In the late nineteenth century, the eccentric artist and philosopher Stanislaw Witkiewicz decided that Poland needed a national style of its own. Searching for a Polish visual and cultural identity, he found it here in the mountains in Zakopane. Inspired by local, traditional styles and craftwork, Witkiewicz developed what turned out to become known as the ‘Zakopane Style’, something similar in impact and importance to the Arts and Crafts Movement in England in the late 19th century. Both movements represented the beginning of a new appreciation of the decorative arts throughout Europe.
The primary architectural inspiration for Witkiewicz came from wonderful wooden churches of the region. Their synthesis of beauty, functionality and local craftsmanship inspired Witkiewicz to develop an architectural style for new buildings in Zakopane, which at that time was booming in popularity as a tourist destination. Witkiewicz brought his ideas to fruition in his design and construction of the Villa Koliba, where he not only designed this delightful residence, but in addition everything from the curtains to the coffee pots, all of which bear the stamp of his folkloric vision. The Villa Koliba is now a museum where you can see his vision in all its glory. Upstairs at this museum you can also discover a group of portaits by his legendary son, also named Stanislaw, but known to his friends affectionately as Witkacy.
You can visit Villa Koliba and discover the magic of Zakopane’s wooden churches as part of the Zakopane Walking Tour