London show aims to further boost growing reputation of Czech glass

15-09-2016

Breathless is the title of a presentation of Czech glass that runs from this Saturday as part of the prestigious London Design Festival. Located in a former garage in the Brompton Design District near the Victoria and Albert Museum, the exhibition is a joint project of the award-winning Dechem studio, the OKOLO design collective and London’s Czech Centre. As last minute preparations were made, OKOLO’s Adam Štěch filled me in on what the show has to offer.

Photo: archive of Czech Centre LondonPhoto: archive of Czech Centre London “Visitors can see basically two main parts of the exhibition. One of them is very dynamic and shows the process of glass-making.

“We are bringing a small mobile furnace, and glass blowers will be working on it during workshops.

“We will also collaborate with several designers from London, like Michael Anastassiades, Studio Swine and Tomas Alonso. These very nice designers will also be creating something during the workshops.

“The other part is more static, it’s kind of like the life of glass. It consists of a symbolic small museum of glass where visitors can see seven different categories of glass used in industry.

“So it’s a very wide perspective on what glass actually is.”

Tell us about the interactive aspect of the exhibition. Will visitors themselves be actually able to blow glass?

Adam Štěch, photo: Ian WilloughbyAdam Štěch, photo: Ian Willoughby “Yes, we have a very basic, elementary means of production. We have prepared some small moulds, some forms, that the public can also be very close to.

“Of course, there will be two master glass blowers and they will assist the public maybe to create some small objects, which we will give them after they have become cold.”

What kind of reputation does Czech glass have in the UK?

“I would say that Czech glass is now in a kind of renaissance. In the last, I don’t know, 10 years, the Czech glass and design scene have developed very much.

“New companies were founded and old, historical companies were relaunched in a new style and with new designs, with new designers.

“Also Czech companies are collaborating with international designers. So I think that the reputation of Czech glass now in the design world is much higher, much bigger than 10 years ago.

“It’s quite funny because our exhibition is right next to one of the best concept stores, or design galleries, in London.

Photo: archive of Czech Centre LondonPhoto: archive of Czech Centre London “I am just looking through their window and there is a big chandelier from Lasvit, there is work by the Dechem studio inside. Even such a very prestigious place is exhibiting Czech glass.

“So I think it’s still better and better. And I hope that our exhibition can also help people to understand what Czech glass actually is – and even how magical this material is.”

Breathless runs at 1 North Terrace, Kensington from 17 to 25 September.

15-09-2016