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ISSUE THEME: THE FUTURE This time, Soffa muses about what awaits in the near and distant future, and about other pressing existential questions. Explore with us some fantastical ideas that are fast becoming part of our reality.
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Some say that ideas about the future are mainly a reflection of the present. If this is true then the stories in this issue will paint a clear picture about the present, and tomorrow will remain as distant as the stars. Quite literally, as you will learn in our interview with the Czech space scientist Jan Lukačevič. But we need not go as far as outer space to find pioneering endeavours – Mother Earth offers many, whether in architecture, design or food. In this issue we will show you several buildings that take advantage of new materials and technologies and are energy self-sufficient. Sustainability is the main ingredient in our essay about the future of food, and it also flavours our vignettes on smart cities, exemplified in our beloved city of Prague. Our story on the Slovak studio Crafting Plastics! will show you how 3D-printed glasses made from natural plastic are both stylish and compostable. And because humanity has been attempting to predict the future through various forms of fortune telling since time immemorial, we have turned to three women who include fortune telling on their resumes. No matter what you believe, one thing is clear: our future rests with the next generation. And so our fashion story features the next generation of fashionistas in the middle of their classroom. A classroom is probably where you first heard the word robot, which long ago entered our psyche as a synonym for the future. Read on to learn about its origins.
Welcome As It Should Be
People Miracles in Waiting
Editor's Choice Rest in Style
Science Star Gazing
Cars High Performer
Creative People Naturally Framed
Trends Loving Mauve
Homes of the Future Smart Living
Interior Beacon in the Sky
Utterly Czech Robot, *1920
Urban Futures Smart Prague
Fashion Alphabet of Style
Food Beyond the Growth Curve
Creative People Window to the Future
Travel Polandâ€™s Lively Pulse
Design B. Who You Are
Architecture Foundations for Tomorrow
AS IT SHOULD BE
1 · The LunaEco Midnight Black Bag from O my bag is eco-friendly and fairly-made. Available at www.omybag.nl, €159 2 · Zoa is the world’s first bioleather materials brand. Discover Zoa at zoa.is 3 · In March 2018 Ikea introduces its first mass-produced 3D-printed object: the hand wall decoration from the Omedelbar collection, designed in collaboration with the stylist Bea Åkerlund. More at www.ikea.com 4 · The new Utopia collection of eyewear by Nastassia Aleinikava is inspired by science fiction. View it at www.nastassiaaleinikava.com 5 · Polygon A Earrings from the new Infinity collection created by Blueberries, a 3D-printed jewellery brand based in Prague. Available at www.blueberries.cz, 3,490 Kč 6 · At IMM Cologne 2018, TON introduced the new Chips lounge chair designed by the Czech designer Lucie Koldová as part of the Das Haus project. More at www.ton.eu
With every Soffa issue I leave the writing of the editorial until the very end. First, because I want to reflect on the entire magazine and second, and this is the real reason, because it’s always a very busy time and so I put it off. It was the same with this issue. But then something happened that convinced me that everything happens for a reason, and there is no such thing as a coincidence.
7 · The Googy Rocking Horse by Ooh Noo is a designer’s answer to the conventional rocking horse – a must-have for every child. Available at www.arki.cz, 7,425 Kč
At first I wanted to write about Soffa’s new logotype, new layout, new web pages and the completely new and exciting science feature series, which we introduce in this issue. And then on the afternoon before sending the issue to the printer, as I was rushing to a medical check-up, I was stopped on the street by an older woman who proceeded to tell my future. With my mouth agape I listened as she told me that my check-up would turn out fine and I would be alright. It took me a few hours to realise the beauty and meaning of that encounter: we were just finishing an issue dedicated to the future, with one of our stories devoted to psychics in the twenty-first century. I don’t believe in fortunes or forecasts, but I am certain that everything is as it should be.
Adéla Kudrnová | editor in chief PS: In working on this issue our team fell in love with a few products that are intimately connected with the future. Be inspired by our selection!
text: Kateřina Hanáčková photo: Michaela Karásek Čejková
MIRACLES IN WAITING
THE DESIRE TO KNOW OUR DESTINY IS DEEP ROOTED, AND CURIOUS SOULS HAVE BEEN VISITING PSYCHICS SINCE TIME IMMEMORIAL – BE IT THE ORACLE AT DELPHI OR THE LOCAL SEER WHO ‘READS’ COFFEE GROUNDS. TWENTY-FIRST CENTURY PSYCHICS DON’T HIDE OUT IN THE FOREST OR GAZE INTO CRYSTAL BALLS; THEY LIVE IN OUR MIDST, DRIVE CARS AND PAY THEIR TAXES. YET THEY WORK WITH ANCIENT POWERS, THE SAME POWERS THAT GUIDED OUR ANCESTORS. MEET THREE PSYCHICS WHO WILL HAVE YOU PEGGED FASTER THAN YOU CAN READ YOUR OWN HOROSCOPE.
In her linen dress with lacing and embroidery she looks like a traveller from a distant past. A wild-haired redhead with piercing blue eyes that gaze so deep it feels like she can see right through you. Renata, who calls herself Wahlgrenis, could teach a thing or two to an entire team of personal development advisors or psychoanalysts. People travel from near and far to see her, not because she tells them what they want to hear, but because she always tells the truth. Wahlgrenis is empathetic, patient and very perceptive, and in a matter of seconds she will read you like a book. She hears voices from different dimensions and knows how to communicate with the departed, enter people’s dreams, perform astral projection and, of course, see the future. Even the most ardent sceptic feels excited tension when a psychic turns over her tarot cards, asks the planets for guidance about the future or presents a magical talisman. People have always looked to invisible powers for guidance on what awaits, whether to satisfy their curiosity or to prepare for the future. Mesopotamian shamans foretold the future from the livers of sacrificed animals, prophets in South East Asia studied flocks of birds and ancient Chinese scholars looked to the I Ching – The Book of Changes to predict the future with masterful precision. There were times when people would do little without the blessing of a higher power. Planning to marry? Ask the cards whether it is a suitable match. Want to start a business? Seek guidance from the stars. Is it the right time to declare a war against another nation? Listen to your belly – the so-called gastromancy, popular in Italy during the Renaissance, apparently brought very reliable results. Seers and prophets are enjoying undying popularity the world over. In complicated and uncertain times they give clear answers – they know what will happen with the stock market and where your soul mate awaits. Their advice is sought out by financiers, lawyers, celebrities and politicians, as attested by the American banker J.P. Morgan when he said: ‘Millionaires don’t go to psychics; billionaires do.’ Whether today’s psychics use honeycombs or tarot cards to divine our future, there is one thing they agree on: everyone’s future is written in the Book of Destiny. We have control over one decision only – whether we allow it to be revealed.
WAHLGRENIS One day Wahlgrenis looked out the window of her home and saw a large, blue-coloured phosphorescent ball emitting a stream of light energy. The sight did not phase her one bit; she knew she was being visited by spirits from the constellation Orion who had come to bless her work. She herself came from their planet in a past life, though she has spent several lives on this planet – one in the body of the Egyptian princess Meritaten. Seventeen years ago, when Renata was raising her two children with her first husband and working as an editor for a society magazine, she would have considered herself a bit mad. Until the age of 39 she had no inkling about her origins or gifts, but that all changed one day with a vision. ‘I was standing next to the photocopier at work when suddenly I had a deep spiritual experience. From that moment nothing was the same,’ recalls Renata the instant when she heard the ‘voice’. Since then the voice has been her constant guide, giving her precise instructions for the map she uses to predict the future. It also told her which path to take on a routine errand to a post office, as it was on that path she was destined to meet her second husband. The kitchen in which Wahlgrenis works resembles more closely the front room of a village cottage than a flat in the middle of Litoměřice. Glassed cupboards display painted tin cups and brass mortars and the room is decorated with dried flowers. What is not present is a table with a crystal ball, as Wahlgrenis prefers to tell the future with the help of a map she herself drew, supplemented with honeycomb-shaped cards and colourful cubes. While we speak the phone rings almost constantly, as people whom Wahlgrenis has helped in the past can no longer make decisions without her guidance. Her most frequent clients are women who wish to become pregnant, and the reason for not being able to do so is often due to a wrong in a past life. ‘Perhaps she had to marry someone other than the person she loved. She can be freed from the guilt by writing a letter to him where she can explain herself. This will release her.’ Her physical body is nothing more than a vessel through which higher powers speak and reveal themselves – Wahlgrenis herself decides nothing. She is not a visionary looking to open other people’s eyes, but someone who understands the world between heaven and earth and helps those of us who are lost, undecided or troubled. ‘Everything flows towards me. I don’t have to attune to anything or anyone, breathe deeply or concentrate,’ says Wahlgrenis while sipping her tea. ‘Sometimes I don’t even understand the message,’ the psychic says as she recalls the time when she helped a woman whose son had died in a motorcycle accident. ‘He sent a message to his mother that said: “The hand towel with the bear to Michal”. The woman started to sob as she explained that Michal was a brother of the deceased and that they had recently found the hand towel,’ Wahlgrenis finishes with a shrug. ‘Interesting to think about the worries we’ll have in afterlife.’
