The 22nd edition of the Designblok festival about everything passion begins. The event will take place in the former Gabriel Loci monastery turned into gallery space under strict hygienic measures.
Exhibition of the best of Czech design, art installations and themed expositions: these are the main attractions of this year’s Designblok. Due to the state of emergency, Designblok will be limited to exhibitions; all side programme, including lectures, workshops and events had to be cancelled. Designblok begins on 7 October in the premises of the former Gabriel Loci monastery, now gallery halls. National Museum, the festival’s partner, provides the space of Musaion / Kinsky Summerhouse for the Art House project. Besides main exhibitions in Gabriel Loci and Musaion, visitors are welcome to view special expositions in galleries and shops in the town. Exhibitions will also be available to view online at Designblok’s website via 3D tours.
In total 227 expositions by designers and manufacturers will be available in Superstudio (companies), Openstudio (designers) and in Art House and showrooms in the city. Best Czech designers and international designers from neighbouring countries won’t be missing. This year, the central space of Designerie and the main exhibition, The Passion, was designed by Jan Plecháč who imprinted it with his passion for motorcycles. “My aim was to breath life into a technically dated item using the knowledge and skills of master craftsmen who would probably never meet at a single project under normal circumstances. Here master craftsmen step out of their comfort zone, collaborate to reach their shared goal, and let the audience watch as they proceed,” says Jan Plecháč as he brings together in one workshop the know-how of a team of motorcycle constructers, a saddler, a cutter, but also a jeweller and an illustrator.
“The core of Designblok are exhibitions and expositions, which is why we can open the gates on 7 October, while respecting strict hygienic measures. However, we had to cancel the entire festival programme, i.e. lectures, openings, workshops, fashion shows and social events, as well as the Gala Opening: all these are now considered group events. I am pleased that despite extremely difficult circumstances all of the best Czech designers, renowned manufacturers and academic studios will be present at this year’s Designblok. The space will be divided in such a manner as to never have more than ten persons in one exhibition hall or other space. This measure extends to visitors waiting to be let into exhibition halls. Of course, all other measures, including face masks, social distancing, ban of groups, disinfection etc. will be met. A team of our collaborators will oversee that these measures are respected, and we thank all visitors for respecting these. The monastery, turned into a gallery space, will be an interesting and contrasting background to the contemporary design installations. The cloister garden as designed by Jan Plecháč, the cloister with lamps by Lucie Koldová, nun cells, refectory and other historical spaces will host new designs by young and established designers,” explains the director of Designblok, Jana Zielinksi.
Visiting festival online
This year Designblok takes its expositions online: thanks to special 3D scans visitors can now view all installations, both by designers and companies, in the Gabriel Loci premises at Designblok website. Virtual tours will be available until the end of October 2020.
Design Helps in Kampa Park, Prague
Panel exhibition Design Helps is located in the public space of Kampa Park and was made-to-order for this year’s edition of Designblok. It reacts to the contemporary global situation in the time of pandemic and presents design as a tool for change and a solution to problems, not merely something extra. Selected projects present Czech and international designers who discuss a broad scale of pressing issues, ranging from healthcare to education. Designers deal with issues issues with ecologic and social subtext, such as lack of foodstuff and water, population aging, the necessity of searching for new materials, dying bees and poaching: their approach is purely pragmatic and conceptual. Twenty-eight projects can be viewed free-of-charge in the outdoor space in front of Sova’s Mills, Prague.
Art design in Art House
The National Museum’s classicist building of Musaion / Kinsky Summerhouse which now houses the Ethnographic Exhibition will present collectors’ design by 21 designers, including product design, fashion and photography. Designblok curators drew inspiration from the festival’s collaboration with the National Museum and located the exhibition of art design into its premises. “Passion, the main theme of this year’s Designblok, collocates enthusiasm and emotions which we can relate to Czech craft and traditions, our effort to get to know them and preserve them for future generations. This entails utterly personal, handmade products created in an intimate environment, evoking contemplation. Designers involved aren’t immune to the threat that the timeline of crafts and traditions can be cut off in the 21st century and they use their creations to ask what is the place of crafts in today’s production, explore their possible new meanings and interpret old things in a new way, thus building a bridge between the past and the future,”explains Danica Kovářová on behalf of Art House curators.
Due to the current epidemiologic situation and following consultations with relevant authorities Designblok decided to apply hygienic measures influencing the organisation and visit of exhibitions. The space of Gabriel Loci, whose rooms now host gallery expositions, is divided into several sectors with separate entrances and exits; some of them are accessible with a valid ticket only, others are for free. Exhibitors are evenly distributed between paid sectors A and B, meaning visitors will find manufacturers and designers, fashion and jewellery in both. Sectors accessible without a ticket include Art House in Musaion and its exhibition of art design, outdoor exhibitions and St Gabriel’s Church located in the premises of Gabriel Loci.
6. 10. 2020