21. 9. 2022
The twenty-fourth annual Designblok, the largest Central European design and fashion show will take place with the theme of LES [THE FOREST] from 5 to 9 October 2022 in two exhibition spaces: Gabriel Loci on Holečkova Street and the Museum of Decorative Arts in Prague. Over 178 exhibitors will present innovations from established companies, brands, studios, independent artists, talented newcomers, and international stars. The rich program will also offer a number of special exhibitions dedicated to Czech crystal and porcelain, contemporary Ukrainian design, family business, and progressive student work. A number of showrooms, shops, and studios will also open throughout Prague as part of the festival.
This year, Designblok will again offer a comprehensive presentation of contemporary Czech and international design, fashion, and jewelry in the traditional Superstudio and Openstudio formats. Fifty companies from all over Europe will meet in the Superstudio at Gabriel Loci – iconic foreign brands such as Vitra, Moroso, and the Dutch studio Toer, along with Czech manufacturers Johann Malle, Master&Master, TON and many others. There will be no shortage of fresh projects just starting to pick up fans. Openstudio will provide a comprehensive look at the current face of Czech design. More than a hundred installations and pop-ups by independent creators at Gabriel Loci will be followed by twenty contemporary designers demonstrating the use of traditional technologies and crafts in a new way at the second Openstudio location: the Museum of Decorative Arts in Prague.
A meeting place, café, the Reflex Stage for lectures, a playground ‒ the pulsing heart of Designblok, called Designerie, will be transformed this year into a playful oasis inspired by the forest and mushrooms, where visitors can contemplate and learn in the glass-walled Gabriel Loci Ambit under the guidance of designers Monika Matějková and Veronika Watzková from the studio MY DVĚ. All decorations are made from reused or recycled materials.
The aforementioned Reflex Stage at the Designerie will offer a daily series of educational lectures and discussions on design, architecture, fashion, marketing, ecology, and more. Dutch design star Richard Hutton will speak about circular design; UMPRUM will address the issue of inclusivity; the website EARCH.cz will draw attention to greenwashing in architecture; Jakub Berdych, Daniel Piršč, and Maxim Velčovský will reflect on the sustainability of Czech production; #HolkyzMarketingu will advise on effective marketing for small creators; the successful Ukrainian designer and another of the prominent international guests, Victoria Yakusha, will prove that culture is the lifeblood of a nation; and the platform Sázíme česko [Planting Czechia] will talk about the importance of forests in times of climate crisis. To cut down or not to cut down? The future of Czech forests will be cut down to size in a discussion between weekly magazine Reflex and professional loggers. You can find the complete ancillary program now on the website designblok.cz.
At Gabriel Loci, the special exhibit Sláva Ukrajině! [Glory Be to Ukraine!] will present seven progressive Ukrainian designers, studios, and brands. Through the curated selection of the Ihor Studio, the Openstudio will present Gunia Project, Gushka Wool, OLK manufactory / Oksana Levchenya, RE:QUIET, Seri/graph studio, and Sergey Zhernov. A separate installation at the Church of the Annunciation near Gabriel Loci will host a Czech premiere, an exclusive look at the work of one of the main protagonists of contemporary Ukrainian design, Viktoria Yakusha, who creates her work under the FAINA brand.
"On behalf of the capital, we have long supported the Designblok festival and we appreciate that it is held here. Personally, I see this event as a showcase of contemporary original design, which has, among other things, a great ability to respond to current events. This year, therefore, I appreciate the fact that visitors will have the opportunity to get acquainted not only with the innovations of established Czech names, but also with the work of selected Ukrainian designers,” says the mayor of the capital city of Prague, Zdeněk Hřib.