GRACIELA The moment Graciela greets you with her outstretched hand you feel welcomed in the atmosphere of a warm, sincere home. And then she speaks and her voice and laughter are like an embrace. She laughs often and so heartily that the entire room is filled with the clamorous jingle of her gold jewellery. When she finally lays out her tarot cards and starts to tell your destiny, you find yourself completely spellbound. Born as Rozálie, Graciela chose her psychic name from a character in a Mexican telenovela. She furnished the Děčín concrete block apartment, which she shares with her husband, in her flamboyant style – the chandelier shines with blue and green, the table is decorated with an arrangement of artificial orchids and glittered blue twigs, and in front of Graciela stands a translucent crucifix with a shining Christ. Graciela lights a cigarette and from the deepest part of her cleavage pulls a handkerchief, as though it were a magic trick. But Graciela is no magician; she is a diviner. On full moon nights she picks wild herbs, anoints moonstones, and with secret rituals that have been passed down through generations she helps people find their love or purge their curse. In Harry Potter’s world she would teach at Hogwarts and her speciality would be defences against black magic, which, Graciela feels, is dangerously on the rise in Czechia. The poor souls who have been cursed or had the black eye put upon them suffer a great deal: they become unwell and slowly lose their friends, money, even their life force. Graciela can help these unfortunates, but for some it can only be done on the phone. ‘One time I was visited by a woman and just before she sat down, one of the chair legs suddenly broke. I told her she had a very dark cloud hanging over her and that she had to leave immediately. I have a family I must protect, and the physical presence of someone so badly marked could bring bad luck.’ Family is everything to Graciela. Her shelves are packed with pictures of her children and grandchildren who visit often. In one breath she speaks of magical rituals and in another she dispenses well-meaning advice. All of Graciela’s sisters are also clairvoyants – it is in their blood – and both of her daughters are beginning to show the gift. They can’t read cards for one another, however, as that would bring great misfortune. Graciela began her own psychic journey some thirty years ago when one of her mother’s customers came to have her cards read. Graciela opened the door, and as though some invisible force had suddenly begun to act through her, she knew exactly what to say and do. To this day the woman remains Graciela’s devoted client. Most people who come to Graciela are troubled by unhappy love. To heal their lonely hearts she uses age-old rituals that are able to conjure up new romance or bring back an old flame. When we ask if casting a spell on a former husband would resemble black magic, Graciela quips: ‘If your love is pure, so will be the spell.’
DANIELA HANNAH When people say that something is in the stars, what they really mean is that they have no idea how things will turn out. But when Daniela Hannah says the same, she means the complete opposite. Few know the positions of stars as well as the 52-year old astrologist from Karlštejn. In the past Daniela Hannah looked for help to tarot cards and the pendulum, but today a pen and paper will suffice. ‘Astrology is a craft; anyone can learn it. I’m a typically lazy Leo, though, so I like to pull my information directly from above,’ laughs the astrologer. She prefers to work at night, as that is when her mind is best attuned to the frequencies of other dimensions. It is also when she receives visitors from the Pleiades star cluster. ‘They usually wake me around three in the morning to give advice and clarify astrological connections. They’ve been visiting me since my childhood and I used to think that it happened to others too,’ explains the astrologist. ‘I’ve always been a bit different. For example, I can’t have my x-ray taken because the picture is eclipsed by my throat chakra,’ Daniela explains with a shrug. As she speaks Daniela Hannah gesticulates excitedly and exudes self-assured energy. Trained as an economist, she worked for years as a director of a children’s home and she still likes to direct things. Her every word is uttered without hesitation, especially as she reveals to her clients what the new moon will bring, who will sue whom over money or how they will meet their end. Her clients include doctors, politicians, judges and company directors who see her clairvoyant services as a priceless investment. Daniela Hannah is a pragmatic mystic who knows how to travel between dimensions, look into a parallel universe, but also predict a fall in the value of stocks. Indeed, during the financial crisis nine years ago she had so many bankrupt clients that she had no time for anything else but her psychic work, and that is when she decided to turn a hobby into a full-time profession. Journeys into the world of departed souls are the most unsettling part of Daniela Hannah’s work. These she sometimes has to do when a client wants to find a lost loved one and Daniela cannot find them among the living. ‘I don’t like doing it. I don’t even want to get paid when I see the person on the bottom of a lake and later they find him there,’ says the astrologer. Daniela has to be careful that her abilities are not misused, but she is grateful for the many connections that make her life on this planet more comfortable. Thanks to these she can take clients on psychic relaxation journeys to Thailand, the Caribbean and Sri Lanka. Daniela Hannah lives her earthly life to the fullest and advises her clients to do the same. After all, only the stars know whether our next life will provide the same opportunities. ■
DESIGNBLOK BOOK 2017 Výběr nejprogresivnějších projektů 19. ročníku mezinárodního festivalu designu Designblok 2017. / Selection of the most progressive projects of the 19th Designblok 2017 – Prague International Design Festival. WWW.DESIGNBLOK.CZ
text and styling: Adéla Kudrnová
REST IN STYLE THE THEME OF DEATH, AS AN INSEPARABLE PART OF LIFE, IS APPEARING MORE AND MORE IN CONTEMPORARY ART AND DESIGN – WHETHER IN OBJECTS INTENDED FOR FUNERARY PURPOSES OR IN MEMENTOS MORI. 1 · The Very Last Collection, www.maestrokatastrof.com | 2 · Pylon Urn, www.urnyy.cz | 3 · Memento Mori Chandelier, design Maxim Velčovský, www.lasvit.com | 4 · Skull with Magpie, design Jan Fabre, www.angelos.be | 5 · Tactile Perception Concept, lisamerk.squarespace.com
text: Kristýna Večeřová styling: Patrik Florián make-up: Aleksa Sidorina photo: Lina Németh
STAR GAZING FOR ANCIENT PEOPLE THE RED PLANET WAS A SYMBOL OF BLOOD, FIRE AND FURY, YET WE DON’T REALLY KNOW WHETHER THE PLANET NAMED AFTER THE ROMAN GOD OF WAR CREATES ANYTHING AKIN TO LIGHTNING. FINDING AN ANSWER TO THIS QUESTION WILL BE THE JOB OF A WAVE ANALYSER MODULE THAT WILL TRAVEL TO MARS AS PART OF THE EXOMARS 2020 MISSION. ONE OF ITS DEVELOPERS IS JAN LUKAČEVIČ, A RECIPIENT OF THE PRESTIGIOUS BRITISH INTERPLANETARY SOCIETY AWARD. THERE IS NO DOUBT IN THE YOUNG SCIENTIST’S MIND THAT PEOPLE WILL LAND ON MARS SOME DAY. IN OUR INTERVIEW, WHICH OPENS SOFFA’S NEW FEATURE SERIES ON SCIENCE, WE EXPLORE WHAT JAN IS LESS CERTAIN ABOUT.
How does it feel to know that part of you will walk on Mars some day? It won’t walk; it’ll be stuck there. It’s a bit like here on Earth; sometimes I’m a bit stuck. Either way I’m thrilled – it’s a great motivator for my work and it carries a lot of responsibility. What exactly is the role of the equipment you are currently developing? I’m responsible for developing the electric antenna that will try to detect electrostatic discharge from dust storms on the surface of Mars. In reality we don’t know if such discharge exists in the dust storms, and so our experiment is designed to find this out. In order to lower the risks for future expeditions? Exactly. It’s also about looking at an interesting phenomenon from a different angle. In science you often have to study phenomena through analogies. Here on Earth we have a similar situation with volcanic ash storms. When volcanoes erupt and start spewing out hot ash, the particles rub against each other and create fields with different charge, which can result in lightning. No one studies this though, because no one feels like climbing into a scorching hot volcano. Would you like to get to Mars some day? In time. But only to go there and come back again. Is it possible? I’m sure I won’t be in the first wave; I definitely won’t be in the first group of scientists. To
start with, I’m too tall for a space ship, and second, people prepare for this for a very long time. Are they preparing already? Not yet, not fully. I know that NASA has a new class of astronauts, but I don’t know where this group would fly other than to the International Space Station. Some of them are quite young… But Mars missions won’t happen for another ten to fifteen years, and so they will need new people, who are yet to be recruited. So the plan is that in 2030 there will be first ‘settlers’ on Mars? By 2028 there should be a station with a human crew floating in Mars’ orbit. And in 2032, 33 or 35 – depending on who is working on this and who has the resources – people should land on the surface of Mars. I’m not sure if they’ll be settlers in the classic sense of the word; more likely they’ll be small teams of scientists. We know that conditions on Mars are not very favourable for life. Would there have to be a massive terraforming of Mars? Well, Mars has a few places where it would not be so hard to survive. Caves? Exactly! There are caves that originated from lava flow channels. Mars was volcanically active for a long time and its highest peak – Olympus Mons – was a massive volcano with a base the size of France. The lava flowed along its surface and underneath it formed long tunnels, where one could survive, as the tunnels are not affected
by strong radiation. They’ll probably be the first places where people will seek shelter. That’s a disconcerting thought: hiding underground on Mars. But it’s impossible for people to survive on Mars without an artificial atmosphere, isn’t it? That’s right. It’s probably not possible, because the idea of terraforming Mars – transforming it to be similar to Earth – would require great disturbances to the planet. On paper it looks feasible, but the time horizon is immense; it’s something we will never live to see. What would such a transformation require? First we would need to protect the planet from radiation, and for this an artificial magnetic pole would have to be created. The fundamental problem for human habitation of Mars is not that it doesn’t have an atmosphere, but that its existing atmosphere is regularly blown away by solar wind. Colliding particles disperse the thin atmosphere into outer space. So a magnetic field would have to be created either directly around Mars, or maybe in front of it, to act like a shield. Something like a wrap or an umbrella. That’s the first idea. Another is to thicken the atmosphere so that the surface of Mars would begin to warm. From our experience on Earth we know that carbon dioxide is a good greenhouse gas. It’s not that we would be sending it there – Mars has enough of its own,
but on Mars CO2 is frozen. Carbon dioxide exists on Mars as so-called dry ice, forming little caps on the north and south poles. So we would melt the frozen CO2 and it would then have a tendency to disperse and thicken the atmosphere, which would warm the planet. And that way water would appear, which currently does not exist in liquid form on Mars. Precisely. But that is a long way away. What is feasible for the year 2028? According to NASA timetables, by 2028 it will be possible for a small space station to be parked in Mars’ orbit, from which a small crew will continue with further exploration. Because they will be located directly above Mars, their reaction time will be significantly shorter. Today the distance between Earth and Mars means a reaction time of some 34 minutes. When a space station is directly above the planet, the delay will be much shorter, and this will allow us to control drones or small vehicles on the surface. Research will then progress faster. Is it really possible that two years later – in 2030 – someone will step onto the surface of Mars? More like in 2033 or 2034, because it will take a few years to select the ideal spot. At the moment the key challenges are to develop the technology that would protect people from radiation on the way to Mars, and then to develop a space ship that would be able to peel off from Mars and fly back to Earth. If we didn’t
