I was born in Krakow on 21st January 1953. In 1978 I graduated
with distinction from the Faculty of Architecture of the Krakow University
of Technology (for the first time in the history of the Faculty,
the degree was obtained for the completed design project presented
during architectural exhibitions in Milan and Zagreb). The design was
then listed by the Faculty of Architecture for competition for the best
diploma work in Poland (Skrypij competition in Warsaw).
From 1979–86 I was employed at the Division of Architecture for
Sport and Recreation of the Krakow University of Technology, working
under the supervision of professor A. Skoczek. At the same time
I designed many completed residences in Warsaw and Krakow and
about 40 interiors. In 1986 I designed and supervised the construction
of the first “papal” chapel in Miłogoszcz near Myślenice.
Since 1986 I have been the partner in my father’s firm – The Artistic
Tayloring Studio J. Turbasa – which has a clientele of presidents,
Nobel and Oscar prize winners and other celebrities. I have also
worked as a fashion designer for “Elle” and “Twój Styl” magazines. I
have contributed to the “Dziennik Polski" as a fashion columnist
(since 1996). My column was called “Skrojone z szykiem” – “Tailormade
and chic”. I have tried my hand at various designs including
houses in Warsaw and Krakow, gardens, interiors, tombstones,
stained-glass and fashion collections.
In 2000 I designed the monument of the Pope John Paul II and its
environs at the Park Strzelecki as well one-half of the park.
In 2001 I created the fabulously colourful interior of the “Pod
Krzyżykiem” restaurant at the Main Market Square in Krakow. I also
published a book The ABC of an Elegant Man. It was reviewed by
Wisława Szymborska in her book Nowe lektury nadobowiązkowe
(New non-obligatory reads, Wydawnictwo Literackie 2002). I also
contributed regularly to the “Puls Biznesu” magazine.
In 2006 I became the “King” of the Fowler Brotherhood of the
term 2006–07 assuming the name “The Third”. After the ceremony of
ascending to the throne on 3rd June 2006 the title went for the third
time to the member of the Turbasa family. Earlier my father “Brzoza-
Sprawiedliwy” (“Birch – the Just”) 1989–90 and my brother “Łowiec”
(“Hunter") 1996–97 were also made the Fowler Kings. It was an occurence
quite unprecedented in the history of the Fowler Brotherhood.
The motto of my term in office were the words of the Pope John
Paul II: “you should cultivate the old tradition of your brotherhood
and keep it for the next generations”. I found these words greatly
obliging. I had yet another book published – Garnitur polski (The Polish
Suit, Wydawnictwo AA).
In May 2005 a tailcoat from our studio became a museum showpiece.
It was Andrzej Wajda who donated his tailcoat of the Member
of the French Academy, tailored at our studio, to the Museum of the
In 2007 next two books were published ...Ubierając kobietę sukcesu...
(…Dressing a Success Woman...) and in 2010 ...abyście stare tradycje...
(...to cultivate the old traditions..., Wydawnictwo AA).
Let me also mention collaboration with Krystyna Zachwatowicz
and Andrzej Wajda for TV production of the Hamlet where I designed
the costume for Teresa Budzisz Krzyżanowska who played the
main part. I appeared in the film about a pre-eminent actress Anna
Polony and in Istnienie (Existence) directed by Jerzy Koszałka. Moreover,
Jacek Balcewicz organised a photo exhibition “Tailor made architecture”
presenting our studio .
The most cherished achievement of my life is my wonderful family
– my wife Dorota and children Jakub, Natalia and Marysia.
Summing up, let me say that I owe my knowledge of proportion,
composition and spatial vision to the Deans of the Faculty of Architecture
in Krakow, Professors Dariusz Kozłowski and Andrzej Skoczek.
In my opinion there is only one design. The material is irrevelant. It
may be concrete, wood, glass, piece of fabric or word. Tayloring is like
carving in fabric in order to capture the beauty of every single person.
We have worked here in Krakow for 65 years in św. Gertrudy
Street. In our family, for generations, most men are named starting
with a “J”. Owing to this Cracovian pragmatic approach our products
have been signed by the same unchanged logo – “J. TURBASA”.
Krakow, June 2010
More at www.turbasa.pl