfeld; and vase from the ‘Clay’ collection by Formafantasma for Bitossi
(Image credit: Marcin Rusak)

Poland-based designer Marcin Rusak has gathered a global network of international creatives to raise funds in support of Ukrainian migrants. In record time, Rusak rallied a growing number of creatives from his network and beyond, working with Poland’s Fundacja Ocalenie (Rescue Foundation), a non-governmental organisation whose primary aim is to help refugees and migrants settle in by providing them with support on all fronts, from distributing housing, food and essentials, to paperwork assistance and integration with local communities. Since its founding in 2000, the foundation has helped people fleeing from Syria, Chechnya, Ukraine, Tajikistan, Iraq, Afghanistan, Somalia, Belarus, and more. 

Raising funds for Ukraine: how to bid

grid of six designs

Top row, from left: ‘Chub Vase’ by Tessa Silva; ‘Arnold Circus Stool’ by Martino Gamper; and ‘Moon’ plate by Studio Rygalik. Bottom row, from left: detail of ‘Ashes’ vases by Studio B Severin; ‘Vase Douglas no. 242’ by François Azambourg; and carved aluminium vase by Soft Baroque 

(Image credit: Marcin Rusak)

Until 31 March 2022, people will be able to bid on Rusak’s Instagram for original design pieces donated by the likes of Formafantasma, Faye Toogood, Bethan Laura Wood, Max Lamb, Simone Bodmer-Turner and more. The roster was assembled with the support of international galleries and private collectors. 

‘As a Warsaw-based studio, we are facing a radical shift in our everyday reality,’ says Rusak, who relocated to Warsaw from London in 2019, setting up an experimental studio in the city to continue his research into designing with flora. ‘More than 1.7 million refugees have come to Poland already, with many more in transit. Poles have been self-organising and creating makeshift volunteering groups, offering their homes, transport and other services, and joining with NGOs.’

Since announcing the initiative, more designers have reached out to Rusak, offering their help from the US, the UK, Germany, Italy, Belgium, Slovenia, Georgia, the Netherlands, and even Ukraine itself. ‘It was also heartwarming to acknowledge that our Poland-based Belarussian friends who fled [Alexander] Lukashenko’s regime after the faked presidential elections, are now donating to help our neighbours.’

All available pieces can be browsed on Instagram, and include textile art, ceramics, lighting, furniture and more. Bids are accepted via comment or direct message and close on 31 March 2022.


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Rosa Bertoli was born in Udine, Italy, and now lives in London. Since 2014, she has been the Design Editor of Wallpaper*, where she oversees design content for the print and online editions, as well as special editorial projects. Through her role at Wallpaper*, she has written extensively about all areas of design. Rosa has been speaker and moderator for various design talks and conferences including London Craft Week, Maison & Objet, The Italian Cultural Institute (London), Clippings, Zaha Hadid Design, Kartell and Frieze Art Fair. Rosa has been on judging panels for the Chart Architecture Award, the Dutch Design Awards and the DesignGuild Marks. She has written for numerous English and Italian language publications, and worked as a content and communication consultant for fashion and design brands.