mind people simply travelling there and dying, then we could probably do it today; getting the crew back is the big challenge. How realistic is the scenario presented in the film The Martian? Could Mars be colonised in the future to the extent that someone would grow crops there? It’s realistic, because the author [Andy Weir] of the book on which the film is based, as well as the film creators, discussed with NASA extensively the probability of what the film portrays. NASA itself rode the pop-culture wave and named its missions after those in the film. It’ll be a big boon for the popularisation of science – people will know the names of NASA missions from The Martian and say things like: ‘Really? Ares is flying there?’ Another thing is that the book doesn’t describe how the different space vehicles and modules would look, so the film creators turned to NASA for advice. NASA told them about the designs they are working on at the moment and what the space modules and vehicles could look like in the future. And that’s what they used in the film. That doesn’t usually happen with sci-fi films, does it? Not at all. This was highly unusual. Does it bother you to watch a sci-fi film and it’s embarrassingly unreal? It does. I’ve got a bit of a problem with this, sort of an occupational hazard, and I simply have to say to myself: ‘Right, today you’re watching something completely stupid, so you won’t think
about it and just enjoy the explosion scenes.’ Especially when a film shows something being blown up in outer space, with big flames and thunderous noise, I have to scream at the screen: ‘Nothing burns in outer space and there is no sound!!!’ In space it is as though you have turned off all sound – vacuum is a perfect insulator. Those of us who aren’t into science have some limited ideas about the future. What’s your vision? I think we’ll succeed in developing technologies and changing people’s thinking so we can be more considerate towards our planet, look after it more carefully and clean up our waste. And that we’ll become interplanetary beings and won’t be entirely dependent on staying on Earth. Which is logical, because at some point Earth will cease to exist. If we really want to move humanity forward, it would be appropriate to take relevant steps in space research as well as research into sustainability and renewable energies. People talk about conquering Mars while we bleed planet Earth dry. Does that seem paradoxical to you? No. The idea of ‘conquering’ outer space is deeply rooted in people’s psyche. I’m strongly opposed to it, because many people pit space research against environmental efforts to clean up our planet. Words like ‘conquer’ are not at all appropriate – it’s about taking a gentle peek at what it might look like out there. It is true, however, that technologies developed for space research often help to
clean and protect our planet. Few people know that. Could you give an example? Astronauts, for example, need a lot of help from technology to survive in space, so they can breathe and drink clean water. Water purification technologies that were developed for astronauts are now being used around the world and saving millions of lives that would otherwise have been lost to waterborne diseases. This would not have been possible without space technology. Also, I’m working on a 3D-printing method for long-term space missions that can be used here on Earth. It’s much more sustainable and produces less waste than conventional printing. Science, in my opinion, is all about helping people. In your opinion, how can science be made more popular? It’s important to create closer ties between science and pop culture – at the moment science is too distant. The film The Martian is an ideal example. It’s also important to create ties between our daily life and the world of space science, as well as any other area of science research. The problem is that this is not happening as a matter of course. Are we yet to discover something that will truly surprise us, in the way that our ancestors were surprised to learn that the Earth is round? Could we discover something about which we have no inkling? It’s a matter of articulating things and it’s also a philosophical question. Take our perception of colours, or anything in general – until
you have named something, you’re not aware that it exists. I think that the next two generations of space telescopes may reveal the existence of life beyond Earth. And that will be a whopper of a discovery, as it will go against religious thinking. Do you believe in extra-terrestrial life, in God or in both? Are they mutually exclusive? I don’t think they are exclusive of each other. In fact, the more you learn, the more it is perfectly natural to doubt rather than to be dogmatic in your beliefs. It’s a matter of choice, and I like to doubt things. In fact, I doubt ‘non-existence’. I can’t say that God exists, but I don’t rule out the possibility. I believe in a crazy jumble of deism, agnosticism and the philosophy of Immanuel Kant, and I try to find some meaning in it all. I think it’s perfectly natural to leave large questions open. Humanity’s need to believe in something is natural – the point is how deeply we want to anchor ourselves to our faith. How do you feel about the contradiction between eternity, presented to you daily by the infinite cosmos, and your own transience? I hope it won’t sound too esoteric, but I simply feel that I’m part of something bigger and that my effort is just one small step in the journey of our species. My attempt to help in our survival. One key thing I’ve learnt in my research of the cosmos is to be humble. In general we humans are too egotistical and we think we play a far bigger role than is the case. In reality we are nothing but a bit of dust on the periphery of our own galaxy. ■
We thank the COS store in Prague for lending us the clothes used in the photo shoot.
text: Jan Luka훾evi훾 photo: Jan Luka훾evi훾 and ESA
THE CZECH ACADEMY OF SCIENCES IS TAKING PART IN THREE EUROPEAN SPACE PROJECTS INVOLVING A NUMBER OF INTERNATIONAL PARTNERS. JAN EXPLAINS MORE. 25
EXOMARS 2020 DRAWN
Jan Lukačevič CHECKED
Upcoming missions to Mars are the highlight of current research of the Solar System. For several years scientists have been working on preparations for a visit and a possible colonisation of the Red Planet. But there is much we don’t know. Could there have been life on Mars? What are the conditions for human survival? These and other questions should be answered by the ExoMars 2020 mission. Instruments that will appear on the rover and landing platform are endowed with many superlatives: the longest drill, able to drill to a depth of two metres, or the first electric antenna to assess whether dust storms on Mars produce electrical discharge. The antenna, together with the Wave Analyser Module, is another contribution from the Czech Academy of Sciences. QA
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Jan Lukačevič CHECKED
SOLAR ORBITER 5
The Solar Orbiter mission organised by the European Space Agency in collaboration with NASA is an exciting project for the Czech Republic. The mission will include the Time Domain Sampler (TDS) currently being developed by the Institute of Atmospheric Physics of the Czech Academy of Sciences. The Sun is a source of vital energy but also the source of many problems, and solar wind can seriously damage various instruments and systems, including satellites and the electrical grid on Earth’s surface. The Solar Orbiter will study how the Sun creates and affects the heliosphere, the Sun’s broader atmosphere within the Solar System. In addition to developing the TDS, the Czech Republic will contribute to three other instruments in the mission.
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JUPITER ICY MOONS EXPLORER (JUICE) 4
Jan Lukačevič CHECKED
The Solar System’s largest planet and its 69 moons fascinate from a great distance. In 2020 the European interplanetary spacecraft JUICE will travel to the four largest of Jupiter’s moons – Ganymede, Callisto, Europa and Io – which have so far remained mostly a mystery. An instrument being developed by the Institute of Atmospheric Physics of the Czech Academy of Sciences for the JUICE explorer will study the functioning of Ganymede’s magnetic field. From all the bodies in our Solar System, Ganymede is most similar to Earth: beneath its icy crust an ocean of water hides a solid rock body with a molten metal core. It is likely that the core rotates and with its rotations creates a magnetic field, which could behave similarly to that of the Earth.
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partner for the article: BMW text: Hana Švolbová collage: Martin Poláček
HIGH PERFORMER MANY OF US HAVE A SECRET DREAM OF OWNING A CAR CAPABLE OF INCREDIBLE FEATS THAT WOULD BRING OUR LIFE A LITTLE CLOSER TO WHAT WE KNOW FROM ACTION-PACKED FILMS. AND NOW WE CAN, WITH A VEHICLE THAT COULD EASILY MORPH INTO ONE OF THE LEGENDARY TRANSFORMERS. ALTHOUGH THE BMW X2 IS NOT YET ABLE TO LAND PUNCHES OR RULE OVER INTERGALACTIC BATTLES, IT WILL CHANGE NOT ONLY THE LIFE OF ITS OWNER, BUT QUITE POSSIBLY THE ENTIRE AUTOMOBILE INDUSTRY.
Our comparison to the iconic Transformers may seem like a whimsical metaphor, but in some respects it is a real one. The BMW X2 is in a class of its own and brings a number of groundbreaking innovations to the BMW brand. In the X2 the designers for the Bavarian car manufacturer have delivered a package full of striking new features, a car with performance unmatched in its category. The X2 boasts a sporty exterior, an impressive interior and a range of innovative technologies that are sure to simplify your driving life. The vehicle’s gold colour, combined with steel silver, is yet another sign of its individuality. But that’s only the beginning, as we find out in three acts. Act one: the exterior. The X2’s trailblazing status is cemented by the car’s impressive proportions and radical body design: its sides resemble a sports car but the sloping roof line screams coupe. BMW’s emblem has been added to the rear side pillar, so no matter from which angle you see the car on the road, you know who you are dealing with. The car’s sporting ambitions are revealed in the light alloy wheels, which underscore the vehicle’s striking look. But perhaps the most striking angle of the entire vehicle is the front, where the classic BMW grille has been transformed. The massive air intake has been incorporated in the front bumper and ensures better cooling of the breaks and the motor. The designers allowed themselves a bit of fun by contrasting the sporty wings as they transition smoothly into the sills and refining the line of the boot while hiding the opening mechanism in the BMW emblem. The large, distinctly shaped rear, features symmetrical exhausts that hint at X2’s sporty performance. Act two: the interior. It’s clear from the interior that this is a dynamic sports car with a refined taste. Elegant panelling runs from the front compartment all the way to the boot space. The X2 looks after driver comfort with truly intuitive steering, and the double panoramic roof allows the driver to fully experience their surroundings and promises a fun ride for the rest of the crew.
LEFT: The BMW X2 has a combined fuel consumption of 6.3 – 4.5 l/100 km and combined CO2 emissions of 144 – 118 g/km. The X2 is available in six different motor options, both petrol and diesel.
Act three: technological innovation. At the moment the X2 is not intending to transform into a robotic hero and run through city streets – its extensive sensors and relays are there to provide maximum driver comfort. The car will connect with a telephone via the BMW Connected app, so you can send your planned trip in advance, take advantage of X2’s navigation system or share your coordinates when driving far from home. Thanks to the full-colour Head-Up Display, the most important information gets reflected on the front windscreen – directly in the driver’s line of sight. With key information fully in focus, it’s up to the driver to decide whether she will use her voice or fingers to control the navigation system or the car’s impressive entertainment features. ■
text: Ondřej Lipár styling: Adéla Kudrnová photo: Ondřej Lipár, archive of Crafting Plastics! studio / Evelyn Benčičová
NATURALLY FRAMED DO YOU RECOIL AT THE THOUGHT OF AN ITCHY WOOL CARDIGAN BUT RELISH IN THE LUXURY OF A SOFT CASHMERE SCARF? MANY FACTORS INFLUENCE HOW WE FEEL ABOUT A PARTICULAR MATERIAL – FROM AESTHETICS TO ETHICS TO SIMPLE SUBJECTIVITY. WHILE SOME MATERIALS EVOKE PLEASANT FEELINGS, OTHERS REPULSE. GOOD DESIGNERS CAN FULLY UNWRAP A MATERIAL SO THEY CAN USE IT TO ITS MAXIMUM POTENTIAL. THE CRAFTING PLASTICS! STUDIO IS EXPERIMENTING WITH BIOPLASTICS AND CREATING STRIKING EYEWEAR AND INTERIOR DÉCOR.
