Design and Transformation. Stories of Czech Design 1990-2020
Design Museum Brussels
7. 9. 2022 – 8. 1. 2023
Place de Belgique - Belgiëplein, Brussels, Belgium
Prague House in Brussels
8. 9. 2022 – 2. 10. 2022
Avenue Palmerston 16, Brussels, Belgium
The exhibition "Design and Transformation. Stories of Czech Design 1990-2020" shows that the term Czech design hides many remarkable products and works. It traces the relationship between the transformation of society and design production. It does not focus only on beautiful objects, but tries to present the backdrop of their creation - the stories of companies whose fates document the specifics of the Central European situation - centuries-old cultural and craft traditions, as well as the constant changes of state formations, economic and political frameworks.
"The commercial success of Czech companies based on cooperation with top Czech and international designers is, therefore, the first theme of the current exhibition, which presents current trends in Czech design," says Jindřich Vybíral, the Rector of UMPRUM.
"It wasn't entirely easy to choose a limited number of Czech companies and projects to fit into the Design Museum. In addition to the criterion of close cooperation with designers, the diversity of the whole was important to us when selecting projects. The age of the companies varies - from those founded in the 19th century (Škoda Auto, TON, Český porcelán), through the wave of companies founded after 1989 (LINET, mmcité) to very young projects (Textile Mountain, and PÁR). The stories that each project has gone through and the strategies they choose in difficult situations are also different. We also want to show, at least in a hint, the breadth of industries that exist in the Czech Republic concerning design - from the traditionally presented glass industry, through the automotive industry, companies producing urban furniture, medical equipment, furniture, footwear, porcelain, to the relatively new fields of 3D printing or game animation. We complete the mosaic with a photographic card catalogue of Czech design of the past thirty years, including fashion, jewellery, and graphic design."
Among the criteria for selecting businesses to be presented at the exhibition were the company's history, its turbulent fate concerning social and historical events, and the diversity of stories and approaches. The significant role of design in the company's production, cooperation with artists and students, and the accentuation of ecological and social aspects of production also played a role.
The exhibition "Design and Transformation. Stories of Czech Design 1990-2020" was created on the occasion of the Czech Republic's Presidency of the Council of the European Union. It was prepared by the Academy of Arts, Architecture, and Design in Prague (UMPRUM) in cooperation with the Moravian Gallery in Brno, the Office of the Government of the Czech Republic and other government institutions.
The two parts of the exhibition are on show at the Prague House in Brussels (from September 8th to October 2nd) and at the Design Museum Brussels (from 7 September 7th to January 8th). Visitors can see products from major Czech companies and brands working with leading Czech designers. The accompanying programme includes lectures, workshops, and music performances.