23 Sep 2010 00:00 - 26 Sep 2010 00:00
Czech Design at the London Design Festival
Czech design returns to Earl‘s Court this year to present numerous original creations and concepts, including furniture, fashion and glass by the country’s best designers and studios. Expect a lot of talent and objects to love.
The Czech Republic at the International 100% Design trade fair in London in 2010
Organisation: Ministry of Industry and Trade, Expo group s.r.o.
Cooperation: Museum of Decorative Arts in Prague
Design of trade fair presentation: Studio Olgoj Chorchoj, Prague
The twentieth anniversary of the fall of Communism in the Czech Republic evoked much social reflection. Meanwhile the young generations interest in modern design became one of the most marked changes. In the Socialist era the concept of design was categorised with the terms “prohibited,” Capitalist, smacking of too much individual freedom, with a non-centralised market and production. Today in the Czech Republic design is a fully integrated term of social life to which new institutions contribute, with the support of the media and the state.
One of the most important events is the annual week-long Designblok festival of design, organised by the Profil Media agency since 1998 and figuring among the most extensive European shows of its kind. The Academy of Design, which has annually awarded the Czech Grand Design Awards since 2006, arose from the initiative of the Designblok organisers. The DesignGuide.cz and CzechDesign.cz web portals monitor the goings-on in the area of design, just like the periodicals Dolce Vita, Blok, Okolo and H.O.M.E.
The state support of the foreign presentation of companies involved in interior design has a tradition in the Czech milieu reaching back to the very origin of Czechoslovakia in 1918. In recent years the Ministry of Industry and Trade has also supported selected Czech companies at several annual international trade fairs, which also includes 100% Design in London. The collection of interior and fashion accessories called Czech Selection presents a selection of products from Czech companies for which design is an important marketing factor. The companies combine technological innovation with unique manual technologies, especially in the area of glass.
The company here with the oldest tradition, TON, reaches back to the middle of the 19th century. In 1861 Michael Thonet established a factory in Moravia for the production of the famed chairs made of bent wood – an icon of modern design. "Thonets" are still a successful business article, without their production technology undergoing any changes. TON is among the largest international producers of chairs, exporting to European Union countries, the United States of America, Japan and Australia. Moser, which recently celebrated the 150th anniversary of its existence, is headquartered in the spa town of Karlovy Vary. The Moser brand still represents world-class high-quality luxury coloured and crystal drinking and decorative glass. Over the course of the 20th century the Moser glassworks worked with important Czech designers and today it also issues limited series designed by renowned designers of all generations such as René Roubíček and Jiří Šuhajek. In the current Fresh for Moser collection designers of the young and middle generation, such as Olgoj Chorchoj, Jan Čtvrtník, Rony Plesl and others, are represented. Production was also renewed in the famed glassworks in Světlá nad Sázavou, which entered the market under the Bohemia Machine brand. They specialise in automatically-cut glass. Since 2009 it has been developing limited edition drinking sets from several generations of Czech designers: the late Vratislav Šotola and František Vízner from the older generation, Studio Koncern, Rony Plesl and Olgoj Chorchoj from the middle generation and the fresh graduate of the Academy of Arts, Architecture and Design Mária Hostinová. ARTĚL GLASS specialises in cooperation with artists and the implementation of their designs in the technique of manual crystal glass cutting. Sets of glasses and decorations according to the designs of Maxim Velčovský, Petr Nikl, Eva Eisler, Zdeněk Lhotský and František Skála enrich traditional glasses with a dimension of fantasy motifs.
Brnos A.M.O.S. Design was established soon after the Velvet Revolution. At first it focussed on the import and export of international brands of lights, later it also added its own production of office furniture from corian. The fusion of the Process woodworking company and Lucie Koldová, a graduate of the Academy of Arts, Architecture and Design, represents successful cooperation with designers of the youngest generation. Their solitaire furniture has aroused a response at Czech and international design shows (Treasury Table).
The following studios, which originated at the beginning of the second millennium and have already gained world renown, represent the personal interconnection of designers, manufacturers and salespeople. Pragues Studio Qubus Design operates the production and sale of non-standard interior accessories, distinguished by a conceptual, frequently ironic playfulness with the meanings and functions of items and materials, often according to the designs of Jakub Berdych and Maxim Velčovský. A showroom supporting modern Czech design was opened in the centre of Prague under the name of Futurista Universum. Futurista Universum, supporting contemporary Czech design by designers of predominantly the younger generation such as Filip Šlapal, Petr Václavek, Markéta Richterová, David Crla and Jiří Pelcl. The company also produces editions of Czech design icons, such as the original furniture of the legendary Hotel Ještěd.
Companies oriented on the production and sale of hand-made glass are also among the recently-established organisations. In 2009 Space Cz established the Verreum brand for preserving the tradition of mercury glass technology. Designers of the middle generation such as Leoš Smejkal, Dagmar Pánková, Petr Vaďura, Rony Plesl, Olgoj Chorchoj and Vladimír Žák design for the Verreum brand. Lasvits artistic objects are oriented on the emotional effect of glass in interiors and exteriors. The young generation of designers, including Jitka Skuhravá, Daniel Jaček, Alena Matějková, Lene Bosket and others, provide Lasvits designs of collectible sets, lighting collections and glass sculptures, which have found use in interiors the world over. The supply of luxury glass lights for the Dubai metro in 2009 is among its largest international successes.
A specific assortment is offered by Marubi, which specialises in the quality workmanship of large vases made of engineered stone.
Jiří Belda re-established the family firm from the beginning of the 20th century in North Bohemia under the name Belda Factory. Belda Factory has become the most recognised domestic producer of modern jewellery, experimenting with non-traditional materials, steel, titanium and artificial substances. Belda Factory makes small series in cooperation with designers of the young and middle generations, such as with Filip Streit, Ondřej Kopečný, Tereza Froňková, as well as with the world-renowned architect Eva Jiřičná.
Products from Botas and Elton hodinářská, a traditional manufacturer of watches in the Czech Republic, round out the collection. This year it came to the market with a limited series of PRIM Arteu watches created by designers of the young and middle generations such as Jan Jaroš, Olgoj Chorchoj and Lenka Soukupová. Botas achieved significant international acclaim for the redesign of the Botas sports shoes from 1966, which were designed by Jan Klos and Jakub Korouš.
Curator of the Museum of Decorative Arts in Prague
116 Long Acre
WC2E 9PA London
From: 23 Sep 2010 00:00
To: 26 Sep 2010 00:00