May Designblok ’19 begin! 348 exhibitors, international conferences, fashion shows, and much more. A brief guide of Designblok
Robots, a cosmic module, art installations, a maze, but first and foremost: exhibitions of 348 designers, lectures, conferences and a rich accompanying program. The 21stPrague international design festival, Designblok, offers a plethora of events, and it thus may seem difficult at first sight to find one’s way through. The following brief guide provides some more detailed information about the Designblok spaces and parts of its program, which visitors definitely should not miss. The main subject of this year’s Designblok is Future, and the festival runs from 17 to 21 October 2019. Design will again flood the spaces of the Industrial Palace and the adjacent Lapidarium of the National Museum in Prague at the Exhibition Grounds in the Prague district of Holešovice.
It has become a tradition to present news within Designblok itself as well as within the accompanying program. This year, the organizers can proudly invite to two international conferences on the subject Future, which will introduce opinion leaders from the Czech Republic and abroad. The Future Conferencewill be participated by the gallery owner Rossana Orlandi, the publicist and the Vogue CS Editor-in-Chief, Andrea Běhounková, the climatologist Pavel Zahradníček, the UNICEF director Pavla Gomba, and the curator and director of the Museum of Applied Arts in Hamburg, Tulga Beyerle. The speakers at the Vitra Conference:Desk Is Dead will be the Vitra CEO, Nora Fehlbaum, the British star designer and one of our two main foreign guests, Jay Osgerby, and the director of the Czech Vitra branch, Jiří Zavadil. The moderator of the conference, discussing the issue of the future of the human work, will be the curator Adam Štěch.
“The subject Future has always been topical for humanity, and today we view it as extremely significant and serious. In the era of climatic change and overcrowded planet, our field, design, must ask a crucial question: What can we do for our quality future? Can designers help make the world any better? This year’s Designblok will not only provide a platform for discussing this issue, but also dozens of exhibition projects pursuing ecology and social and humanitarian subjects,” Jana Zielinski, the Designblok director, explained.
The 21stDesignblok also displays a unique architecture in its main exhibition, Designerie, located in the Central Hall of the Industrial Palace, where visitors can work their revealing way through interactive installations, attend fashion shows and enjoy the accompanying program, lose their way in a maze, try out the UNICEF race circuit or relax in the local café. This year, the designer of the space is Lucie Koldová, who commented on it as follows:“I’ve solved the Designerie space as an all-encompassing universe representing various fields of human life and work in their current state, and moreover striped off all boundaries and barriers. These fields do not only represent product design as such, but also the results of human activity and creativity in robotic automation and digitization on the one hand, and sustainability and humanitarian help on the other hand. My concept is to visualize an imaginary message addressed to the future generations, which we would leave at this moment. It is both a high technological progress and a human responsibility to our offspring. I think that content future is impossible without appropriately utilized past.”
The three main Designblok spaces – Superstudio, Openstudio and Art House – will introduce to installations of companies, designers and artists. Thanks to the support of the CzechTourism agency, visitors can moreover travel to Czech regions: in the course of the festival, the Designblok special buses will take them to the 8smička gallery in Humpolec, the industrial space of the Coal Mill in Libčice nad Vltavou, and to the traditional glassworks Rückl, Bomma and Preciosa. And as usual, countless showrooms and concept stores will open throughout Prague.
The main Designblok guests from abroad
During the 21 years of the Designblok existence, the event enjoyed the presence of various stellar foreign designers, such as Patricia Urqiola, Matali Crasset, Philippe Starck, Gijs Bakker, Ineke Hans, Jaime Hayon and many others. This year will not be any different, since two famed authors accepted the invitation to participate. The British designer Jay Osgerby from the Barber & Osgerby studio arrives to introduce the Czech premiere of his modular system, SoftWork by the Vitra brand. The author of the installation, aimed at a view into the future of human work and the form of working space, is Lucie Koldová and you can find it in Designerie. Visitors should neither miss the Superstudio installation by Konsepti, where the Danish visionary Johannes Thorpe will present his new furniture collection created for the Italian Moroso. The two designers will also appear within the block of lectures aimed at the widest public.
Superstudio will present producers, Openstudio will focus on designers, and Art House will be devoted to art projects
Planning to refurbish your apartment? Interested in what’s new in the fields of furniture, lights and accessories by both Czech and foreign producers? Then rush for inspiration to Superstudio, located in the right wing of the Industrial Palace.
As every year, the exhibition will display new furniture collections, but also new views of minimalist living, a houseboat, work robots and electric bicycles as well as virtual reality. The traditional Czech producers will include TON, Brokis, Master&Master, Jelínek, Ravak and many others. The right wing will this time moreover witness a premiere of a new platform, Hospodářské noviny Stage, hosting discussions and lectures focused on the fusion of design and business.
