Ever heard of Maciej Kozlowski? If you’re looking for a career in archviz, it’s about time you do. Let’s dig into the story of the Architect, Visual Artist and Design Director in charge of one of the biggest archviz hubs in Europe. And one of the most brilliant guys we know.
But let’s clear up one thing first: Being the Design Director at TMRW is not an easy task. In fact, only a few people in the archviz universe have what it takes to operate on his level. Managing the entire studio in TMRW Gdańsk, working with Google HQ one day only to jump straight into a new city masterplan in Saudi Arabia, the next.
Not only does it take a deep understanding of cultural differences, traditions, and a certain nose for local trends, but extraordinary people-skills. Being the crucial chain link between clients, production, planning, and design.
”If someone stopped me five years ago saying I’d have this role, I’d probably just laugh. I never thought of myself as a guy with good communication skills.”Maciej Kozlowski
Day after day, he guides our artists and their work into world-class perfection, ensuring the visualizations get what they need to serve their purpose. And ultimately: win the attention and desire of the target audience — even if it means questioning both his clients’ and colleagues’ beliefs.
With one sharp eye of the architect and one of a visual artist, Maciej is one of a kind. And it’s about time we put this humble Design Director in the spotlight.
Nothing, but Maciej
Is that Him? This 34-year-old sitting in front of his laptop, dressed in a plain black shirt absorbing the sharp daylight. The creative leader behind some of the most complex projects in the history of architectural visualization, the Guy that everybody’s talking about.
No spacey furniture. No fancy art books. No show-offs of famous skyscrapers he and his colleagues visualized in the background. Nothing but Maciej. However, with his massive list of successful projects fresh in mind, you’ve got to respect a humble manner.
“There were so many trial-and-errors. But I only did what I thought was fun. That’s why I kept going.”Maciej Kozlowski
So what’s his story, how did this archviz wizard end up here? Maciej, who went from being one out of five recruits at the new TMRW office in Gdańsk, to leading the work of more than twenty artists — in only three years. Serving clients with jaw-dropping visualizations of prominent landmarks on a daily basis.
To know, we’ll have to travel at least twenty years back in time.
Trials and errors for the fun of it
”If someone stopped me five years ago saying I’d have this role, I’d probably just laugh. I never thought of myself as a guy with good communication skills. Honestly, I didn’t realize I liked doing this at all. It’s crazy when you think about it.”
“Everything happened in three years: First, I was one of the artists assigned to do the images. Then I became responsible for handling the project. When we finalized, I was the Design Director.”Maciej Kozlowski
When most people in archviz started with a passion for architecture, for Maciej, it was the other way around. At fourteen, years before arch-school, he was busy doing 3D. Fighting a dinosaur PC which, if it were alive today, probably would be outsmarted by a smartwatch. Making games, building cars. Eager to learn everything he found on the Internet.
“There were so many trial-and-errors. Software crashing, computer overheating. I repeatedly saw all my work get killed, having to build it all over again. But I only did what I thought was fun. That’s why I kept going.”
The glory in being called a thief
What he didn’t know then was that all hours spent in his teenage room in Gdańsk, building worlds in 3D Studio Max and Photoshop, were about to open doors in the real one. Namely to the architectural design program and the technical university, where his unusual set of skills gave the professor a moment of doubt.
“The task was to design a contemporary single-family villa at a demanding site, and I put a lot of effort into it. But when I finally presented my work, the professor accused me of stealing the visualizations from someone else. It was so unusual for arch-students to be able to visualize their products at this level.”
”But you know, it’s a great thing. Working in a company that grows at such an amazing pace. It creates a lot of opportunities.”Maciej Kozlowski
And maybe, it was on that morning of the second term that his future carrier in archviz was determined. 2019 he got a call from TMRW, offering him the job as a visual artist at their new office in Gdańsk. A position that was about to take him thousands of miles further than he first signed up for.
One project to change it all
“Everything happened in three years: First, I was one of the artists assigned to do the images. Then I became responsible for handling the project. When we finalized it, I was the Design Director. So this project didn’t only change people’s view of the future. It most definitely changed me.”
The images Maciej is talking about show the city of New York. But nothing like the usual postcard skyline crowded with famous scrapers. Instead, they reveal a possible view of the city one hundred years from now. And ever since, this guy has continued to wow the world with the most striking visualizations.
”You don’t need to go to several schools or see hundreds of tutorials. Just letting yourself dive into something. That, in my opinion, is the best way to learn.”Maciej Kozlowski
The future is written in the stars
So what kind of boss is he? The spontaneous laughter breaking out on the other side probably says it all. In fact, he’s struggling not to fix his colleagues’ design flaws by himself over lunchtime. For the sake of the team. And a little bit for his own pleasure.
“You know, it’s tempting. One of my biggest challenges today is not diving into every detail like I used to. And I must confess: I do have a problem staying out of it. But you know, it’s a great thing. Working in a company that grows at such an amazing pace. It creates a lot of opportunities.”
Speaking of growth, another essential task of Maciej is recruiting new talents to join the Gdańsk office. And for any 2D or 3D artists looking for a career in archviz, his advice is this:
”You don’t need to go to several schools or see hundreds of tutorials. Just letting yourself dive into something, doing it on your own, knowing the process comes with many failures. That, in my opinion, will always be the best way to learn.”
Inspiring words coming from the guy who just did his first interview. However, with his ongoing list of high-profile fresh in mind, we’d be surprised if it was his last.
Let’s cut to the chase:
Maciej in 19 seconds
- Joined TMRW: In March 2019
- Favorite project: Future NYC
- Finds his inspiration: In movies, landscape photography, paintings and graphic design
- Best career advice: Stay open-minded