When Vlasta Kubušová and Miroslav Král walk into the main entrance of the Slovak Technical University (STU) in Bratislava, you can tell from their clothes that they don’t quite belong. But wait the few minutes it takes to run through a labyrinth of elevators and corridors and don a white laboratory coat, and the difference between designer and scientist is no longer evident. And that is how it should be, because Crafting Plastics! would not go far without the support of a large research institution like STU. But it all began in a completely different place. About eight years ago, while they were still students, Miroslav and Vlasta founded a not-for-profit organisation through which they tried to create new communication platforms. ‘At the time Bratislava had far fewer cultural projects than today,’ explains Vlasta. They rented a space where they set up an interactive gallery and began to organise different cultural events. One of these was a series of meetings based on the model of Creative Mornings – fast-paced morning debates with various thinkers. The morning series was so successful that it took the duo on the road, including to the Slovak music festival Pohoda. There they were hosted by professor Pavol Alexy, who had just gained a patent for his bioplastic. ‘We found the topic incredibly fascinating, and then he invited us to his lab,’ remembers Vlasta.
NEXT SPREAD: Miro and Vlasta move about their laboratory at the Slovak Technical University with confidence. They create bioplastic from several components that resemble baking ingredients and are not harmful, so they can be mixed with bare hands. The mixture is blended and melted in a machine, then cooled and granulated for further processing.
During their first conversation professor Alexy made a thought-provoking point. He said that when people hear that common plastics can be replaced with biological ones, they realise that one of humanity’s greatest challenges has been solved. But to bring the invention to the market, consumers need to become aware of it – and understand it. Historically people have had a conflicting relationship with plastics, and even in the plastics industry some people don’t know how it is made. ‘Even though I studied product and industrial design,’ says Vlasta, ‘as a student I saw plastics only as intermediate products.’ The fact that the manufacturing process tends to be hidden and people have no visceral relationship with the material fascinated Vlasta and Miroslav. The Slovak Technical University was interested in professor Alexy’s biodegradable bioplastic mainly for packaging purposes, but Vlasta and Miroslav wanted to explore other applications. That meant focussing on the composition of bioplastics, learning about the manufacturing process and getting up close and personal with a material made from cornstarch,
RIGHT: Filaments of the new generation bioplastic are died with natural pigments from seaweed or soil, or with food colouring. In contrast to the first collection of eyewear (featured bottom left), which was cut with a laser or a CNC machine from sheets of bioplastic, 3D printing generates 70% less waste. This makes the manufacturing process more ecological.
microorganisms and natural polymers. ‘At the beginning we knew nothing about the field,’ says Miroslav while moving confidently through the lab. ‘Only by being invited into professor Alexy’s lab and becoming comfortable with the material and the environment did we begin to understand how the different components fit together. If we hadn’t been given the opportunity to play, nothing would have come of it.’ Students at technical universities like STU are usually discouraged from experimenting with materials to the extent that the design duo was able to do. ‘At the beginning we did not create objects that could be mass-produced. That’s the focus of technical researchers – creating things that could be used straight away in industrial production.’ Vlasta and Miroslav worked in the same environment as their technical university colleagues, but in a different way. They played. A lot. In time they became confident with the environment and the material and realised that play is a fantastic way to work – creative and often bringing inspiring results. And that is one of the reasons why they decided to create something real. ‘Something that people would really use – not just some art-design piece – but something that could be made in a series of at least 100 pieces. But, to make the technical side of product development possible, our material needed specific properties.’ The university did not have an expert who could assist with further development of the bioplastic, but it was very open to helping the duo find new avenues through their own research and development. In the end Vlasta went to study at the Universität der Künste Berlin [Berlin College of Fine Arts]. Her Masters project focussed on biodegradable materials, but she did not limit herself to products, instead exploring broader possibilities for positive ecological shifts. Together with Verena Michels, a fashion design student, Vlasta decided that one way to imprint value onto an ephemeral material would be through fashion. And that is how the first collection of eyewear was born. Today Vlasta and Miroslav work not only on product design, but also on improving the properties of the bioplastic so it would have wider applications in everyday life. This can involve changing the ratios of different ingredients, bringing in a new additive or finding a different way of processing. For example, their second collection of eyewear is being made with a 3D printer. To make printing possible the bioplastic has to first be extruded into a long plastic filament of a specific diameter. The 3D printer melts the filament and applies the bioplastic, layer by layer, until a pair of frames is made. It sounds like something from the future, but this future has already arrived. ■
NEXT SPREAD: Experimentation with the uses of bioplastic has not ended with eyewear. Vlasta, Miroslav and their team are exploring bioplastic furniture and home accessories. After all, the material can take on many forms, textures and colours.
RIGHT: The Pearl frames were dyed with a soil pigment called Bohemian Earth. The studio has refined the bioplastic material to hold its form well up to a temperature of 110 °C. This makes the material particularly well suited for making eyeglass frames, but it can also be used in more common applications like injection moulding and 3D printing.
OUR WORK HAS LED US TO SEARCH FOR IMPROVED PROPERTIES AND BETTER USES OF BIOPLASTICS. IN THE END IT’S ABOUT FINDING A WAY TO MOTIVATE PEOPLE TO MAKE A CHANGE IN THEIR CONSUMPTION HABITS. 48
THIS SPREAD: The Lab frames were dyed with seaweed pigments, which enabled a collaboration with Portuguese researchers. All models made by Crafting Plastics! so far are made only from bioplastic â€“ no additional materials are used, making the frames fully compostable. The frames feature the studioâ€™s signature V cut on the front.
THIS SPREAD: The designers turned to Kickstarter to finance their project. The video for the fundraising campaign was shot in Berlin and Bratislava. â€˜We want to create universal designs that will suit adventurous souls of all shapes, ages and colours,â€™ says the duo behind Crafting Plastics!
text and styling: Adéla Kudrnová
ONE OF THE TRENDS FOR 2018 IS CLEAR – THERE WILL BE MANY FURNISHINGS AND HOME ACCESSORIES ON SHOW INSPIRED BY THE GENTLE HUE OF CYCLAMEN FLOWERS. MAUVE IS THIS SEASON’S COLOUR. IS IT YOURS? 1 · Rebus Sneakers, www.hermes.com, $1,075 | 2 · Coin Purse, theunseenemporium.co.uk, £300 | 3 · Dress from Autumn/Winter Collection, www.yuimanakazato.com, price upon request | 4 · Formma Vase, www.llev.cz, from 5,500 Kč | 5 · Heart Wood 10YR 28/072 Dulux Colour of The Year 2018, www.dulux.cz, price upon amount | 6 · Orbital Pendant, design deFORM, www.bomma.cz, 28,314 Kč | 7 · Collector’s Wooden Toys Zahumny, www.mydve.com, price upon request | 8 · Platform Tray, www.muuto.com, €59
Homes of the Future
partner for the article: Smart Spaces text: Kristýna Svobodová photo: Smart Spaces archives
THE HOME OF THE FUTURE IS LIKELY TO BE BEAUTIFUL AND SMART. NEW TECHNOLOGIES WRAPPED IN DESIGNER SKINS WILL RESONATE WITH SOPHISTICATED SYSTEMS OF INTELLIGENT HOMES THAT WILL DO THE THINKING FOR YOU. WHETHER YOU NEED TO REMOTELY TURN OFF THE IRON, HEAT THE HOUSE BEFORE GETTING HOME, OR PREPARE FOR THE PERFECT EVENING WITH FRIENDS, A SMART HOME WILL SAVE YOU TIME AND HELP YOU AVOID STRESS. IN THE WORDS OF VLADIMÍR DZURENDA, THE OWNER OF SMART SPACES, THE SMART HOME OF THE FUTURE WILL BE ABOUT FEWER WORRIES AND MORE SPACE TO ENJOY.
Homes of the Future
‘SMART HOME as a concept means different things to different people,’ explains Vladimír Dzurenda. For some it is installing dimmers and for others it is controlling home devices remotely. Dzurenda’s company Smart Spaces focuses on integrated smart solutions for the whole household – everything from lighting and dimming to security and heating systems, as well as systems for external facilities such as a swimming pool, garage or the garden. The extent of each project is tailored to customer needs and their budget and makes it possible to add upgrades and broaden functionalities later. The company’s solutions include audio and video equipment made by the Danish company Bang Olufsen, which Smart Spaces represents in the Czech Republic. An example of smart technology made by the Danish company is a TV remote control that can lower blinds and dim lights. FLEXIBILITY is about being able to respond to a wide range of smart living needs, from a single-family residence to a hotel complex and everything in between. Smart Spaces works not only on custom-made solutions for existing buildings; the company also collaborates with architects and developers before construction begins. That is the best time to plan for smart living solutions, as building a smart home from the ground up is more cost-effective and efficient than retrofitting individual components. For example, traditional wiring does not facilitate connection for smart systems, so it usually has to be redone. ‘At the moment we are working with two developers. With Oaks Prague we are working on three hundred apartments and a driving range and with KKCG Real Estate on ninety apartments in the top’rezidence Pomezí development. In both projects we are installing basic intelligent systems that individual clients will be able to upgrade according to their needs,’ explains Dzurenda the concept of an ideal project. THE FUTURE promises great returns from smart living investments. ‘Technologies are becoming faster, from cloud-based sharing through to remote control via mobile devices,’
Homes of the Future
PREVIOUS SPREAD AND THESE PAGES: Mr. Fiala’s home is a showcase of Smart Spaces capabilities – it features a comprehensive control system for lights and shades and a Bang & Olufsen television and speakers. The house also includes a home theatre in which the projector is connected to the window shade control system through Lutron technology, which Smart Spaces also represents.
