Design Time

Fast Lane

Design Time

Get inspired at Designblok

“Objects should have their own story.”

That’s how Eva and Marcel Mochal, owners of LLEV Product Design feel about their work. Stories from a variety of people and products from the world of design will be celebrated in October at the country’s premiere design event, Designblok.

“The aim of Designblok is opportunity,” says Silvie Luběnová, PR spokesperson for Designblok. “You’ll find the best designers and the best producers all in one spot.”

Designblok started back in 1999. From 14 participants and less than 1000 visitors that year; to its tenth anniversary last year which saw 213 events visited by more than 30,000 people, it’s definitely an appealing event. “Design” is an all encompassing catchword here; you’ll see fashion, interior design, architecture, art and more. Manufacturers, companies, design studios and designers are all eager to participate, show off their work and hopefully do a little networking.

“Studios must meet criteria to participate in Designblok, it keeps the quality of the event high,” explains Luběnová. “Important connections can be made between producers and designers; two groups of closely joined people.”

Designer Daniel Piršč, who owns Piršč Porcelain, says he has been participating in Designblok since 2000.

“The significance of Designblok for the Czech Republic is apparent just from the fact how dynamically it has developed and how full of energy the enterprise always is,” he adds.

Piršč has chosen porcelain as his medium, and likes the material for a variety of reasons.
“First of all, you must understand it; it can’t be dictated to,” he explains.

Piršč Porcelain makes a variety of objects; mainly tableware. Their most unique product though is 3D wallpaper. He says it’s the variability that makes it so special.

“An infinite number of textures can be created like this; and the fact, that their owners can become authors of their own compositions (make it unique),” he explains. Piršč plans to have a new 3D wallpaper, Birds, on display at Designblok this year, as well as some new porcelain lamps.

This will be LLEV’s fourth year showing at Designblok. They respect the event for what it allows them to do.

“Here, there’s a good chance to show our new work to the general public,” says Eva Mochalová. “We get to know people – buyers, which makes sense for our work. This is the certain way to success – to know people, their wishes and dreams.”

LLEV is a design collaboration between the two graduates of the Academy of Arts, Architecture and Design in Prague. Their mission is to “create vital pragmatic objects for everyday use within a sensitive society.”

“We perceive product design as a service to society,” says Mochalová. “It is an opportunity to make people happy.”

LLEV plans to display a new line of bathroom furniture designed for Laufen CZ plus a yet-to-be-announced project for Manumade and DBS Prusínovice.

There’s a dizzying array of events and things to see and do during the weeklong Designblok. From fashion shows, to open houses at local boutiques to the Superstudios; you won’t be left wanting.

“There’s no one space we would fit in every year,” says Luběnová. “With the Superstudios we get to bring in the architecture point of view through new spaces.”

The Superstudios serve as exhibition space for designers without their own studios, or those wanting to put on a special exhibition. This year, they will both be located in Prague 7; Superstudio Classic 7 and Superstudio Holešovický pivovar. Classic 7 will be home to exhibition projects by companies (entitled Crème de la crème,) designers and school studios. The building itself is interesting design-wise as well; a newly reconstructed structure from former mills. Holešovický pivovar is a new mixed-use complex of retail, office and living space; taken from a former brewery. The loft apartment spaces of the building will host special exhibitions and projects.

The traditional Designblok program will be found throughout the city; in individual studios, showrooms and shops. Design in Prague is traditionally sequestered into a variety of city zones. Thus, you can find groups of showrooms and galleries in the Old and New Towns; Holešovice and Karlín.

“Visitors have a chance to speak with designers, learn the story, the material, how it came about,” says Luběnová. “The whole week is festive, everyone is so excited.”

For people involved in design; the week provides a host of opportunities, if they are willing to go for it.

“If companies are willing to take a risk; it pays off,” says Luběnová.

She gives the example of Botas, a Czech shoe company that has been making running shoes for more than 60 years. This past year they worked with students at the Academy of Arts to redo their collection and the new look has totally taken off. Botas will be exhibiting for the first time at Designblok this year. Design students, schools and new graduates have lots of opportunities.

“Designblok is a good starting point for them; an opportunity to be around known designers and studios,” says Luběnová. “They learn how to present, how to communicate.”

The Superstudios even have a “Young and Fresh” division to showcase these up-and-comers. You can keep an eye on their futures, as well as on the pulse of the Czech design world all year long through both the DesignGuide printed publication and website. Now in its fourth year; DesignGuide is a large format, full-color magazine offering a design directory, photos of the latest in product and style, plus a fashion spread and interior design looks. The website offers an extensive design directory, plus is updated regularly with news from around the fashion and design world.

It may sound like design overload; but a week full of meeting artistic people and seeing their inspired products sounds very intriguing indeed.

“To see the creativity, energy, all the new stuff,” says Luběnová. “Every year I’m looking forward to seeing the growth, seeing the change, what has happened and what the designers have come up with.”