20´th Century Design

About Czech Design

Czech / Czechoslovak design has a long continuous history. At the very beginning of 20’th century architects like Pavel Janák or Josef Gocar introduced to architecture and design world unique style inspired by French cubism. 

 

After the WWI the newly founded republic became one of the leaders of the architectural avantgarde with establishing UP Závody (Arts and Crafts Manufacture), Brno. On theoretical field its designers collaborated with such a names as Adolf Loos, Le Corbisieur or Mies van der Rohe (Jan Vaněk, second director of UP Závody, was involved in interior design of villa Thugendhat). The most famous of its designers and later director was however Jindrich Halabala, whose works are highly valued among collectors worldwide today. During his long career he designed timeless pieces which influenced generations to come.

 

After the WWII the dark ages arrived with takeover of power by communist regime which was trying to control and organize almost all areas of human life, private or professional. Fortunately design stayed out of its focus mainly because not considered any thread to the regime’s ideology. Thanks to it designers were more or less free to work on their ideas without any state interventions. This led to some extent to Czechoslovakia’s success at the Brussels Expo 1958. The irony was that thanks to strict regime’s policy of not traveling to the “West”, unless you were high level communist bureaucrat  non of the designers were allowed to actively participate at the exhibition. The success however influenced whole following decade and the design of 60’s has become to be known as “Brussels style” with leading figures on the field such as Miroslav Navratil (mainly seating furniture), Jiri Jiroutek (known for his composition sector furniture U450 produced by Interier Praha) and Antonin Suman who designed many timles bentwood pieces for Thonet’s successor company TON. Nowadays the design of Czech functionalism and Brussels style are becoming popular especially among young generation not on only in Czech and Slovakia but all across Europe.