describes Dzurenda. ‘This year’s Consumer Electronics Show featured voice-controlled devices and we included one such device from the Bang Olufsen portfolio in our product range. I believe that these technologies are the future of home living and developers should embrace this trend.’ When thinking about the future, Smart Spaces does not limit itself by focussing on big development projects. ‘We have a broad price range and can offer simple solutions that can be later upgraded. I am aware that for the middle-income bracket a smart home solution is a big investment, and so we start by creating the basic infrastructure. In this way our service is compatible with solutions offered by other companies and ensures that customers are not bound to one specific provider. We believe that our approach and comprehensive service speak for themselves.’ SIMPLICITY is at the core of the Smart Spaces philosophy, one that ensures an intuitive organisation of everyday functions. For example, lighting for a multipurpose space – such as an open plan kitchen/dining/living room – can be pre-programmed on several settings: a dinner setting, where mostly the table is lit, or a home theatre setting, which dims all lights at once. These settings can be changed easily with the help of a central control panel. Customers are also requesting intelligent heating solutions with thermal sensors, which can be controlled remotely on an iPad. The planned Oaks Prague apartments present another practical example of how smart living will become easy living: blinds connected to a nearby meteorological station will close automatically during high winds. Vladimír Dzurenda shares countless other examples – from security systems that simulate occupancy when a house is vacant to automatically turning off a power socket if an iron is accidentally left on. ■
For more information visit www.smartspaces.cz.
text: Helena Novotná photo: Michaela Karásek Čejková and Shutterstock
BEACON IN THE SKY
A FEATURE ON JEŠTĚD MAY SEEM LIKE AN ODD CHOICE IN AN ISSUE FOCUSSED ON THE FUTURE. WHY DID WE CHOOSE THE INTERIOR OF A TELEVISION TOWER BUILT IN THE LATE 1960s RATHER THAN A CURRENT FUTURISTIC PROJECT? BECAUSE JEŠTĚD IS TIMELESS. CONSIDERED ONE OF THE MOST DISTINCTIVE EXAMPLES OF TWENTIETH CENTURY ARCHITECTURE IN CZECHIA, THIS HOTEL-CUM-TELEVISION TRANSMITTER IS AN ICON THAT REACHES FAR BEYOND ITS TIME.
The foundation stone of the Ještěd tower was laid only some fifty years ago, yet it feels like the building has always been there. A strange notion to have about a building that appears incredibly modern. The building’s futuristic design and innovative construction capture perfectly the atmosphere and the aesthetics of the 1960s. Combining a hotel with a television tower would be a daring act even today, but the architect Karel Hubáček, one of the founding members of the SIAL architecture studio in Liberec, was always a maverick. In 1963 he responded to an architectural tender for two buildings that were to replace a burnt-down hut at the summit of Ještěd: a television transmitter and a hotel. Whether Hubáček breached the conditions of the tender by designing only one building, not two, is up for debate, either way he thoroughly impressed the progressive selection committee. His design was not only original; it also best utilised the limited space. The extreme conditions of a mountaintop site presented challenges from the very beginning, and to address these the brilliant engineer Zdeněk Patrman joined the team. Patrman collaborated with the Mathematics Institute of the Czech Academy of Sciences on carrying out the stress analysis of the design. One unexpected challenge was the swaying of the building in strong winds, which became apparent during construction. Patrman resolved this by incorporating into the design a 600 kilogram ballast weight and an oscillation damper.
LEFT: All the rooms in Hotel Ještěd are bathed in light and the beautiful view is obscured only by bad weather. Two rooms have kept their original furnishings, with the nightstand and the bed built from the modular H-form designed by Otakar Binar. The air conditioning unit from the late 1960s may not meet our current expectations, but that does not diminish its charm.
Named after the mountain atop which it sits, from a distance Ještěd more closely resembles a television transmitter than a hotel. Its circular floor plan, silver outer layer and tall antenna blend into the surrounding landscape. But as soon as you walk inside you find yourself in another world. Futuristic? Retro? Adjectives abound. At the reception visitors are greeted by the clean lines of a suspended staircase leading to an upper level that houses a restaurant, a café, a bar and a lounge. The journey up the stairs features one of several works of art found at the hotel – the cosmic Spád meteoritů [Meteorite Shower], a sculpture created by the Czech glass artists Stanislav Libenský and Jaroslava Brychtová. The massive glass and concrete ‘meteorites’ decorate the shaft of the television antenna, which hides behind the central wall of the hotel. A second staircase, connecting the reception area to the hotel rooms, is also decorated in an unusual way – its wall is panelled with undulating white tiles of varying sizes made of ceramic material used for insulating high voltage power lines. The ceramic
panelling, which has never needed any repairs during the hotel’s fifty-year existence, extends to the corridor leading to individual hotel rooms. The creators of the decorative panelling were the artists Marie Rychlíková, Lydie Hladíková and Děvana Mírová. To design the interior, Karel Hubáček approached the architect Otakar Binar, his friend and colleague. Binar created a true Gesamkunstwerk in which he resolved everything to the finest of details. As products and materials were limited in Czechoslovakia at the time, Binar had no other options but to design many furnishings himself – and then to find someone to make them. To this day the door handles and light fittings are all original, but the furniture has not been so lucky. Over the years much of it was sold or even given away, particularly during the ‘wild’ 1990s. A story goes that the white leather armchairs from the hotel lounge were piled in the hotel’s parking lot. Consequently, much of the hotel has new furnishings. Only two rooms remain in original condition, the aptly named ‘retro’ rooms. Their original fittings include the lighting and air conditioning systems, as well as the so-called H-forms. The H-form was a basic construction piece shaped as the letter H that served as the basis for all other furniture: coffee tables, beds and even shelving wall units. H-forms were made from wood and painted black so they would fit better with the room décor. Another striking and playful Otakar Binar legacy can be found in the ceramic-panelled corridor, where oval chairs hanging from chains – nicknamed eggs – await. The chairs have been reupholstered several times and their metal frames were recently restored. From time to time someone arrives at the hotel claiming they have, in their attic or cellar, part of the original furnishings. And so some pieces have returned to the hotel, though usually needing major repairs. Today the hotel expends more energy on having complete replicas made based on Binar’s original designs. Construction of Ještěd took seven long years: the actual transmitter was completed only after the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1968 and the hotel welcomed its first guests in 1973. Yet in 1969, well before the doors opened, the unfinished beacon was awarded the prestigious Auguste Perret Prize by the International Union of Architects – a true honouring of the building’s uniqueness and quality. Some fifty years ago Karel Hubáček envisaged Ještěd as a building for future generations. The beacon has become an unmistakeable symbol of the Liberec region, and since 1998 a national historic landmark of the Czech Republic. Today all fourteen rooms as well as the restaurant are open for business, tempting many, not just lovers of architecture. ■
RIGHT: The small orange armchair resting in the ceramic corridor is an Otakar Binar signature piece. It features the unmistakable H shape that Binar used in furnishing the rooms. The ornate metal grate reflected in the mirror stands in stark contrast to the gleaming white tiles on the walls. The grate was made by the artist Jaroslav Klápště who assembled it from the metal parts of old agricultural wagons.
ELEMENTS RESTAURANT PRAGUE Located in the President Hotel Prague, the new restaurant Elements offers modern Italian cuisine, characterised by its freshness and simplicity. Careful selection and combination of flavours are the key ‘elements’ shaping an exceptional culinary experience within an ambience of perfect interior design. www.elementsrestaurant.cz
The President Hotel Prague Náměstí Curieových 1/100 110 00 Praha 1
text: Helena Stiessová styling: Lenka Hlaváčová photo: Michaela Karásek Čejková
PRACTICALLY EVERYONE WHO WAS SCHOOLED IN CZECHIA WOULD REMEMBER THE LESSON ON THE ORIGINS OF THE WORD ROBOT – NOT BECAUSE CZECH SCHOOLS PAY PARTICULAR ATTENTION TO ETYMOLOGY, BUT BECAUSE THE WORD IS SO UTTERLY CZECH. ROBOT WAS BORN IN A STUDIO OF A HOUSE LOCATED IN PRAGUE’S LESSER TOWN, SOMEWHERE BETWEEN A PAINTER’S EASEL AND A WRITER’S DESK, WHERE IN THE EARLY 1900s THE TALENTED BROTHERS JOSEF AND KAREL ČAPEK CREATED WORKS OF WORLD RENOWN.
LEFT: Wind-up toy robots enjoyed their heyday in the 1950s and today they are rediscovering their popularity. They are completely ‘retro’ in their depiction of how people imagined an artificial being at the time of their making: a machine with hydraulics and notably stilted movements. The one-time toy has now become a collectible for futurism enthusiasts.
A word was needed for Karel Čapek’s new play, which was ultimately named R.U.R, Rossum’s Universal Robots. It was a work of science fiction that featured artificial beings made of flesh and bones who were at first glance indistinguishable from real people but who lacked feelings. They were created to do people’s work, and this was to be reflected in their name. As the story goes Karel looked to Latin to find a name, but he did not like the Czech derivation laboři from the Latin labor. Frustrated, he barged into the studio next door where his brother Josef was working on a canvas, and blurted out his creative impasse. To this Josef simply mouthed roboti through the paintbrush he was holding in his teeth. It was 1920. Josef derived robot from the word robota, a term that originally described the work that serfs did for their feudal masters, but had come to mean any kind of hard menial work. The word robot not only beautifully encompassed the notion of doing someone else’s work; it was also graphically nimble and clean, with no diacritical marks common to Czech. The new word had its stage premier in January 1921 and before long entered global vocabulary. In the play Čapek shrewdly explored the erratic nature of humans as well as humanity’s concerns over technological progress, a subject that equally worried and fascinated the author against the backdrop of a world awakening from the horrors of a war in which technology had played a major part. R.U.R. set the stage for the classic science fiction plotline in which machines defy their creators and bring the human race to its knees. It also foreshadowed the direction in which artificial intelligence would evolve – towards robots looking so human you could confuse them with your neighbour. Humanity’s quest to create someone or something that would save time and do our ‘boring’ work lives on. Today countless robots save our lives, keep us company, discover new planets and keep a cool head when we would falter. One word with countless permutations the brothers Čapek could never have imagined. A fascinating story so far, with no end in sight. ■
Deelive Design Store Smetanovo nábřeží 334/4 110 00 Prague 1 Czech Republic monday – sunday / 10 – 20 www.deelive.cz www.facebook.com/deelivedesign @deelive_design
LIVING CZECH DESIGN
partner for the article: Prague Prague City Hall, Smart Prague, Operator ICT text: Hana Švolbová illustration: Kristýna Šťastná / Nydrle creative agency
CAN YOU IMAGINE YOUR LIFE WITHOUT SMART GADGETS? COULD YOU DO WITHOUT YOUR PHONE, TABLET, E-READER OR LAPTOP? MOST OF US CANNOT FATHOM MANAGING OUR BUSY LIVES WITHOUT SMART TOOLS. CITIES AROUND THE WORLD ARE RECOGNISING OUR COLLECTIVE DEPENDENCE ON SMART TECHNOLOGIES AND ARE WORKING HARD TO SIMPLIFY AND IMPROVE THE EXPERIENCE OF LIVING IN AND MOVING THROUGH THE URBAN SPACE. JOIN US ON A DISCOVERY OF THE SMART SOLUTIONS BEING READIED BY THE CITY OF PRAGUE.
