Exhibition highlights Czech designers' take on "home"


The eighth annual Designblok festival of design opened its doors Tuesday in the River Diamond apartment complex, part of the ongoing regeneration of Prague's Karlin district. Designblok 2006 is showcasing the work of more than 100 artists, designers, manufacturers and retailers—90 percent of whom are Czech. I spoke with Designblok organizer and curator Jana Zielinski and asked her: what's hot in Czech design this year?

"I would say that Czech design has really a lot to show. The Czech companies—they have completely new collections this year, which they will present here. Czech designers got many awards this year and they will be presented here, among others. For example, the big retrospective exhibition of Jiri Pelcl will be presented this year. There will be famous Czech designers like Borek Sipek, Maxim Velcovsky and many others. And of course there will be a lot of companies as well, presenting new trends in interior design in general."

The theme of this exhibition in home. Why did you choose that theme for this year?

"Because we think that design is not just something that people see in magazines or something to be exhibited. We think that this is a thing that should be lived with. People should use design. People use it everyday anyway, they just don't know it. But they should use it so that they create something that is about them. I don't think that the apartment, which is designed, should design the people, I think it should be the opposite way."

This venue is a new location for you. Why did you choose to have it here this year?

"We have decided to put it into a different context. This is the first time I think ever that Designblok—or design in general—as an exhibition is presented at a venue where normal people live. This is a living complex, which means that when Designblok ends, in about a month, this living complex will be finished and the people will move in."

And are most of the people you expect to attend this exhibition the general public or design students and people like that?

"I think it's more the general public because, as you know, last year we had more than 10,000 visitors. So I think this is the general public-- people who want to know what is new in interior, what is new in fashion. They love design; they love jewelry and fashion products. And they want to see and they want to buy because Designblok is as well about really big sales from different companies; so a lot of people actually do shopping."