Freedom the main subject of this year’s Designblok

chmara.rosinke, photo: Markus Zahradnik / archive of Designblok

The biggest annual festival of design in Central Europe, Designblok, gets underway in Prague on Wednesday. This year, the festival centre – the so-called Superstudio – will be located at the Výstaviště exhibition grounds and will traditionally offer a display of Czech and international designers and brands. I spoke to Jana Zielinski, the director of Designblok, and first asked her about the choice of this year’s main topic, which is freedom:

chmara.rosinke, photo: Markus Zahradnik / archive of Designblok
“We were thinking about the connection of design to contemporary world, about its responsibility, reliability and what it says to the contemporary state of human society. We thought that the topic of freedom can say a lot about how design should react to the needs of contemporary society.

“We were also thinking about creative freedom of design because this is the crucial question whether design can actually be free. There is always producer, money of the function that design has to deal with.”

So how is this topic reflected in the exhibits?

Maarten de Ceulaer, photo: archive of Designblok
“It is of course reflected in our main exhibition in Prague Expo venue in Holešovice which is called Freedom: No Things, No Design. It is of course a provocation, but we really believe people should really start thinking about what they are buying, because it is their responsibility for the future.

“We have asked five European designers to respond freely to this topic; we didn’t give them any borders. But the theme is reflected in a number of designer exhibitions and other events presented during Designblok.”

Apart from the main exhibition that you have just mentioned, what are the other highlights of this year’s Designblok?

Definitely very important part will be the Designblok Diloma Selection Exhibition, which is a selection of the best European diploma works, so you can see the best young designers from twelve European countries.

Ola Kowalska, photo: archive of Designblok
“We have also selected the best diploma works in fashion, so there will be a Škoda design runway, which will host fashion shows. We will present a big exhibition of Polish and contemporary Austrian design.

“There are of course more than a hundred European designers being presented at the selection at the Open Studio, so I think people will really have an opportunity to see the best of contemporary Czech and international design.

A large part of Designblok is devoted to international and Czech brands, so we will also offer a survey of new products, such as lights, furniture and accessories.”

The Designblok festival will run in Prague until 27 October.