Not that long ago we watched the evening news on television, wrote out the timetable for our daily commute into a paper diary and charged our mobile phones before we left home – just in case. Today much of the information we require is instantly at our fingertips and immediate access to a source of energy is not far behind. Targeted utilisation of smart technologies has become a specific focus for Prague City Hall, and its smartprague.eu website contains information about existing smart solutions as well as plans for the next two decades. Smart Prague technologies are an initiative of the current leadership at Prague City Hall, whose aim it is to have Prague join the ranks of other innovative cities around the world. In the future we can look forward to pleasant office spaces, safe city streets and the ability to quickly check traffic updates, air quality or noise levels. The city will ensure that our children’s journey to school is safe, there is swift assistance for senior residents, and tourists are welcomed with friendly and efficient services. In its future planning the city has considered not only the needs of residents and visitors, but also the needs of the urban environment, the need for the smooth functioning of the city’s integrated life-saving system, and last but not least, the need to lower costs. Some of the city’s smart projects are already being piloted, with the area around Karlín Square testing the status of a pioneering smart neighbourhood. Have you already sat on a park bench powered by solar panels? Today you can use it to charge your phone or connect to the internet, and other functions await in the future. A planned network of smart lighting will ensure that streetlights are regulated in conjunction with traffic flow; light poles will incorporate sensors for measuring traffic density and include charging facilities for electric vehicles. An electric car-sharing scheme is also planned. What of public transport? In the future we will ride trams powered by photovoltaic cells and enjoy a simplified payment system. And innovative solar-powered rubbish bins will bring an end to overflowing rubbish along Prague streets. The tested rubbish bins compress rubbish on site, requiring less frequent emptying than conventional ones, and their built-in sensors inform the waste management company when they need to be emptied. Visitors to Prague will be able to use the Prague Visitor Guide app, which uses an engaging interface – including a geolocation game – to introduce tourists to interesting places in and outside of Prague. Locals, on the other hand, can enjoy the Moje Praha [My Prague] app. ■ For more information about Smart Prague visit smartprague.eu.
Every city is a large source of data, and Prague is no exception. The Prague data platform will collect, analyse and share data for the benefit of the city, its residents and businesses. The platform will provide up-to-date information about traffic, public transport, air quality, available parking and many other areas of interest, and some of the data will be available for the development of mobile applications. The data will be provided by various city companies and offices, and utilised, among others, by the cityâ€™s integrated life-saving system. Academics have been involved in the development of the platform, which is slated for release in 2018.
Electric vehicles are the future of travel and electro mobility is one of the main themes being explored by large cities, Prague included. The city is planning to develop a network of electric car charging stations for both fast and medium charging time. The first such charging station will be sited near KarlĂn Square and other stations will follow at strategic locations including P+R parking lots and key city streets. By the end of 2019 Prague plans to have installed some sixty charging stations. In addition, the Smart Prague 2030 strategic vision includes plans for an electric car share programme.
KEEPING ENERGY USE IN CHECK
Many households would welcome the opportunity to review their ongoing energy use in order to avoid unpleasant surprises after end of year readings. In 2018 the VrtbovskĂ˝ Palace residential building owned by the city will become a pilot site for a new digital system for ongoing monitoring of electricity, gas and water use. All information about usage will be available through a web platform. The pilot project should encourage more efficient energy use and help residents lower their utility costs. Digital readings will also avoid errors that can occur with manual readings and assist in resolving disputes over levels of usage.
VIRTUAL PUBLIC TRANSPORT CARD
Daily travel to and within Prague via public transport should become significantly easier in 2018 with the introduction of a virtual version of the Prague Public Transit Company’s travel card known as Lítačka. Thanks to a new mobile application and the ability to add purchased fare to other cards in their wallet – such as a debit or a credit card – travellers will no longer need to carry the green Lítačka card nor purchase paper tickets or prepaid fare coupons. The consolidation of various payment methods and applications to make travel for work and fun easier is a major development for Czechia’s main metropolis.
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text: Patrik Florián photo: Ecocapsule archive
IMAGINE A STYLISH EGG-SHAPED LIVING SPACE YOU CAN TAKE TO THE BEACH, THE MOUNTAINS, THE ROOF OF A SKYSCRAPER OR THE PLACE WHERE YOU WANT TO SETTLE PERMANENTLY. A SLOVAK ARCHITECTURAL DUO HAS DESIGNED JUST THAT. THE 8.2 SQUARE METRE CAPSULE MANAGES TO FIT A KITCHEN, BATHROOM, COMFORTABLE FOLD-OUT BED, WORK DESK AND STORAGE SPACE. TO LEARN ABOUT THE INITIAL IDEA BEHIND THE ECOCAPSULE, THE FIRST PROTOTYPE AND THE DESIGNERS’ AMBITIONS, SOFFA SPOKE WITH SOŇA POHLOVÁ AND TOMÁŠ ŽÁČEK, CREATORS OF PERHAPS THE SMALLEST DESIGNER LIVING SPACE IN THE WORLD.
Where did your idea for Ecocapsule originate and how was it developed? Soňa: The story begins in 2008, when as the architectural duo Nice Architects we took part in the Andes Sprout Society Competition. Our task was to design a small cottage for a farm and so we created something shaped like an egg. While we didn’t win, the Inhabitat portal included our design among the best project ideas of the year. That led to strong public interest and so we decided to continue with the idea. Tomáš: Since there was nothing similar on the market we faced many challenges, but as architects we are used to improvising and addressing problems head on. Over the next five years we worked on the design and with the help of our team and with scientific and technological advancements we have been able to create our first prototype. Although a lot has changed over the years, our goal has been clear from the beginning – to design a beautiful, mobile, offthe-grid micro-home. Ecocapsule is more than a hightech designer egg. How many compromises stand behind a revolutionary design that aims to have a minimal impact on the environment? Is the capsule ecological in its manufacture and disposal? Tomáš: From the beginning we wanted the capsule to have the lowest possible ecological impact, both in production and in use. Our main priority is functionality and for this reason we chose fibreglass as the exterior material. Although fibreglass did not have a good reputation as a recyclable in
the past, today there are companies that specialise in repurposing fibreglass – for example in concrete manufacturing. Fibreglass is also extremely durable and long-lasting, guaranteeing Ecocapsule’s longevity for dozens of years. I think that a product’s longevity is key when thinking about its ecological impact. Still, we’d like to experiment with other materials in the future. Did you try it out first-hand? Soňa: Yes, we spent many days in the first prototype. We ate there, slept there, worked there and rested there, testing the space during all seasons. What kind of maintenance does it require? Soňa: The entire capsule was designed for users to do most mechanical repairs themselves. The water filters need to be changed on an interval of three months to a year, depending on the quality of the water used. You also have to change the batteries, roughly once in eight years. We are currently developing a network of partners who could, in addition to distribution, provide a complete maintenance service. For transport you have developed a special trailer to hitch to a car, resulting in one of the most modern caravans in the world. Are you planning other add-ons? Soňa: Definitely – the Ecocapsule concept is made for new design features. At the moment we are working on expanding the solar panels and in the near future we plan to introduce an Ecocapsule on a pontoon, which will function as a small houseboat.
PREVIOUS SPREAD: Ecocapsule is designed to fit into a shipping container, in which it can be transported anywhere in the world. Its rounded shape helps with rainwater collection and minimises heat loss. Thanks to floor heating, the micro-home stays comfortable in the winter. It is expected that Ecocapsule’s second generation will include low-energy air conditioning and more solar panels.
Over the past year we have focused mainly on our business strategy and production, so we can’t wait to get stuck into new creative planning. Where are you in terms of production and sales? Will we soon see Ecocapsules in the mountains or on the beech? Soňa: We’ve started to make the first limited edition series, and in the first quarter of 2018 we’ll be delivering Ecocapsules to our first customers. We are also getting orders for the second generation, which should be priced lower and distributed worldwide. Tomáš: Although we didn’t meet our original plan of delivering the first capsule by the end of 2017, we think it’s better to wait a little and fine-tune all the details. We would like to begin larger scale production by the end of this year. Your first customers are promised custom-made Ecocapsules. Where will the very first capsule go, and what were the most interesting customisation requests? Tomáš: At the end of January we are shipping the first capsule to Japan. Soňa: Most customers have reasonable requests. They mainly focus on the colour of the eggshell or material choice for the interior. One customer has requested a gold-coloured egg.
and were inspired by their lifestyles. At first we thought of the Ecocapsule as seasonal accommodation, but during the development phase we were approached by people interested in it for permanent living. Nothing prevents this from a practical standpoint – the capsule can be connected to electricity and water systems for long-term use. It’s all a matter of thoughtful planning and, considering the limited space, one has to be a minimalist. What’s the future of the Ecocapsule? What other functions, besides recreational, can it fill? Tomáš: It can be used in many places. Today we are focussing on selling to individuals and companies, but we can already promise that some resorts and small islands will offer our micro-homes next to their regular accommodation. They can also serve as mobile offices, sales points or accommodation in national parks. Soňa: They can also serve as accommodation for search and rescue workers or contact points for clean water and electricity. And we are interested in seeing what additional uses our customers dream up. ■ For more information about the project visit www.ecocapsule.sk.
