Prague International Design Festival


Designblok returns to Gabriel Loci and launches a new venue in the Museum of Decorative Arts in Prague. The main theme of the 23rd edition is Happiness

3. 5. 2021

Gabriel Loci premises in Prague’s Smíchov will serve again as the main exhibition space of Designblok 2021. However, this year’s programme will extend to a new place in the Old Town: this year’s new addition to the festival is the RENESANCE 21 exhibition project that will bring visitors to the Museum of Decorative Arts (UPM). The 23rd edition of the biggest Czech festival of fashion and design will take place from 6-10 October 2021. This year’s theme interconnecting all sections of the festival is HAPPINESS.

Last year, Designblok premiered in Gabriel Loci; this year, the festival returns to the maze of the former Beuron monastery: the building in Holečkova St will be dedicated to presentations of new products by designers, schools, galleries, producers and sellers. Gabriel Loci will include Superstudio, Openstudio, and Designerie as well as Art House in the church. This year, organisers decided to also open the RENESANCE 21 exhibition house where a curated selection of Czech projects will be displayed. The RENESANCE 2021 house will be in the building of the Museum of Decorative Arts in Prague which co-creates the genius loci of the art buildings and the spirit of the Palachovo Square.

Two floors of the museum will be dedicated to projects of Czech designers and producers who focus in their products on the importance of excellent design and craftsmanship. Besides exhibitions by leading Czech designers and producers, RENESANCE 21 will also include the Masters Exhibition where icons of contemporary Czech production will be exhibited in the form of a “picture gallery”. This part will primarily present producers who had to postpone the development of their new products due to the pandemic but whose collections from the past years include some outstanding pieces that deserve to be reminded of and shown in the context of excellent design and craft to the wide public, as well as products in the prototype phase of development.

The neo-renaissance building of the Museum of Decorative Arts in Prague whose mission is to collect and show the treasures of the Czech craft and design will now invite visitors to exhibitions of contemporary Czech design presenting products with potential to become part of the collections of this important institution for their excellent artistic and craftmanship qualities. “We are very pleased to be able to offer a part of the newly renovated museum to Designblok and I hope that the theme will fully resonate here: we, and the entire society, need both renaissance and happiness,” says Helena Koenigsmarková, the director of the museum.

This year, the theme that will interconnect the individual parts of Designblok is HAPPINESS. “Last year was a very demanding one. Yet it certainly offered one thing: time to think. It also exposed desires as old as the humanity: the desire of happiness and of a healthy and fulfilled life. It brought about questions whether we live rightly and fully and whether we are happy. Designblok cannot stand aside such reflections. In the 2021 Designblok edition we will explore the search for happiness. We will follow trends that are now very clearly present in design: the return to natural, to nature, to the human and his/her needs,” explains Jana Zielinski, the director of Designblok.

Optimism, genuineness. Renewal. Renaissance of values of humanity, search for happiness, return to oneself, to one’s needs. These are values design can help to bring. Self-expression and personalisation are increasingly often part of it, too.

Organisers of Designblok believe that the second half of 2021 will mark the beginning of a renewal. It will be a renaissance of human scales. People need to return to themselves, their own responsibility, to a life that won’t be separated from the nature, from human approach to others, from compassion and community thinking. Biophilic approach is a major trend in contemporary design. The human plays a key role in creating things and buildings. It is important to have a connection to nature, meaning that even in a city, at home or at work, people should have the possibility to get in touch with plants and nature in general, both for the quality of the environment and their emotional well-being. The scales man lives in are important, as are the materials that things he uses are made or built of. All this is a part of biophilic design. Increasingly often design includes bio-mimicries, i.e., its strategy is to imitate forms found in nature.

“Design is very important for the renaissance of quality life and for the functionality of objects we surround ourselves with. It is important for the beauty of the environment we live in and in which future generations will grow up. Design can help solve problems, lead us out of crises. It can help bring better solutions in production and in use of things. Design has to be created by people for people. Designblok will search for happiness. The renaissance of our lives arrives,” says Jana Zielinski.

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