5. 10. 2023
Discover the beauty of Czech glass and porcelain in the imposing grounds of Prague Castle, explore experimental student projects and be reminded of successful Czech companies that care about their craft at the Museum of Decorative Arts in Prague, shop for the latest works from creators, be inspired by foreign stars and enjoy fashion shows at the Trade Fair Palace of the National Gallery Prague. The annual design festival Designblok has chosen JOURNEY as its main theme and as usual brings a rush of inspiration in the form of thematic exhibitions, special installations, foreign and domestic creations and an accompanying programme. Visit Central and Eastern Europe’s largest design festival from 4 to 8 October 2023.
The work of 227 designers, studios, school ateliers and companies, including 16 fashion shows, can be seen in three main venues. These are complemented by lectures and panel discussions, a programme for students and children’s workshops. It can be a challenge to navigate the plethora of installations, special exhibitions and the accompanying programme, so we bring you ten tips to help guide your way through the festival, whether you’re looking for something new for your interior, fashion inspiration, fun for the whole family or want to broaden your horizons.
“The heart of this year’s Designblok is the Trade Fair Palace of the National Gallery in Prague. Not just figuratively speaking, as Designerie, the meeting and show space in the Small Hall of the Trade Fair Palace, which was designed by the set designer Lucia Škandíková, has taken the form of a heart. And it is here, in the National Gallery, that you will find the largest concentration of exhibiting designers, schools and manufacturers who have put great creativity and effort into their installations. Interest in exhibiting at Designblok was high this year, so what the visitors will see is a rigorous curatorial selection, truly the crème de la crème of European design. Personally, I am most pleased with the large number of Czech exhibitors, who can boldly compete with the world renowned brands that are presented at Designblok,” says Jana Zielinski, the festival’s director.
Let yourself be dazzled by the brilliance of Czech glass and porcelain
The two impressive materials, which have become the pride of Czech industry, play the main role in two thematic exhibitions at Prague Castle. The Designblok Cosmos exhibition in the Royal Garden of Prague Castle will premiere new glass and porcelain pieces by dozens of leading domestic designers. The exhibition was initiated by the PPF Foundation, a PPF Group company, which has become the new general partner of Designblok. The objects created especially for this project are surrounded by architecture by Jan Plecháč, which evokes a cosmic atmosphere and, together with the audiovisual effects by the creative studio Lunchmeat, provides an extraordinary experience. The original sound accompanying the whole exhibition was composed by Aid Kid. The Ball Game Hall of Prague Castle belongs to the exhibition Made by Fire organised by the Moravian Gallery in Brno in cooperation with Designblok, which debuted this year in Milan and has been praised by the public and experts alike. The exhibition consists of nearly 100 exhibits by 40 designers set in the architecture of Maxim Velčovský and edit! architects.
Discover the stories of Czech family businesses
The ranking of Czech family businesses comes to life in the Family Silver exhibition prepared in cooperation with Forbes magazine, which compiles it every year. The stories of saving ancient factories are mixed with those of brands that have been newly created from scratch. What they have in common is local production and a love of Czech craftsmanship, whether they make toys, cosmetics or interior accessories. The exhibition is located on the 1st floor of the Museum of Decorative Arts in Prague.
Delight the eye with the play of craft and technological innovation
The special High Craft exhibition, created in collaboration with Vogue CS magazine, will premiere designers and design studios who artfully combine traditional craftsmanship, innovative approaches and the highest aesthetic standards in their work. The exhibition can be found in the Openstudio on the 3rd floor of the Museum of Decorative Arts in Prague.
Test your creativity at a workshop
For all those who want to get actively involved, let their imagination run wild and even bring home their own product, we have prepared creative workshops. On Saturday, 7 October, the Bohemian Perfection x Moravian Beauty workshop will teach those interested how to decorate their sneakers or textiles with folk ornaments. During the Nature as a Designer workshop, children will have the opportunity to discover what inspiration they can find in the woods and meadows, and how the properties of shark skin or the shape of a snail’s shell could be of use to people. Young readers might enjoy a workshop on publication design, which will playfully explain how the design of a book can affect the reading experience. The children’s workshops have been developed in collaboration with Designers for Children and will take place on Sunday 8 October.
