In 1950, shortly after its acquisition of university status, AAAD established five departments. Our core specializations had previously been divided between two departments: ceramics, glass and metal composed the Department of Applied Sculpture, while the textile, lace and fashion design studios formed a separate department. In the sixties, we created a joint Department of Industrial Arts. The new organizational structure and name of the department reflected the much trumpeted cooperation with industry of the time, which, however, was rather more problematic in practice. Despite several attempts to redefine the character of our department, we returned to the title ‘Department of Applied Arts’. While we are most closely related to design, our concept of learning – grounded in a close relationship with materials and workshop production – is quite specific, notwithstanding rapid development and common objectives.
It is difficult to single out individuals from the long list of eminent figures who helped to define the new concepts of our fields of study. The most distinctive among them is the founder, Josef Kaplický, whose philosophy, methodology and comprehensive approach to tuition extended well beyond the boundaries of his field – artistic glass. Others who put enormous work into the positive development of their specializations and into building the school’s reputation both at home and abroad were Antonín Kybal, Otto Eckert, Zdena Bauerová, Stanislav Libenský, Vladimír Kopecký and Vratislav K. Novák.