Ecocapsule is well suited for short-term or medium-term use. Do you think someone could use it permanently? Soňa: The interesting thing about the project is that we’ve been communicating with potential customers since the beginning. We listened to their ideas
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partner for the article: Nike concept: Ester Geislerová, Josefína Bakošová and Soffa text & styling: Patrik Florián photo: Michaela Karásek Čejková make-up & hair: Kateřina Koki Mlejnková models: Ferenc, Mária, Bruno Fidelio, Stella Ginger, Mia Rosa, Jan Etienne, Františka, Antonie, Thea, Matyáš, Johan
ALPHABET OF STYLE
LET’S RUN THROUGH THE ALPHABET: A IS FOR AIRMAX, B IS FOR BALENCIAGA, C IS FOR CHANEL, D IS FOR DIOR. NOT CATCHING ON? THEN IT’S TIME TO RETURN TO THE CLASSROOM. WHERE ELSE WOULD YOU LEARN WHAT’S IN RIGHT NOW? WHEN THINKING ABOUT THE FUTURE OF FASHION, SOFFA TURNED TO YOUNGSTERS – TOMORROW’S TRENDSETTERS. WELCOME TO A WORLD WITH NO RULES OR DIFFERENCES, A WORLD WHERE FASHION IS MORE UNPREDICTABLE AND DARING THAN EVER BEFORE. WELCOME TO A PLANET RULED BY GENERATION Z.
RIGHT: Ferenc: coat, pants, shirt, all from Henrik Vibskov; The Room By Basmatee | glasses, Žilka Optik Studio Mária: dress, LaFormela | jacket, H&M | boots, handbag and accessories, all from Dior NEXT SPREAD: Františka, Antonie and Mia: dresses and handbags, all from Dior | shoes, Nike
ABOVE: Jan: sweatpants, sweatshirt, backpack, all from Dolce&Gabbana | shoes, Nike Johan: sweatpants and sweatshirt, both from H&M | cap, Dolce&Gabbana | shoes, Converse LEFT: Bruno: pants, Henrik Vibskov; The Room By Basmatee | sweater, Andersen-Andersen; glasses, Yamamoto; Å½ilka Optik Studio
LEFT: Stella: body and tulle wrap, both from Zuzana Kubíčková | shoes, Converse Mia: dress, Zuzana Kubíčková | shoes, Converse Mária: skirt and top, both from Zuzana Kubíčková | shoes, H&M
Not long ago wearing sports shoes with an evening dress was taboo, and now we awake to a world in which normcore is chic and Nike’s new limited edition generates the same excitement as Dior’s latest collection. Instagram is the most influential guide on what’s in, allowing the hippest outfit a lifespan of a few seconds. And what of tomorrow’s fashion? Nanomaterials, wearables and smart technologies will stand shoulder to shoulder with tradition, craft and slow fashion. There are few rules, and what rules there may be are changing so fast it’s impossible to keep up. But one thing is for sure: children will always play dress up and their parents’ wardrobe will be their playground. Do you remember the day you used your mother’s lipstick for the first time or when your father taught you how to tie a perfect knot? The day when a little girl became a lady and an awkward boy a man? It’s a bit different today. Mums no longer want an Alessandro Michele jacket only for themselves – they want their daughter to match – and they buy men’s D&G moccasins in two sizes at once: 29 and 44. It’s hard to say whether children have become fashion mavens thanks to their parents or thanks to the influence of social media. Children like the seven-year-old Japanese fashion icon Coco (@Coco_pinkprincess), who has endeared viewers with her brand of casual Harajuku elegance. Or Ivan (@thegoldenfly), the son of fashion designer Natasha Zinko, who with his mother has created their first joint collection for Harrods. These children don’t care which sports shoes are for outside play, assuming they are not thinking about the latest Yeezys, which they’ll wear to meet their equally stylish friends. Where? At the playground or the front row of the spring fashion show? It’s no surprise that luxury brands are courting youngsters while still in their prams. Today’s children are tomorrow’s customers and being hip across generations is simply in. Turning our attention back from the world of luxury fashion and mini influencers, we realise that not much has changed in our classrooms and school yards, even if Barbies have been replaced by smart phones, and YouTubers and street wear culture rule as early as the first grade. That’s because our youngsters are also returning to home-grown culture, traditions and craft, thinking about sustainability and promoting individuality. No matter in which direction our young trendsetters set the course of fashion, we must remember to teach them the most important lesson: what matters most is what’s on the inside! ■ For their help with this fashion story we thank Ferenc, Mária, Bruno, Stella, Mia, Jan, Matyáš, Johan, Františka, Antonie and Thea, and their mothers Lela Geislerová, Aňa Geislerová, Ester Geislerová, Josefína Bakošová and Lucie Václavková.
ABOVE: Antonie: top, Roseanna; Space Prague | earrings, Dior
RIGHT: Františka: glasses, Lindberg; Žilka Optik Studio | sweater, Isabel Marant Étoile; Space Prague | skirt, H&M | shoes, Nike Johan: pants, Henrik Vibskov; The Room By Basmatee | sweater, Dries Van Noten; Space Prague | shoes, Nike
ABOVE: Mia: top and shorts, both from Dior | glasses, Matsuda; Žilka Optik Studio | shoes, Nike Matyáš: pants, shirt, vest, shoes and accessories, all from Dior LEFT: Mia: body and tulle wrap, both from Zuzana Kubíčková
PREVIOUS SPREAD: Thea: top and boots, both from Dior | socks, model’s own Františka: t-shirt, Nike | skirt, LaFormela Antonie: top, Zuzana Kubíčková | earrings, Dior Mia: body and tulle wrap, both from Zuzana Kubíčková | shoes, Converse LEFT: Jan: pants, t-shirt, shoes, all from Nike | jacket, Henrik Vibskov; The Room By Basmatee Matyáš: t-shirt, jacket, shoes and socks, all from Nike | pants, H&M Johan: hat, Humanoid; Space Prague | t-shirt, Nike | pants, H&M | shoes, Converse Mia: sweatshirt, sweatpants and shoes; all from Nike
PREVIOUS PAGE: Stella: pants, H&M | top, LaFormela | jacket, Isabel Marant Étoile; Space Prague Jan: pants, Nike | jacket, H&M 108
ABOVE: Mia: dress and shoes, both from Hermès | hat, Sofya Samareva Matyáš: top, pants and coat, all from Hermès | shoes and socks, both from Nike
LEONIE VAN DER HEIJDEN
The Amsterdam-based food stylist Leonie van der Heijden has a passion for colour, a great sense of humour and a talent to visualise the extraordinary. Leonie loves to experiment with opposing styles, making her work varied and playful. Her quirky ability to visualise concepts and compose fresh ideas combines with her skilful use of materials to create diverse and provocative images in the field of food and design. www.leonievanderheijden.com +31 (0)6 37 45 42 38 firstname.lastname@example.org
text: Petra Pospěchová model: Mirte Twaalfhoven concept and styling: Leonie van der Heijden photo: Olivia Pizzale-Bryce
BEYOND THE GROWTH CURVE
SUSTAINABILITY, SELF-RELIANCE, WASTE REDUCTION AND ETHICS – THESE ARE THE THEMES THAT WILL GUIDE OUR RELATIONSHIP WITH FOOD IN THE FUTURE. LONG DOMINATED BY THE MAXIMS OF TECHNOLOGICAL PROGRESS AND GROWTH, FOOD PRODUCTION IS UNDERGOING A MARKED SHIFT IN FOCUS – FROM QUANTITY TO QUALITY – AND THIS SHIFT IS SET TO CONTINUE. IN THE FUTURE ) EVEN THE SCIENCE OF FOOD, INCLUDING GENETIC MODIFICATION OF KEY INGREDIENTS, WILL BE DRIVEN MORE BY ETHICAL THAN PRACTICAL CONSIDERATIONS.
In 1991, in her seminal work Ancient Futures, Helena Norberg-Hodge wrote: ‘It seems to me that Western society today is moving in two distinct and opposing directions. On the one hand, mainstream culture led by government and industry moves relentlessly toward continued economic growth and technological development, straining the limits of nature… On the other hand, a counter-current … has kept alive the ancient understanding that all life is inextricably connected.’ The Swedish environmental activist foretold of a trend that would emerge some twenty years after the publication of her book, a trend that has greatly influenced the world of food and is likely to continue to shape its future. We live in a remarkable time, a time in which developments in the food industry are increasingly defined through ethics and ecology and in which ethics and ecology are beginning to dictate the direction of technological progress. Several economic and demographic developments have made this situation possible – developments that have radically changed our relationship with food. Perhaps the most significant of these was an increase in affluence in advanced economies, thanks to which most people no longer face scarcity of food – what they now face is choice. Two other factors that have significantly influenced our relationship with food are improved access to education and globalisation.
ABOVE AND RIGHT: The images for this story grew out of a collaborative project between the visual artist Leonie van der Heijden and the photographer Olivie Pizzale-Bryce for the Amsterdam-based Artemis Academy. Like genetics, 3D printing is likely to make a significant impact on the future of food.
