Taking shape: Aileen Lee profiles architectural designer Magda Walecka

Magda Walecka

Magda Walecka is an architectural designer based in Galway.

What’s your background?

Fourteen years ago, I came to Galway after leaving my job in a city planning department back in Poland and fell in love with it.

Over the years I worked for a number of architectural offices where I gained a lot of experience, but there was always a missing point when it came to the presentation and quality standard of visuals.

The turning point to set up our Galway Interior Design and 3D company was building our home in Connemara, when we realised the importance of the 3D visualisation to present our ideal home. We knew from that that we needed to bring it into our business for our clients.

What’s a typical workday like for you?

The day starts around 6am with getting things ready for my two daughters who are four and seven years old. I drive them to school and playschool. 

Then I go to the office for a quick update and then it could be anything from going to client/site meetings, supplier meetings, design reviews or looking after documentation.

As we are a small practice, we are very much hands-on depending on the priorities of the day. 

Early on we realised that we are so often out at site meetings that the typical office model wasn’t necessary for me. I often work from home or in a cafe depending on the day.

Tell us about a recent/favourite project or design?

A very personal project would be the design and build of our own house in Rosscahill, Co Galway.

There was a lot of struggling to get the best quality in things while keeping within our budget. 

We wanted to maintain the style so found compromise on the size of the house.

What’s your design style?

My designs are minimalist and combined with functionality, high quality and simplicity. Usability and aesthetic function must be complementary in the designed space, but it also must be warm and cosy. 

My interiors are based on natural materials, shaped with simple, clean lines.

What inspires your work?

I take from everything that surrounds us, at the right time it comes back and develops into idea. 

When I start new project and it’s an existing space, I like to stay in it, feel it, watch the natural light and then ideas and solutions surface.

I also draw inspiration from my own life story, I come from Poland where architecture is completely different, which I put in together with everything I see in Ireland.

Travelling is also extremely important for inspiration, although it doesn’t happen as often as I’d like.

What’s your favourite trend at the moment?

The Japandi style which combines many aspects of living in Japan and Scandinavian countries. 

Both cultures have very similar aesthetics and design, based on minimalism, a quiet appreciation of beauty in the functional, and a calm and serene approach to life.

What’s your most treasured possession?

It’s very precious for me to be able to live in a house I designed for myself. 

And physically there are two things I feel very associated with, the Bauhaus set of old chairs we brought from Poland and restored with new fabrics, and second are the plywood stairs we made ourselves.

They give us simplicity and connect the downstairs natural timber floor with upstairs.

Your favourite designer?

I like Shinichiro Ogata and his studio, Simplicity, which uses natural materials to create naturally beautiful and elegant interiors.

What would be a dream project for you to work on?

I like to be surprised and go with what life brings. 

I like challenges and I’d like my projects to be interesting and enjoyable for myself and my customers for the next 30 years of my work.

Have you any design tips?

Don’t be shy or afraid to push back to express your needs, likes and dislikes when developing your space. 

If you need to shape your ideas into feasible form get in touch with interior designer experts. 

It will always save your time and money. We should be also paying more attention to the way we build and design.

Our houses should use more materials which last longer and respect the natural environment.

Instagram: @galwayinteriordesign

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