Pawel hails from the land of the famous 80’s new wave band a-ha. We get the Norwegian’s “take on” his role as the owner and lead designer of Diagonalt, and its sister design firm Desagn. Our partnership with Diagonalt is a first for us and to celebrate, Pawel has given us his time in the interview below and a discount for our readers.

Enjoy!

Photo courtesy of Pawel Bilas

RYE30 Racing: Your products are simple and modern. I feel like that style is a perfect fit for the subject matter because the classic BMWs you feature speak well for themselves. Can you talk about what might have inspired you to showcase the cars this way?

Well, I love the whole sensation of Bavarian cars. I can’t express myself what this nostalgic emotion does to my soul. I’m just simply, very into it. I think it’s the personalities, the mindset, the lifestyle…I’ve always been attracted to the simplicity and pure function. It kind of came out somehow. I wanted to give something from me to the enthusiasts – as a designer and enthusiast myself. It seems that everybody focuses on the most known models like M3 etc. I wanted to expose the cars that enthusiasts truly admire. The rarity, uniqueness and simple forms with personal touches. Back then, I didn’t know how to express it. One day I’ve noticed one drawing of the E30 – it was something. But I felt I can make it better, and here we are.

Photo courtesy of Pawel Bilas

RYE30 Racing: It’s easy to make products at home these days by simply outsourcing, or designing and manufacturing them at home with design programs, high-quality printers, and 3D printing technology. How involved are you in the manufacturing of any of the products?

I do as much as I can! To give an example: I prefer to shoot the real cars in the right angles, that I can later work on. I often spend late evenings getting the lines the way I want. It’s all about showing the basics until the car looks complete. I’ve produced a lot of prints at home. I still do, but now just the custom prints. The rest is produced by a print house that I’ve collaborated for a while. It came to that point that I can not afford doing it at home. It took a while to find good materials and processes that I’m happy with. I also have one friend that helps me with the calendars shipment. To be honest, it’s cheaper to outsource bigger orders. In that way, I get more time to deal with promotions, customers, ideas and design of the new products. It’s my pleasure to do so. 

RYE30 Racing: We noticed some fashionable displays of your One Model Prints on your Diagonalt homepage. What’s the best way to display your prints and calendars? Thank you! I’m trying to display my products in an honest and tasty kind of way. I think my minimalist side is talking there strong. I’m inspired by Dieter Ram, that once said that products we use every day affect our person and our well-being. He also meant that the product design should, therefore, be both neutral and restrained, to leave room for the user’s self-expression. Good design is thorough down to the last detail. Nothing must be arbitrary or left to chance. I would like it if people had that in mind, before displaying my products.

RYE30 Racing: RYE30 Racing has a mandate to practice the Four “R’s” (Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Refuse) as much as possible in the course of our building and racing. Can you speak to any direct or indirect efforts to be sustainable or use recycled products?

Are we talking about car products? I love to search for used and rare BMW stuff! I like collecting, renovating and reusing old parts. I do also sell them sometimes when I realize that I don’t need them anymore.
This mindset translates to Diagonalt. Living nowadays and expressing nostalgic cars end its era couldn’t exist without a good sustainability story behind. All of my papers and materials are carefully selected to meet my imposed needs. Recycling suits my products very well. I think it’s the only way to do it.

RYE30 Racing: Do you have any products in development that you’re excited about offering?

Yes. I have plenty of car models that are not in the store yet. It takes quite a time preparing a good product presentation. You know, there is this thing, when you do things for yourself, you’re never happy and always find something that could be better. I’ve been planning to extend the horizon for stickers too. Everything is set, I just need to make some decisions about the model and color combination – it’s not that easy as it sounds.

Photo courtesy of Pawel Bilas

About Pawel:

RYE30 Racing: I know very little about Norway. What is the car culture like there?

Different. However, I’m focused on the BMW culture and events. We have strong sociality. There is always something happening. Even during the winter. We tend to have fun with the cars on the frozen lakes. It’s the cheapest way of racing cars and brings lots of fun. I think racing cars are popular in Norway. There are many possibilities to do it safely and legally. The best thing is, that enthusiasts help each other a lot. Have you, for example, heard the story behind the renovation of DTM E30 M3 Jägermeister? It’s the perfect example of how shared passion unites and helps people. That’s why I love being into it. It’s not really about the cars – it’s the people and atmosphere that make it worth it.

RYE30 Racing: I browsed your portfolio, Desagn and was very impressed! How long have you been practicing as a professional graphic designer?

Professional – it’s when you first get paid for your work, isn’t it? Then I’ve been doing it for over ten years I think. 

Photo courtesy of Pawel Bilas

RYE30 Racing: What was your first job as a professional?

I can’t remember. Maybe I have too many thoughts about the future in my head. I’ve started sole proprietorship already during my high school and did different, weird projects for people and companies in my hometown.

RYE30 Racing: What would your ideal BMW be?

That would be a perfect condition Henna red BMW E30 M3. Probably with a few racing and personal relishes.

RYE30 Racing: Do you own any BMWs now?

I own only BMW’s. I do have a Zinobber red 2-Door E30 with M42 engine. I’ve always wanted to have a red IS, almost like from the first catalog page – Meer motor, Meer auto, Meer sport. I’ve renovated engine, suspension and every moving part of it. It took me over a year to have it finished. The paint works are not perfect. Probably that’s why I’ve decided to take it on our vacation trips for the last two years. 
Another one is a 1983 E28 with M10 motor. Bought it cheaply from my friend and rescued from death. It was meant to be my winter car, back when I had the E30 Cabrio M-Technic II. The 5 Series has been with me for about 4-5 years now. We’ve been through a lot together.She brings me the most joy of all the cars that I’ve ever driven. My girl likes it a lot too and she doesn’t allow me to sell it. Funny that I’ve never liked the E28’s until I started to own one.
A few months ago I bought the brown E30 320i. Preface 2-doors.Original car in good condition and low mileage. She needs some love, but I guess she will be fine with me. The only thing is that I’m not sure what to do with her yet. 
And my daily. I’ve been driving classic cars for a long time, every day. But last year we’ve decided to buy a “new” car. The E92 325iA showed up. I said well, why not? It took me about one month and she was transformed as I wanted. It’s so easy to customize “new” cars. You can just go and buy parts, install them and… drive. Very easy compared to the oldies.

RYE30 Racing: Where do you see yourself, and Diagonalt or Desagn in five or ten years?

I hope it grows and I can do it for a living. I recently quit my daily job to start working only with these things. I do have expanding plans and I hope it will go somehow right. It’s still much work to get it all where I want it to be. But I enjoy combining my work and passion to shape my future. The best thing is that I get a lot of opportunities to meet new, fascinating and engaged people.

Check out Pawel’s products and work at Diagonalt.com and Desagn.com, and on Instagram @diagonalt.

We’d like to thank Pawel again for his time! Don’t forget to check out his site diagonalt.com and use our promo code “RYE30” for 16% off everything but calendars (which are our favorite product here at RYE30 Racing). Thanks for reading!

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