Brejle a okuliare. Eyewear design in Czechoslovakia
Created: 21. 4. 2022 from Vysoká škola uměleckoprůmyslová v Praze

Brejle a okuliare.  (Glasses and Spectacles)
Eyewear design in Czechoslovakia

22. 4.–28. 5. 2022
Opening: 21. 4. 2022 at 6 PM

UM Gallery, UMPRUM, nám. Jana Palacha 80, Prague 1


You don't necessarily have to wear glasses to appreciate the latest exhibition at the UM Gallery, Brejle a okuliare (Glasses and Spectacles). Eyewear design in Czechoslovakia. The exhibition will introduce you to the history of the Czechoslovak production of spectacle frames and acquaint you with the future direction of this particularly neglected craft. Ondřej Vicena managed to map this industry and prove that despite many limitations, design treasures comparable to world production were created in the then Okula Nýrsko and other factories of Czechoslovak eyewear manufacturers.

Ondřej Vicena, a Ph.D. student at the Product Design Studio at UMPRUM, is close to the topic in many ways. Glasses are the subject of his dissertation and also his occupation. "I was originally interested in them in terms of history, production technology, and design. Since I wear glasses myself and was looking for lightweight frames, I tried to use old second-hand frames. They wore surprisingly well. From there, it was only a few steps to founding Optiqa, a studio that focuses on glasses from past decades and also produces custom-made frames," says Ondřej Vicena, whose journey and love of glasses led him to become a designer at Okula in Nýrsko.

Vicena's broad interest in eyewear is also reflected in the exhibition at the UM Gallery, which conveys the issue of eyewear in the broadest possible scope in terms of history and the technologies used. The exhibition also includes a collection of the oldest spectacles from around the world by collector Vilém Rudolf, which demonstrates the basic genesis of eyewear design. A large space is devoted to the eyewear industry in the Czech lands, the development of which can be dated back to the second half of the 19th century. It presents the technology of production and its development, introduces the materials used, shapes, and experiments that were created in the Okula Nýrsko or Dioptra Turnov factories in Czechoslovakia. The exhibition does not omit the personality of Jaroslav Trubač, who designed the most distinctive types of eyewear frames from the 1960s to the end of the 1980s.

The second part of the exhibition focuses on current trends in eyewear design and their creation at UMPRUM. Here you can see not only Ondřej Vicena's designs for the Okula Nýrsko, but also the spectacles of other students and graduates. There will also be the latest project of the Product Design Studio "Sunglasses for a famous personality", where students designed customized shapes for Jan Cina, Marta Kubišová, David Vávra, and many other personalities. Photographs of the faces of famous people from different times and with different models of glasses are interwoven throughout the exhibition and illustrate the fashion trends of the time. The main face of the project and the exhibition Brejle a okuliare (Glasses and Spectacles) Eyewear design in Czechoslovakia is the TV presenter Saskia Burešová.

The exhibition will be on display at the UM Gallery until 28 May.


Author of the exhibition, and curator: Ondřej Vicena
Graphic design: Matej Vojtuš