What design objects would the prominent Czech businessman, patron, and co-founder of Prague's Museum of Decorative Arts, Vojtěch Lanna the Younger, collect today? This year’s Art House offers an answer. Under the direction of curator Danica Kovářová, contemporarý designers will intervene in the exhibition Sběratel: Lannova sbírka skla [Collector: The Lanna Glass Collection] at the Museum of Decorative Arts in Prague. The generous collection of glass art from antiquity to the 19th century will be complemented by Federico Díaz's collaboration with the Moser glassworks, the work of Zdeněk Lhotský, Lada Semecká, Paula Benčátová, studio LLEV, Lukáš Novák, and other contemporary professionals. "It is great that through Art House we can draw attention to the Lanna Collection and make even people who would not normally be interested in it appreciate it. This unique collection and the character of its founder Vojtěch Lanna deserve it!“ adds curator Danica Kovářová.
A collection of the most interesting porcelain objects from recent years, as well as completely new works, will be offered by another of the main exhibitions of this year's Designblok, entitled Terra Alba – nová vlna českého porcelánu [Terra Alba: the new wave of Czech porcelain]. Works curated by art historian Radek Wohlmuth from the unorthodox architecture of Maxim Velčovský will be on display on the 2nd floor of the museum. "More than twenty-five artists will leave their mark on a fragmented but mutually compatible picture of Czech porcelain. At the same time, they will offer a combined report on our everyday life, in which themes such as ecology, sustainability, inclusion, or the pandemic situation will resonate. It must not be forgotten that contemporary porcelain is also a catalyst for emotions and a way of communicating. Some of the works reach an existential dimension and balance on the border of free art," revealed the curator of the exhibition, art theorist Radek Wohlmuth.
The Museum of Decorative Arts will also follow up on the success of last year's exhibition Rodinné stříbro [Family Silver], organized in collaboration with Forbes magazine. A presentation of 12 successful family businesses – Brokis, Dílna Šesták, Kaplan Nábytek, Kozel Fenestra, Le bon, MOW, Qubus, ROBOT by Bohematic, Tkalcovna Kubák, USSPA, Vasky, Wuders – and stories of rescued ancient factories intermingled with established brands that emerged from greenfield sites in recent decades. Because the basic industrial unit of a country is, simply, the family.
Nor will fresh inspiration in the form of student work be lacking this year. Part of the festival will include the finals of the international competition of diploma theses in product and fashion design, Diploma Selection. Thirty young designers from multiple European countries will present their works in an exhibition in the Gabriel Loci refectory and at fashion shows organized in partnership with EUNIC, the association of European Union National Institutes for Culture. You can find the product design exhibition on the first floor of the Gabriel Loci exhibition venue. The fashion show will take place on Saturday, 8 October 2022 at Sacre Coeur on Holečkova Street in Smichov. Another showcase of talented artists will be presented by the installation Erste Premier Talent Cards on the 2nd floor of the Museum of Decorative Arts, which was created thanks to the support of the festival's general partner Erste Premier.
The twenty-fourth Designblok could never have been organized without the support of partners. The general partner of the festival, now for the eleventh time, is Erste Premier. “The theme for this Designblok is timeless and at the same time extremely topical: the forest... Forests are irreplaceable for life on planet Earth. And yet they are becoming increasingly scarce. Not just the rain forests across the ocean, even here at home, forests are disappearing because of bark beetles, fires, or insensitive logging. May this year's design festival be a celebration of that green life-giving wealth and a reminder of how important it is to all of us,” Martin Fuchs, director of Erste Premier, comments on the collaboration.
The role of main partner, whose fleet will provide transportation for guests between the exhibition areas, will once again be served by Hyundai. "We are delighted to continue in the role of the festival's main partner, and for this year's edition we have been able to bring to the Czech Republic for the very first time our hottest new vehicle, the sleek electric IONIQ 6. We will round out the vehicle with a spectacular light installation in the Gabriel Loci complex that will connect our outdoor and indoor exhibition and will bring visitors a truly extraordinary experience," says Martin Saitz, Managing Director of Hyundai Motor Czech.