A craftsman who specialises in sculpting mosques, lighthouses, churches and ships out of amber plans to create a replica of the towering Burj Khalifa.
Tomasz Oldziejewski, a Polish designer, has got his name in the Guinness World Records for the world's largest amber sculpture – a two-metre lighthouse that required about 50 kilograms of amber.
He previously featured in the Guinness World Records for creating a 1.5-metre-long replica of the Titanic using 40kg of amber.
He is fascinated by the UAE and his plan to hand-carve a model of the world’s tallest building using a type of amber known as "Baltic gold" will place him in the record books again.
“I’m planning to build a three-metre-high Burj Khalifa,” he told The National in Gdansk, a northern Polish port city.
“It will be logistically difficult because of the structure but I’m keen to take on the challenge.
“The amber Burj will be a tribute to the people of Dubai.”
Master of amber
Mr Oldziejewski, 49, has never visited the UAE but has clients in the region who purchase amber-layered models of luxury cars, eagles, horses, jewellery and maps of countries.
Each artwork can take weeks to build.
Called the "master of amber" in his home country, Mr Oldziejewski has been working with the stone to produce art for several decades.
He has made a replica of the Sheikh Zayed Mosque, a map of the UAE and models of ships for families in the region.
“I want to build more in the Middle East. I’m very keen to do work in the Emirates, I'm passionate about this,” he said.
The works have been bought by private collectors or displayed in museums in Poland.
The amber UAE map costs about $20,000 and one of his more expensive pieces, the Titanic model, sold for $100,000.
His most recent record, the lighthouse, took more than seven weeks to create, while the Titanic took about a month.
“Before I make the model, I find the design so I can accurately portray it,” he said.
“I can sometimes spend 14 hours a day working. When making works of amber, I feel freedom. I feel nothing can limit my inspiration and creativity.”
Amber, a fossilised tree resin, is found in hundreds of colour variations from honey yellow and pale green, to dark brown.
The Baltic region where Gdansk is located is home to the world’s largest known deposits of amber, and crowds of tourists search the beaches in Poland for the gemstone after storms.
The Polish Geological Institute estimates about six tonnes of amber is collected on Baltic beaches every year.
“I enjoy making these creations because of the pleasure it gives people,” he said.
“My last record, the lighthouse, was a tribute to fishermen and locals,” he said about the model coated with dark brown stones and built on the lines of a popular tourist attraction, a tower of red and brown bricks in the seaside city of Hel.
“I have not visited the UAE but I have many friends from the Middle East who have told me about the country. I feel I know the country through my friendships.
“I worked for long to get the colour and look of the lighthouse. Now, I’m ready for Burj Khalifa.”