The 23rd edition of Designblok handed awards in thirteen categories. This year, the Sustainable Design Award expanded the number of categories that include, among others, Best Jewellery, Best Fashion Collection, Furniture and School Presentation. The decision was made by a jury of professionals who chose from among known names and established brands as well as authors new on the scene. The main prize chosen by Designblok curators was awarded to the Thinkers project, created by Vitra in collaboration with the Department of Photography at the Academy of Art, Architecture and Design (AAAD) in Prague.
The Main Award of this year's Designblok edition goes to the project Thinkers, created for Designblok and a collaboration of the Atelier of Photography II at AAAD, headed by Václav Jirásek and Štěpánka Steinová, and Vitra. Photographic portraits of thinkers active in the Czech cultural environment were displayed in the former computer room in Gabriel Loci. The selection focused on big names in the fields of philosophy, sociology, economics, media studies, literature, science and other social sciences, casually recalling the importance of these disciplines in extreme situations, which the present-day confluence of several crises undoubtedly is. The portraits were accompanied by Vitra objects playing the role of an imaginary benchmark of the contemporary Western man and a counterpoint to abstract thinking. "In addition to commercial activities, Vitra has long focused on culturally enriching projects, often collaborations with artists and contemporary thinkers. After all, this is also reflected in the design of the Vitra Campus, to which a new sculpture by artist Nathalie Du Pasquier was added this year. We are glad that we could collaborate on the Thinkers project with young talents from two studios of AAAD in Prague. Modern photography, provocative and humorous view through the lens of the emerging talents is fully in line with the brand’s identity and I believe that it will also appeal to Designblok visitors," said Jiří Zavadil, Director of Vitra for the Czech Republic and Slovakia.
The award for the Best Furniture goes to the established company Master & Master and their Mistra chair designed by Lucie Koldová, which won in the fierce competition in this category. Yet the award for the Best Home Accessories went to newcomers: the Space of Space studio and their collection of metal tables and accessories. In the Best Light category, the jury was most impressed by the Luna lights by designer Jiří Krejčiřík. Of novelties presented by companies and manufacturers at Designblok, the Best New Product award went to Lockers.cz for their lockers.
The fashion and jewellery categories also have their winners! A pair of glasses created by Nastassia Aleinikava studio for artist Patrik Kriššák is a specific piece of jewellery. Along with the perfect visual aspect of the product, the jury also appreciated the fact that the glasses are fully adapted to the wearer and react to the artist’s visual impairment. The first prize in the category of fashion design went to PÁR, a new brand of unisex sneakers created by Darina Zavadilová and Jan Kloss. The collection of comfortable shoes in bold colour combinations caused a stir in the Czech fashion scene.
The best installation award is also awarded each year across disciplines and jurors choose from exhibiting designers and studios as well as manufacturers and retailers. Whose presentation was the most successful one at this year’s Designblok? Among designers, the award went to the established jeweller Zdeněk Vacek, who presented the technique of beading on the jewellery on display and in a video installation in the Museum of Decorative Arts. Among installations by manufacturers and retailers, the award went to the installation by QUBUS Design Studio with its tile alphabet and new products.
In the Best School Presentation category, the prize was awarded to the Ceramics Studio of the Ladislav Sutnar University of Applied Arts in Pilsen and the prize for an Exceptional Project was awarded to the exhibition Brejle a Okuliare, Design brýlí v Československu by curator Ondřej Vicena.
For the first time, Designblok presented an award for sustainable design! The award is a result of a collaboration with Veolia, this year's new Designblok’s partner. A separate jury was set up for this category and in a two-round vote, it chose the Balance is Motion project, which is backed by a team of four that includes designers Filip Mirbauer and Maria Nina Vaclavková. Their installation at Designblok did not present a new product but lead to reflection on the so-called sustainable design trends. The project focuses on material consultancy and product design and works with the Life Cycle Assessment method, which helps to measure potential improvements in the environmental footprint of a product.
"I am very happy that the winning projects were those with an overlap. Thinkers - a conceptual project presenting true Czech stars, intellectuals who are not indifferent to the fate of our country, or Filip Mirbauer and Maria Nina Václavková's sophisticated environmental project Balance in Motion. I was equally pleased to see the nomination of the Bieno association, whose aim is to make Prague's courtyards more beautiful. And of course, Designblok is a festival of design, and so Zdeněk Vacek, Nastassia Aleinikava and other stars rightly won awards for their projects. They, too, opted for a conceptual approach. For me, this year's Designblok is proof that design can significantly contribute to solving problems of contemporary civilisation and at the same time fulfil its aesthetic function," said Jana Zielinski, Director of Designblok.
The awards were presented on Saturday 9 October at a ceremony in the Sacre Coeur Church. The twenty-third Designblok ended on Sunday 10 October at 9 pm. A virtual version of this year's event will be available at www.designblok.cz until the end of October 2021.
Best Collection of Furniture: Master & Master / Mistra chair
Best Collection of Home Accessories: Space of Space
Best Collection of Lights: Jiří Krejčiřík / collection of lights Luna
Best Collection of Jewellery: Nastassia Aleinikava studio / collection of glasses Vernissage
Best Fashion Collection: PÁR / collection of unisex sneakers
Best New Product by a Designer: Lexová & Smetana / collection of low tables SWELL
Best New Product by a Producer: Lockers.cz / collection of lockers
Best Installation by a producer/seller: QUBUS Design Studio
Best Installation by a designer/designer studio: Zdeněk Vacek
Best School Presentation: Keramika / Sutnarka
Exceptional Project Beyond a Category: Brejle a Okuliare, design brýlí v Československu / Ondřej Vicena
Main Award of Designblok: Thinkers / Vitra in collaboration with AAAD
Veolia Award for Sustainable Design: Balance is Motion
This year’s Designblok Awards were decided by a seven-member jury:
David Kalista, editor-in-chief of H.O.M.i.E.; Ondřej Lipár, editor VOGUE CS; Jiří Macek, Creative Director of Designblok; Valentina Nízká, editor-in-chief of ELLE; Veronika Pařízková, editor-in-chief of czechdesign.cz; Eva Slunečková, editor-in-chief of ELLE Decoration; Adam Štěch, curator and theoretician of design
Veolia Jury for Sustainable Design Award:
Eva Kučerová, Marketing and Communication Director for Central and Eastern Europe of Veolia Group; Tereza Kučerová, editor of Proč ne?!; Tereza Urban, czechdesign.cz
9. 10. 2021