Forever Young. The Czech Functionalist Design 1919 — 1939
From June 18 through September 11, 2021, the Gallery of the Czech Center Berlin will present Forever Young. The exhibition will be displaying iconic works of the Czech functionalist design and furniture manufacturers. The original exhibited objects were made in the 1930s, but they do not look outdated. Even today, they bear comparison with current design trends.
The exhibits were designed by Bauhaus inspired architects and designers: Jindřich Halabala, Jan Vaněk, Karel Ort, Ladislav Žák and others. They worked for five Czechoslovak companies and defined the style of the Czechoslovak brands: Slezák, Vichr, UP Závody, Gottwald and Mücke & Melder, which are characterized by timeless design, high-quality material and perfect workmanship, and are therefore known not only to collectors.
"The aim of the project is to introduce the German audience to Czechoslovak functionalist design and its place in the European context, i.e., the dialogue of the protagonists of Czechoslovak modernity with the ideas of the German Bauhaus school. Czechoslovak functionalism in architecture has recently become more and more well-known in Germany, architects and cultural enthusiasts are coming to the Czech Republic to discover exceptional buildings by Bohuslav Fuchs and others, says exhibition curator Olaf Pospíšil from the Prague Design Icons online gallery. But what is yet unknown in Germany is functionalist design and furniture creation, which we will be presenting for the first time at this exhibition."
In order to perfect the illusion of the functionalist era, the exhibition’s architect, Pavel Liška, designed individual "rooms" typical of the time when functionalist furniture was manufactured and commonly used. Walking through them visitors will be able to see around 40 original objects such as armchairs, lamps, coffee tables etc. Thanks to the presentation in the brutalist building in which the gallery is located, visitors will be immersed in a contrast of functionalist objects with elements of brutalism, one of the newer manifestations of modernist ideas.
Visitors will also be able to learn about the history of the companies and the life destinies of the functionalist creators. Replicas of the original catalogs and posters will be available in electronic form on tablets and will provide additional information specifically on the Czechoslovak style, which emerged in the context of international modernism at the beginning of the last century and was influenced by the German Bauhaus and other international movements.
"The exhibited furniture has been used in Czech and Slovak households for nearly a hundred years, and after a simple renovation, it will withstand the competition of today's mass production," says Šárka Krtková, who leads the exhibition project. “The materials used are extremely long-lasting and durable. Without considering the sustainability of the designers of the time, they designed furniture that ensured comfortable living for generations. This could be a model and inspiration for contemporary designers in the Czech Republic and Germany. "
The exhibition should be complemented with an accompanying program, the implementation of which, however, will depend on the further development of the pandemic situation. For the latest information, visit www.foreveryoungberlin.com.
The exhibition, supported by the Czech-German Fund for the Future and the Czech Architecture Foundation, is a joint project with the online galleries Prague Design Icons, Zeitlos Berlin and the Czech Center Berlin.
Exhibition dates: June 18 - September 11, 2021
Opening hours: Tuesday - Saturday, 2 p.m - 6 p.m.
Press preview: June 17, 2021, 7 p.m.
Tschechisches Zentrum Berlin / Czech Center Berlin
Wilhelmstraße 44 / Mohrenstraße
Curators: Olaf Pospíšil, Uwe Mönnikes
Exhibition architect: Pavel Liška
Project management: Šárka Krtková, Christina Frankenberg (Czech Center Berlin)
Graphics: Anežka Ciglerová-Hrubá
PR: Katharina Meyer