Česká centra, Czech Centres

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7 Sep 2007 00:00 - 13 Nov 2007 00:00

Design Beyond Sight

Czech innovation stars in an interactive display of tools, games and ideas for the visually impaired. The exhibition includes design prototypes, research objects and posters by Czech students of design and is open to both general public and design professionals.


7.9.2007 - 10.10.2007

School of Optometry and Vision Sciences, Cardiff University, Cardiff CF24


Info: 029 2087 4694





16.10.2007 - 13.11.2007

Queen Alexandra College, Court Oak Road, Harborne, Birmingam, B17 9TG


Info: 0121 428 5050






Design Beyond Sight– Design for the Visually Impaired


Design is a democratic discipline intended for all layers and groups of the society and it has to be able to react also to issues from marginal social areas. This is why the Design Beyond Sight (Design for Darkness) project - design for visually impaired – has been born. People with impaired vision do belong to such a specific group.

It is estimated that about 4 to 8 percent of population in every society is experiencing some troubles with vision. It is estimated that we have about 100 000 persons visually impaired, partially blind or fully blind in the Czech Republic. Looking at the Czech demographic structure it is quite clear that the number of handicapped people will experience a substantial growth in the next years because of the large group of older citizens born after World War II.

Our society is not prepared for this situation, either from the point of view of our social security system or from the point of view of the material world without which we cannot imagine the life of temporary man.

It is not a question of designing new and unnecessary things, but of responsible design of items needed for common everyday life. Some existing items require a functional improvement, others should be newly created. The products should serve to all, therefore their functional and design value must be attractive also to the sighted.


Michal Malina: Thermos flask and cups, 2005

Photo: Karolina Nemethova



Genesis of the Project


The Design Beyond Sight (Design for Darkness) project has been running from the year 2004. First, base materials on the needs of handicapped people has been gathered by discussions with erudite experts and with the blind and/or visually impaired. At the same time, all Bohemian, Moravian and Slovak high schools and universities training the designers and also organisations, institutions, associations and groups supporting and helping visually impaired were contacted to see if they would like to participate. Companies which produce products which could be adapted without great difficulty for use by the blind and the visually impaired were also contacted. A special workshop for enrolled students was held in education laboratories at the Faculty of Humanity of the Charles University in Prague. Integrated Organisation of the Blind and Visually Impaired (SONS) and Tyfloservice Centres hooked up for the visually impaired in various towns. Students had from the very beginning a possibility to permanently consult the issues with visually impaired people. There were discussions with eye doctors and people with experience in this field.

During the semester new models or adapted items were worked on in the schools later on assessed by the blind, teachers from the participating schools, the author of the project and curators. Selected models were first displayed at the Museum of Prague and at the National Technical Museum (within the framework of the art&interior exhibition). Visually impaired visitors had a possibility to assess individual works. Winner of this opinion pool, Petr Korecký with his tea-set For Darkness has won an intership in the Berlin Czech Centre. The tea-set is already being produced in the Český porcelán (Czech porcelain) in Dubí and entered the worldwide net of the Lions Club. The exhibition has been so far introduced in the Czech Republic, USA, Hungary, Slovakia, Poland and UK.


Vojtech Linhart: Electric bed control, 2005


Participants in the Project


Following institutions have taken part in the project: Academy of Arts, Architecture and Design in Prague (Ateliers in Prague and Zlín), the Higher Professional and Secondary  Graphic School Prague, Pedagogical Faculty of the Charles University (special pedagogy department), Humanities Faculty of the Charles University (general anthropology department), Faculty of Fine Arts, Brno University of Technology (product design studio), Faculty of Mechanical Engineering, Brno University of Technology (product design department), Faculty of Applied Arts and Design, Jan Evangelista Purkyně University in Ústí nad Labem (porcelain and ceramics studio), Institute of Art and Design, University of West Bohemian in Pilsen, Faculty of Textile Engineering, Technical University of Liberec and Academy of Fine Arts and Design Bratislava (Industrial Design studio). The project has been financially supported by the Design Centre of the Czech Republic, by the National Technical  Museum, Museum of the Capital of Prague, AC EXPO Agency and the Czech Centres.


Important assistance for the project were the Institute for the Rehabilitation of the Visually Impaired at the Faculty of Humanities at Charles University, the Integrated Organisation of the Blind and Visually Impaired (SONS CR), Tyfloservice Centres for the visually impaired in Prague, Brno, Zlín, Ústí nad Labem and Liberec and the K. E. Macan printing house for the blind. Electrolux Czech Republic, ETA Inc. Linet Ltd.. and Tescoma Ltd. companies were actively involved in the project.


Jindrich Vodicka: Battery recharger, 2005

photo: Karolina Nemethova


The project’s curators are Lenka Žižková (The Design Centre of the Czech Republic) and Jana Pauly (The National Museum). Pavel Griz is the exhibition architect.


PhDr. Lenka Žižková

Author and curator of the project



30 Kensington Palace Gardens
W8 4QY London
United Kingdom


From: 7 Sep 2007 00:00
To: 13 Nov 2007 00:00


Czech Centre, Cardiff University School of Optometry and Institute of Vision, JBC London, Cardiff School of Art and Design, Design Wales, RNIB, Queen Alexandra College and JBC London

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