Fans of established Czech designers as well as independent authors developing without the support of commercial producers are highly recommended to visit Openstudioin the left wing of the Industrial Palace. It will exhibit a wide scale of products, from porcelain objects and vases, furniture, accessories and lights to nesting boxes, clothes, shoes and jewellery, which will be available for purchase. In addition, Openstudio will present a selection of the best European diplomas, Diploma Selection, while the Reflex Stage platform will offer a daily accompanying program composed of discussions and lectures.
All those who love to discover and look under the surface should visit Art House, held under the subtitle Odyssey, which will unfold under the curatorship of Danica Kovářová and the duo Zielinski–Macek. Visitors will enter a dimmed space of the Lapidarium of the National Museum in Prague, which will accentuate nineteen selected objects. Dutch designers will occupy an exceptionally extensive part of the exhibition this year: Pieke Bergmans will introduce an installation of neon discharges, the Formafantasma studio will display its light object, WireRing, and the Kranen/Gille studio in its installation, Party, arrives with an object composed of shining heads. The Czech authors exhibiting authors will be Jakub Berdych Karpelis, the Dechem studio teamed up with Karin Zadrick, Sebastian Kitzberger, Dominika Petrtýlová and Jan Kaláb, to name just a few. An artificially generated wind and a hypnotic video loop featuring stormy sea will serve to augment the visitors’ experience of the space.
Czech-made fashion and jewellery aficionados will enjoy a wide array of installations by fashion designers and jewellery-makes in Openstudio, including the Czech elite in the field – Nastassia Aleinikava, Janja Prokič, BOLD by Markéta Kratochvílová and the ZORYA studio. The catwalk will see the main foreign stars of the fashion section, the DZHUS brand and Tomász Armada. The fashion show presenting a new collection by the acting 2018 Grand Designer, Tereza Rosalie Kladošová, will form part of the opening ceremony right away, while the young fashion designers, such as Agáta Seeháková, Natálie Nepovímová and Karolína Čechová, will flank their fashion shows during the week.
Diploma Selection – the international contest of diplomas
The international contest of diplomas, Diploma Selection, has formed an irreplaceable part of Designblok since six years ago. In 2019, it includes more than a hundred of students from prestigious European universities, while eight students come from the Czech Republic. The final selection encompasses 15 product designers and 15 fashion designers. Each category winner will receive the financial amount of 1,000 EURO and the possibility to separately exhibit at the next year’s Designblok. The jury selecting the two winners will be composed of Czech and foreign curators, gallery owners and artists. As Maciej Ruczak, President of the EUNIC Cluster Czech Republic and Director of the Polish Institute in Prague, commented,“This year, the EUNIC Cluster Prague – a net of cultural institutes and cultural attachés from the embassies of EU countries – again cooperates with Designblok in the organization of the 6th Diploma Selection. We are happy to further support young artists in presenting and promoting their works. We are utmost eager to see the results of the Diploma Selection contest, to be announced on 19 October 2019,”
Designblok is not just exhibitions of the best that the current Czech design scene can offer; its inseparable part has always been the accompanying program. This year’s novelty is the discussion platform, Hospodářské noviny Stage, aimed at the fusion of design or, respectively, its commercial aspects, and business. It will introduce interesting guests and topics from the fields of architecture and new trends, but also a program focusing on the future of Czech politics and social events. Moreover, it will host one of the two main foreign Designblok guests, Johannes Torpe. Future as the main topic of this year will also resonate at the Openstudio Reflex Stage via addresses presented by guests from abroad along with Czech designers.
Garden Stage, situated at the very heart of Designerie, will be the space of the main Designblok program. Visitors can look forward to the above-mentioned fashion shows and conferences, but also the theater performance The Biggest Wish by Jana Burkiewiczová and the concert performed by the group Mutants Seeking Their Points of Departure. The very closing of Designblok at Garden Stage will be a special dance-fashion performance, NADOTEK, by Liběna Rochová and Lukáš Musil.
Designblok in numbers
The 2019 Superstudio will present 71 brands and producers, Openstudio will offer the unprecedented number of 174 installations by designers, studios, schools and fashion designers, and Art House will exhibit the works by 19 authors. The catwalk will flank fashion collections by 21 designers. Three stages will offer 60 discussions and lectures on specific subjects. The participants, including those exhibiting in the exterior of the Industrial Palace, will total 348 this year.
The main part of Designblok will occupy more than 10,000 m2of the Holešovice Exhibition Grounds: the Industrial Palace, the external open space, and the adjacent Lapidarium of the National Museum. Traditionally, the festival will also offer events and presentations in a number of galleries, pop-up shops and showrooms throughout Prague. Welcome!
15. 10. 2019