Find out how the world’s experts think about design
How do you know good design? What is worth investing in? And what will drive the design world in the coming years? At Designblok you will find the answers to these questions and get a glimpse under the hands of Europe’s top gallerists, curators, art directors and publicists. They are the ones who have come to Prague to judge the thirty final projects of the Designblok Diploma Selection in the product design and fashion categories. The winner will be chosen among the participating graduates, some of whom are from the Czech Republic, and announced on Saturday 7 October. In addition to the diploma competition, the traditional Designblok Awards will also be awarded. The best lighting, furniture and accessories and exceptional projects will be selected by a jury of international industry professionals, this year headed by designer Ineke Hans. The winners will be announced on Sunday 8 October in the Rudolph Gallery at Prague Castle, and will be highlighted by special plaques in the exhibition.
Learn something new from the lectures at the Respekt Stage
Diverse social topics presented by top experts will be discussed at the Respekt Stage platform in the Great Hall of the Trade Fair Palace, which will offer panel discussions and lectures throughout the festival. Adam Gebrian and Matěj Chabera will explore the international study experiences of Czech architects and designers, while curator and publicist Adam Štěch will present modern design in North Bohemia. Not only designers will be attracted by the lecture on how to have your theme and work published on the pages of the prestigious magazine dezeen, which will be given by its co-editor Ben Hobson. The main international guest, Ineke Hans, will introduce visitors to the Circuform brand and REX – the first deposit chair. Other talks will focus on mycelium as a material of the future, upcycling of clothing, product ecology and other topics closely related to sustainability. Established creators will reveal the secrets of their success, while company representatives will talk about the journey from first product to mass production. Both industry professionals and the general public will find something for themselves in the programme.
Get inspired at fashion shows
Folkloric bandit legends, millennial life or restoration techniques – these are just some of the themes that the finalists in the fashion category of the Designblok Diploma Selection competition have developed in their collections. Fifteen international designers will showcase their work on the catwalk on Saturday, 7 October, following Czech designer Hana Zárubová, who will present her new collection INFINITIVE on Friday, 6 October. Norwegian designer Ramona Salo returns to Designblok five years after winning the Designblok Diploma Selection in 2018 to present a new collection of travelwear inspired by the landscape and her own Sámi origins.
Bring the children along
Designblok also thinks about children and their parents. Among the exhibitors you will find children's furniture, fashion and toys. Look forward to the new Picky Parents brand, Totemo and Kutulu toys, Skibi Kids furniture and accessories, or the premiere of the fashion brand Wouki and Monika Drápalová. Don’t forget to discharge your energy by jumping on Mount Říp by Maxim Velčovský, explore the Heart in the Designerie and the many interactive installations that the exhibitors have prepared not only for children. Engage your imagination at the children’s workshops and go on an adventure with the Designblok Pentathlon quiz, with a prize waiting for you at the end.
Meet international creators
The installation by the main international guest, unorthodox Dutch designer Ineke Hans, will give an insight into the process of creating the first REX deposit chair under the Circuform brand. Brands Hülsta, Magis Spa, Laufen and others reveal their mastery in new collections. A plethora of novel ideas, technological experiments and research into new materials can be seen among the final projects of the Designblok Diploma Selection. It offers the best of 164 entries from 52 European universities.
Take a piece of Designblok with you
On the occasion of the quarter-century of Designblok's existence, a limited festival edition was created, with the participation of a trio of artists long associated with Designblok – Michaela Karásková created a photographic collage, Michal Bačák an original illustration and Salim Issa an author portrait. The central motif on the T-shirts, socks and tote bags of all three is a rabbit, which was part of the visual identity during the first years of the festival, and the provocative slogan You can't escape design! The author of the graphic design is Martina Černá from the Imagery studio.
If you still wander off on your journey, let yourself drift in a sea of design and extraordinary objects without clear direction and without fear. We guarantee you'll find inspiration, current social issues, pure beauty and surprising moments. Recharge your energy in the Designerie, the heart of the festival and a space for meeting, good coffee and relaxation. And on your way around the city, visit the galleries, concept stores and showrooms participating in Designblok in their own premises.
In cooperation with the Trade Fair Palace of the National Gallery Prague, a special combined festival pass has been prepared for festival visitors, which entitles them to visit the exhibitions and permanent collections of the National Gallery Prague in the Trade Fair Palace in addition to the Designblok exhibitions. The Museum of Decorative Arts in Prague will also offer Designblok visitors the opportunity to purchase discounted admission to the ART, LIFE. ART FOR LIFE exhibition.
The 25th Designblok will take place from 4 to 8 October 2023 in the Trade Fair Palace of the National Gallery Prague, the Museum of Decorative Arts, the Ball Game Hall in the Royal Garden of Prague Castle and other locations around Prague. The Designblok Cosmos and Made by Fire exhibitions at Prague Castle will be open from 3 to 15 October 2023 and are accessible with a festival pass or by purchasing a separate ticket.
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