- Hans Weber
- September 26, 2023
Prague design festival Designblok presents the latest Czech and Ukrainian design
The latest edition of design festival Designblok will showcase the work of over 178 Czech and international exhibitors including jewellery, glassware, ceramics, fashion and decorative design.
Now in its 24th year, Designblok takes place from 5 to 9 October at Prague’s The Gabriel Loci Monastery in the Smíchov district and the Museum of Decorative Arts in the city’s Old Town.
The five-day festival will showcase the latest in contemporary European design, including porcelain, lighting, glassware, jewellery and fashion. This year’s overall theme, The Forest, was chosen in reference to the event’s presentation of “a forest of contemporary designers,” according to Designblok.
“Forest is the source of life,” said director of Designblok, Jana Zielinski. “Thanks to plants we can breathe, and greenery is the most natural enhancer of our everyday environment. Forest is also a source of materials, a temple of rest, a paradise for mushroom pickers, a source of inspiration for artists and DIYers, a haunted and magical fairytale place.”
“The forest is the home of Little Red Riding Hood and Hansel and Gretel, and it is inhabited by the fox, fairies, goblins, trolls, and other creatures. The smell of the forest, wet earth, leaves, needles, meadow flowers are a reason to keep going,” Zielinski continued.
“At Designblok, we will walk through the forest of Czech design, peek into the mysterious wells of knowledge of foreign stars, take a trail following the red, green, yellow or blue signposts, each according to his or her own abilities and tastes. We are looking forward to the enchanted forest of Designblok.”
The Gabriel Loci Monastery will present the work of seven Ukrainian designers and studios in an exhibition named Sláva Ukrajině [Glory to Ukraine], which aims to support artists affected by the war.
According to Designblok, all the chosen studios have an original creative process and values “strongly anchored in traditions, crafts and environmentally responsible production, and their relentless courage to continue working despite the difficult circumstances”.
With support from the Embassy of Ukraine in Prague, Designblok has helped the Ukrainian designers travel to Prague. The festival has also supported them by giving the designers a complementary exhibition space, accommodation and a fee for creating the installation.
“We created the project Glory to Ukraine! after carefully considering how best to help Ukrainian designers affected by the war unleashed by Russia over half a year ago,” said Zielinski.
“We believe that helping specific designers, whom we hope to get to Prague in person in cooperation with the Embassy of Ukraine in Prague, is the most efficient way for us to contribute to the protection and preservation of contemporary Ukrainian design.”
Also presented at The Gabriel Loci Monastery’s Church of the Annunciation is an installation by Ukrainian architect and designer Viktoria Yakusha.
The installation will feature ceramic vases, concrete lamps, and the Plyn sofa from Yakusha’s collection for the furniture brand FAINA, in addition to the latest Sluhach lamps designed for lighting brand Lasvit.
“The participation of the Ukrainian studio FAINA at this year’s Designblok is a matter of the heart for me,” said head of the Czech edition of Elle Decoration magazine, Eva Slunečková.
“Not only it is a symbolic support of Ukraine, but it is also a unique opportunity to get acquainted with the work of the leading designer and founder of FAINA, Victoria Yakusha, in the captivating environment of the Church of the Annunciation in the Gabriel Loci complex.”
“FAINA furniture and accessories demonstrate the unprecedented – they combine traditional craftsmanship and contemporary design into an attractive whole.”
The Gabriel Loci Monastery will present designs from a number of well-known brands including Vitra, Moroso, and the Dutch studio Toer, alongside Czech manufacturers Johann Malle and TON.
The space will also be home to an exhibition called Diploma Selection, featuring the work of 30 designers who took part in an international competition in product and fashion design.
The fashion shows will take place on 8 October 2022 at Sacre Coeur on Holečková Street in Smichov and tickets are on sale on Designblok’s website.
Designblok also includes a meeting place and café called Designerie, which will be transformed this year into a “playful oasis” by Czech studio MY DVĚ designers Monika Matějková and Veronika Watzková where all decorations are made from reused or recycled materials.
It will also be home to the platform Reflex Stage, which will offer a number of discussions and lectures focused on various topics within design, architecture, fashion, marketing and ecology.
Speakers include designer Richard Hutton who will discuss circular design; students and lecturers from The Academy of Arts, Architecture and Design in Prague, who will address inclusivity in design; and the website EARCH.cz will talk about greenwashing in architecture.
At the Museum of Decorative Arts, creative platform Art House will present the work of contemporary glass designers in an exhibition called Sběratel – Lannova sbírka skla [Collector: The Lanna Glass Collection]. The museum will also showcase a ceramic collection called Terra Alba: The new wave of Czech porcelain.
“It is great that through Art House we can draw attention to the Lanna Collection and make even people who would not normally be interested in it appreciate it. This unique collection and the character of its founder Vojtěch Lanna deserve it,” said curator Danica Kovářová.
“One noteworthy event in this year’s program is the exhibition Terra Alba – nová vlna českého porcelánu [Terra Alba: The new wave of Czech porcelain] created for the occasion of the Presidency of the Czech Republic in the Council of the EU.”
This will consist of a summary of the most interesting works of recent years as well as completely new works created specifically for the main exhibition of this year’s Designblok,” said Designblok.
The work of the author of the Terra Alba exhibition architecture, Maxim Velčovský will also be on show at the Museum of Decorative Arts, as well as an exhibition named Rodinné stříbro [Family Silver] that is organised in partnership with Forbes magazine.
Designblok will take place from 5 to 9 October 2022. To learn more, visit its website.
This article was written by Dezeen for Designblok as part of a partnership. Find out more about Dezeen partnership content here.