Marcin Rusak was born in 1987 Warsaw, Poland. He now lives and works in London. Marcin situates his work at the intersection of value, ephemerality and aesthetics. Marcin has a background in both humanities (BA from European Studies from University of Warsaw) and art programmes such as Man and Living at the conceptual Eindhoven Design Academy, Netherlands as well as receiving an MA in Design Products from London’s Royal College of Arts.


Roberto Sironi (1983) is an Italian designer based in Milan. His design practice combines art, craftsmanship and new technologies and his works have been presented and published internationally. Sironi collaborates with important art and design galleries and institutions such as Carwan Gallery, Gallery S.Bensimon, Bazar Noir Berlin, Fonderia Artistica Battaglia and Triennale Design Museum and he is also a Professor and Research Fellow at the Design Department of Politecnico di Milano.



A year-long project started with a residency in Turin, Italy, and culminated in the production of a collection of works and the publication of a monograph book on each designer.


“First, to feel the symbols, to feel that the symbols have life and soul – that the symbols are like us.”
Fernando Pessoa


The symbols that surround us are comparable to “encoded manifestations”. In the “forests of symbols” through which man passes, which “look at him with fond familiar eyes” – as Baudelaire writes – every signal from that world, filtered by our subjective sensibility and consciousness, has a potential for interpretation. The ritual association of signified and signifier coincides with an everyday practice, often enacted in an instinctive way and an automatic mode that obeys ancestral promptings, partially unjustifiable through logical-rational reasoning.

Material goods, in a more incisive way than in the past, are now expected to embody values, to become vectors of meaning, tools useful and necessary for the production of meaning, which is “extracted” from the ordinary sphere of everyday life to project it from the present into the immediate future.

This character that grants the object the status of a “symbol” also represents its dominant or prevalent functional aspect. As if to say: in a completely saturated global context of goods, users seek forms of privileged dialogue with certain objects, with which they often establish a relationship of recognition, or of empathy – and in any case of affection – that represents a specific function of the object itself, per se. This category of goods can be acknowledged as having not only an intense expressive impact, but also an incisive evocative role, factors that are necessary for their designation as symbolic objects in their own right or as devices that are useful – even necessary – to decipher specific categories of symbolic codes.

Relying on design activities it is possible to produce – or to activate – “instruments” for the encoding of the messages embodied in symbols, necessary to reveal their meaning in a total or partial way. Thinking about this category of “sensitive artifacts,” these “utensils of interpretation” through which we gain access to thresholds of unprecedented awareness and emotion, also leads to the formulation of original narrative theses, valid for the exploration of the “forest of symbols” that is a part – in a pervasive way, with many forms – of the life of every individual.

The Outcomes

Marcin Rusak
Protoplasting Nature: Encoded Symbols

Among the main suggestions collected during the residency experience in Turin, particularly significant was the visit to the extraordinary collection of the Museo Egizio; the work “Protoplasting Nature: Encoded Symbols” concentrates on the creation of a series of light sources: they are slender, light presences in which the organic matter – exactly as in the ritual of mummification – is treated to be conceptually suspended in an indefinite intermediate state of balance between life and death.
The selected leaves, subjected to zinc coating on the surface by nebulization, are transformed into thin metal sheets, solid membranes that incorporate and conserve the botanical matter and the memory of its evolution planned and controlled by man: in the imprint on the zinc the characteristics of parts of the original leaf of the plant are transferred, and its organic remains are preserved together with the memory of the place of birth, the gender and precise traits of the specimen.

Roberto Sironi
Ruins: Encoded Symbols

During the residency in Turin, the past presented itself on multiple occasions: the exposure to the architecture of the Baroque era, and that of the factories of the period of thriving industrial production in the city, provided crucial elements of inspiration.
The work “Ruins: Encoded Symbols” take the form of a series of projects defined by a sum of fragments of ancient or modern origin, translated respectively in the consistencies of Rima artificial marble and of bronze cast with the lost-wax method.
Grooved columns, moldings and friezes are juxtaposed with the reproduction of corrugated sheet metal and extruded sections: the exuberant forms of Turinese Baroque mingle with austere components of steel frame architecture, through combinations that seem to be formulated to allude to the rituals of mixing of alchemy, practiced in the magical-esoteric Turin of the past and perhaps also of the present.


The original works created following the stimuli and inspirations gathered during the residency in Turin are produced thanks to the involvement and collaboration of a well-known gallery, known in the international design scene.
The works of Marcin Rusak and Roberto Sironi are realized through a single collaboration, through a synergy between IN Residence and Carwan Gallery Athens.

The exhibition “Protoplasting Nature: Encoded Symbols” takes place in the wonderful spaces of the prestigious Carwan Gallery in Athens and displays seven lighting fixtures, unique pieces conceived and designed by Marcin Rusak. The show is taking place at the gallery in Athens from January 21st until March 27th 2021.

The “Ruins: Encoded Symbols” collection designed by Roberto Sironi is the protagonist of a preview by invitation at the Fonderia Artistica Battaglia in Milan; the solo exhibition is taking place at the gallery in Athens from 4th June 2021 until 17th July.


Published by NERO Editions, the monographic books are dedicated to the work of Marcin Rusak and Roberto Sironi, as part of a series of monographs on the thought and work of young contemporary designers.
Illustrated by a rich photographic series, the book presents the results of Rusak’s and Sironi’s creative thought through some selected projects; written by Barbara Brondi & Marco Rainò and designed by BRH+, the volume recounts the experience of the first IN Residence Design Residency inspired by the theme.