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Designblok Celebrates 20 Years, Hosting a Record-Breaking 343 Exhibitors

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Designblok Celebrates 20 Years, Hosting a Record-Breaking 343 Exhibitors

Celebrating its 20th anniversary, Designblok starts this Thursday, October 25, 2018. Designblok – Prague’s annual festival of design and fashion – this year welcomes 343 brands, designers, design studios, artists and schools. The main Designblok events will be once again held within the magnificent grounds of Výstaviště, while new venue Colloredo-Mansfeld Palace hosts the Manifesto exhibition. Fans of fashion and jewellery can look forward to 32 fashion shows as well as dozens of installations by leading fashion and jewellery designers. The festival also welcomes guests from 12 countries led by Spain’s Jaime Hayon, who is Designblok’s headline guest this year. The wide-ranging accompanying programme offers lectures, moderated debates and lots more. Designblok runs until October 29th. The theme for 2018 is CELEBRATION.

Jana Zielinski, Director of Designblok, says: “The highlights of this, our anniversary year are concentrated within Designérie, a landscape of experiences and games that open up a fantasy world in perfect keeping with Designblok’s 20th anniversary theme – CELEBRATION. This year, Designérie is designed by architect Jan Rosický of A69 Studio, well-known for his previous work for the festival, having transformed various venues across Prague, including Grandhotel Evropa, Neptun Boatel and Praha-Žižkov freight railway station. Among the exciting attractions are a giant slide, TG Masaryk as you’ve never seen him before, our circular stage, bunting galore and interactive installations for both children and adults!”

Celebrate with Manifesto

On the occasion of Designblok’s 20th anniversary, Colloredo-Mansfeld Palace opens its doors to host Manifesto – an exhibition that explores the role of the designer and the diverse range of approaches to design. Czech design highlights include Maxim Velčovský’s golden cans, Eva Eisler’s upcycled lighting objects, Petr Babák’s installation (where visitors get the chance to fling a few books!) and OKOLO’s look at how Czech design is viewed from abroad. Manifesto also features special CELEBRATION-themed installations designed by Czech designers and studios, many of which are long-time Designblok collaborators, including deFORM, ZORYA and Plecháč & Wielgus.

Designblok’s star guest this year is Jaime Hayon, one of the world’s leading and most respected designers, with clients including Cassina, Moooi, and Lladró. Hayon presents Cosmocake, a specially designed installation to celebrate Designblok’s 20th anniversary. “Design means bringing quality, but also ‘serious fun’, into each of my designs,” says Hayon. “What do I mean by that exactly? I’m not talking about humour for humour’s sake. It’s more that I simply want to bring pleasure into the lives of people who use my designs. I also love the moment of discovery, which has two forms. Firstly, it’s the discovery of new manufacturing methods and the possibilities that the materials I’m working with offer and, secondly, the discovery of new cultures and ideas that I come across when I travel – something I do quite a lot! The best thing I can hope for is for the users of my designs to discover something about themselves through my pieces.” Also showing at Colloredo-Mansfeld Palace (located in downtown Prague) are designs by Dutch designer Ineke Hans, Austrian designer duo chmara.rosinke, French designer Marlène Huissoud and Spanish designer Jorge Penadés.

From the Latest Furniture to an Airplane

On display in the Right Wing of the Industrial Palace are new products by prestigious brands and producers. In celebration of its 20th anniversary, Designblok casts the spotlight on Czech design in all its variety, showcasing a wide range of design disciplines. Items include the usual furniture, interior accessories and lights – but also an airplane, a mobile home, an electric motorcycle and some gramophones! In partnership with Lucie Koldová, Brokis launch their latest collection, Vitra exhibits its latest accessories (including the Stool Tool multifunctional chair), while Renault presents its newest concept car, DeZir. Other exhibitors include Javorina, Festka, Botas, Jelínek, Ravak, Rückl, Bomma and many more.

Openstudio will be brimful with installations by 148 designers, schools and fashion designers, with products ranging from porcelain pieces, vases, furniture and lights to birdhouses, clothes, shoes, and jewellery – all available for purchase at the event itself. The Left Wing of the Industrial Palace hosts the best European graduation projects as part of the Diploma Selection competition, while the Reflex Stage provides a daily accompanying programme full of debates and lectures.

Art House – which celebrates art design – will be staged at the Lapidarium of the National Museum. Highlights include designer and artist Philippe Cramer’s latest lights collection Randogne, which combines the ancient symbolism of anthropomorphic icons with laser cutting; a special installation by Jiří Pelcl entitled Home, Sweet Home; DOTEKY, a collection of new objects from Liběna Rochová; and the newest collection of glass products from Glassbrothers, an expression of their enthusiasm for the world of biking. In total, the Lapidarium will house 20 art installations, all by leading Czech designers and international guests. Homage to Beauty is the Art House theme this year, with Danica Kovářová the head curator.

This year, fashion will once again play a significant role in the event, with shows by leading Czech fashion designers such as Liběna Rochová, Klára Nademlýnská, Hana Zárubová, Pavel Brejcha, Monika Drápalová and Miro Sabo. The catwalk programme offers 32 fashion shows in total. The highlight of the programme is NADOTEK, a joint performance project by the artist MUSA and fashion designer Liběna Rochová. This impressive collection has been designed to support the DEBRA charity organisation, which helps people with epidermolysis bullosa. This year, DEBRA is also Designblok’s main charity recipient and will be awarded a cheque for CZK 100,000 at the Designblok Awards gala evening.

Now in its 5th year, The Diploma Selection competition continues to be an integral part of the Designblok event. This year the number of competitors totals over 100 students, representing some of the most prestigious European universities. The finalists include 15 product designers and 15 fashion designers, with 6 designers from the Czech Republic among the shortlisted. The winners will be awarded EUR 1,000 and given the opportunity to present their work at an individual Designblok installation next year. The jury is made up of Czech and international curators, gallerists and designers.

A Jam-Packed Accompanying Programme – Not Just for Adults!

In addition to welcoming over 300 designers, Designblok also offers a wide-ranging accompanying programme, featuring lectures by designers and international guests as well as moderated debates and workshops. The Central Stage hosts 3 fashion performances as well as a major lecture by star guest Jaime Hayon, while curator Maria Cristina Didero will give a talk in collaboration with OKOLO. Reflex Stage hosts lectures by Ineke Hans, Gilles Massé and Stephan Hamel. Visitors taking their kids along are sure to get great use out of the Kids Zone. As well as providing a playroom for the youngest ones, older kids can take part in the Decathlon, which guides the competitors across festival premises. 

The City of Prague once again supports Designblok, one of its landmark cultural events. Jan Wolf, Prague City Councillor, says: “When Designblok started out 20 years ago, design and aesthetics weren’t exactly to the forefront of people’s minds. Today, though, they’re an important, almost indispensable part of our everyday lives, which demonstrates how much progress we’ve made over the past two decades. This has been achieved in no small part thanks to the loyal support from the City of Prague, but it also owes much to the enormous efforts made by the organisers and the whole Designblok team. Every year, thousands of people, including renowned designers from the Czech Republic and abroad, descend on Prague to experience the Designblok festival. This year, we’re showing our support by providing the festival with a new venue – Prague’s little-known historical treasure, Colloredo-Mansfeld Palace. It’s just one example of how the City of Prague is playing its part as an active partner. Let’s not forget that design and art are beautiful because they are constantly evolving, always generating new ideas. I have no doubt that the festival will continue to show the same courage it’s displayed so impressively over the last 2 decades for many more years to come.”

24. 10. 2018

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