While in the 1950s the future of food was framed with adjectives like ‘more’, ‘longer-lasting’ and ‘filling’, today’s vocabulary is diametrically different. Quantity is no longer relevant for the average consumer – what matters more is quality, including the quality of the food source. This shift is reflected in the marketplace with the growing popularity of organic food, local products and superfoods. What awaits on the horizon? Economics will continue to play a role, but ethical and ecological concerns will become ever more important. It would be foolish to assume that food laboratories will cease in their quest for the perfect artificial aroma or a more reliable flavour enhancer. But while these endeavours were the pride of the food industry in the past, today they represent the ‘shameful’ side of the industry. And as it is unlikely that we will ever see a return to a time in which bread on the supermarket shelf had an ingredient list resembling a complex chemical formula, we can comfortably set food chemistry aside and focus on those factors that will shape our food in the future. Informed and conscientious consumers want to know increasingly more about the contents and origins of their food. And producers are responding – if they want to stay competitive. Over the past decade the most
egregious of claims have disappeared from food labels, to be replaced with ingredient lists written in a typeface large enough to read without a magnifying glass. There is no reason to think that future developments will steer away from this trend, so it is likely that in a few years food labels will also include information about a productâ€™s carbon footprint â€“ the amount of greenhouse gases released during its production and transport. If we look some twenty years further into the future, it is possible that food will be classified according to the same efficiency categories we use today for electronic appliances. Class A will include products that did not travel halfway around the globe and were produced sustainably. The highest marks will go to production techniques that result in no waste, for example to meat products made in a way in which everything gets consumed â€“ from nose to tail. It is also conceivable that ecologically grown food will be made more affordable through a tax advantage. Undoubtedly we can look forward to a boom in packaging-free shopping. Shops trading without packaging are starting to find their fan base amongst Czech consumers, and the recent ban on distribution of free
ABOVE AND LEFT: In addition to 3D printing from various synthetic materials or 3D printing of human tissue, 3D printing of food deserves our attention. At NASA, scientists are currently exploring the possibilities of synthesising food from various specialised food cartridges. And the Foodini 3D printers made by Natural Machines are being readied for the market through a concept in which people will select a recipe from the internet and the printer will do the rest. Today it is already possible to 3D print sweets and various chocolate shapes.
plastic bags is likely to help. Another likely trend is growth in self-reliance. During the past decade home cooking has become more of a fun pastime than an obligation for many, and we can expect the same to happen with food production. Pioneers in this area have been showing us for years how easy it is to grow vegetables or keep bees and chickens even in the middle of a big city. Great changes are in store for our balconies, roofs, windowsills and neglected city lots as we discover that what was once considered drudgery can be a relaxing pastime with practical results. The future of meat production promises a passionate debate about genetic modification of raw materials, not only in the context of food production for lower income countries, but also in connection with the growing number of food allergies. Genetics is the field of science that can have the greatest impact on the future of food, and the level of its future impact will be determined not so much by what is scientifically possible, but by what we decide is allowable. In the end, ethics will win over science. And assuming that the past offers a good prognosis for what is to come, the future of food will be primarily defined by ethical and ecological frameworks. â–
WINDOW TO THE FUTURE
MORE THAN 90 YEARS AGO FRANTIŠEK JANOŠÍK ESTABLISHED HIS FAMILY BUSINESS IN VALAŠSKÉ PŘÍKAZY, WHERE IT CONTINUES TO THRIVE TO THIS DAY. CURRENT TIMES ARE FRIENDLY TO FAMILY FIRMS WITH A STRONG HISTORY, BUT LONGEVITY ALONE WILL NOT ENSURE SUCCESS. AND DEFINITELY NOT THE KIND OF SUCCESS THAT THIS FAMILY COMPANY HAS ACHIEVED. BY SKILFULLY BLENDING TRADITIONAL CRAFT WITH MODERN TECHNOLOGY, AND APPROACHING IT WITH A ZEST FOR INNOVATION, JANOŠÍK HAS EARNED ITS SPOT AS THE WINDOW COMPANY WITH THE BEST VIEW TO THE FUTURE.
partner for the article: Janošík okna-dveře text: Helena Novotná graphic design: Lenka Hlaváčová photo: Michaela Karásek Čejková and company archive
LEFT: The youngest member of the family business, Jakub Janošík provided the main impetus for the company’s redirection a few years ago. In his earlier role as sales representative he had no choice but to sell windows that were well built but offered little to modern architecture. The company’s first modern windows grew out of his designs and are now part of their regular collection.
Neither Frank Lloyd Wright nor Mies van der Rohe underestimated the importance of windows, and in their work were guided by the same philosophy as Janošík window makers – that windows should underscore the distinctive nature of each building and not draw attention to themselves. A window should be a humble element that harmoniously completes a building, a smooth conduit between a home and the outside world. Not so long ago it was quite common for a well executed building with a beautiful interior to be marred by poorly considered windows, mainly due to the use of frames several centimetres thick, full of unnecessary details. The Janošík family company manufactured conventional windows for many years, but in 2012 they decided to break from the mould and chose a more challenging path, a move that has paid off. Imagine large pane windows with no visual obstruction sitting seamlessly in the external facade, bringing the outdoors inside, even on atypical structures. That is Janošík. Today the company’s greatest success comes from their frameless and large format windows, in particular their distinctive all-glass Skywall collection designed by Zdeněk Fránek in 2015. Since then the company has been constantly moving forward, both with the help of modern technologies and through collaborations with renewed Czech designers like Maxim Velčovský and Klára Šumová. The frameless window has been their most successful product over the past few years. When anchored seamlessly in a facade, the frameless window unifies with the building in the spirit of the company’s philosophy. In addition to their regular range of windows and doors, the company works on custom-made solutions for specific projects. According to Jakub Janošík, Director of Marketing and Development and the youngest member of the family enterprise, it is the custom-made projects that lead to their best results. The very specific – and sometimes seemingly impossible – architectural requirements don’t allow the company to rest on its laurels, pushing its designers and builders to expand the limits of possibility. Janošík opened the doors on 2018 with a newly renovated showroom in Prague. Led by Mjölk architects, the renovation removed remnants of less than optimal modifications from the past, and the showroom is now exceptionally airy and light. Thanks to Janošík windows of course. ■
THIS SPREAD: The best designs emerge from custom-made solutions and often represent a real challenge for all involved. They include a cube-like window inserted into a sloping roofline and wide bands of all-glass windows on which the frameless design is most striking.
partner for the article: Polish Institute Prague text: Patrik Florián photo: Michaela Karásek Čejková
POLAND’S LIVELY PULSE
OUR WINTER TRAVEL EXCURSION, ORGANISED IN COLLABORATION WITH THE POLISH INSTITUTE IN PRAGUE, TOOK US TO CULTURALLYVIBRANT WARSAW AND EQUALLY IMPRESSIVE LODZ. THE WEATHER WAS SEASONALLY COLD, BUT WE WERE WARMED BY STRONG CUPS OF COFFEE, EXCELLENT LOCAL DELICACIES AND THE FRIENDLY SMILES OF PEOPLE WE MET ALONG THE WAY. EXPLORE WITH US POLAND’S GRANDILOQUENT HISTORICAL CENTRES, IMPRESSIVE MODERN ARCHITECTURE, EVER-PRESENT STREET ART AND FORMER INDUSTRIAL COMPLEXES PULSING WITH NEW LIFE.
Poland’s capital is found in the country’s centre and is home to more than 1.75 million residents. One of the most important economic, political and cultural centres of Central Europe, Warsaw is also the seat of key Polish institutions. Folk etymology attributes the origin of the name of the city to a fisherman named Wars and his wife Sawa. According to the legend, Sawa was a mermaid living in the Vistula River with whom Wars fell in love. A fable written by the Polish writer Artur Franciszek Oppman even suggests that Sawa was one of the seven daughters of the Greek god Triton and a sister of Copenhagen’s little mermaid. Warsaw’s coat of arms features an armed mermaid and statues in her honour are found in Old Town Square, at the riverbank near Świętokrzyski Bridge and on Karowa Street. Once called ‘Paris of the East’, Warsaw was believed to be one of the most beautiful cities in the world. That was until 1939, the year that brought occupation by Nazi Germany and with it the massacre of Polish Jews and the creation of the Warsaw Ghetto. In 1944 the Polish Home Army led the Warsaw Uprising to liberate the city, and the Nazis retaliated by reducing more than 85 per cent of the historical centre to rubble. After the end of the war the Polish metropolis earned the moniker Phoenix City for the massive reconstruction effort that followed. The people of Warsaw are thought to have a good sense of humour and to be hard-working – perhaps that is how a former fishing village managed to survive multiple occupations and become what it is today: a majestic city full of life, a bit brash, but a city to love. Warsaw’s architecture reflects the city’s rich history. Its palaces, churches and historical residences represent all styles of architecture known to Europe, concrete apartment blocks stand as grey reminders of the Communist era, and glass-faced skyscrapers showcase the city’s new prosperity. Thanks to its wide boulevards and plentiful open spaces, Warsaw does not feel cramped, though while standing next to its grand edifices you may feel a little insignificant. Fortunately, investments in contemporary architecture have not been limited to ambitious office buildings and have resulted in the revitalisation of parks and city squares. Warsaw is divided into eighteen districts. Among the most interesting are Śródmieście, comprising the historical Old and New Towns, and Praga Północ [Prague North] and Praga Południe [Prague South]. If you had no idea that Warsaw hides a little piece of Czechia’s capital, you were not alone. But perhaps more surprising is that the names of the two districts have nothing to do with Prague but with the Polish verb for ‘burn’, the names harking back to the burning of forests that preceded human settlement in these parts.
RIGHT: The Neon Museum located in building 55 of the former factory complex Soho is full of dazzle. Opened in 2005, the museum represents the surviving remnants of the ‘great neonisation’ campaign that spread across the Eastern Bloc during the Cold War era. In the midst of hundreds of neon signs and light installations rises Warsaw’s valiant mermaid, which shone for decades on the facade of the local library. NEXT SPREAD: The Praga quarter on the east bank of the Vistula River is reminiscent of Manchester, Leipzig or the Czech capital’s neighbourhood of Holešovice. Industrial, raw and currently the most hopping part of Warsaw, Praga offers street art, hipster joints serving third wave coffee, intimate cinemas, unusual museums and scores of clubs. It’s also the home of PGE Narodowy – the National Stadium.
PREVIOUS SPREAD: When in search of traditional Polish cuisine be sure to visit the Prasowy milk bar and try freshly sugared doughnuts made according to an old family recipe in the tiny Pracownia Cukiernicza bakery. LEFT: Hala Mirowska is a piece of real Poland. In front of the market you can buy fresh flowers; the modern section sells textiles, toys and other goods; and the back area offers local fruits and vegetables, fresh meat and fresh fish. NEXT SPREAD: Muzeum Katyńskie [Katyń Museum] is the work of studio BBGK Architekci. The red concrete and the tall oak cross commemorate the 1940 Katyń massacre. The postmodernist POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews, designed by the Finnish duo Rainer Mahlamäki and Ilmari Lahdelma, is located in the same area as the former Jewish ghetto.
Until the end of the eighteenth century the east bank of the Vistula River was separated from the rest of Warsaw, and the then independent town of Praga could only be reached by ferry or on foot over ice. During the Second World War Praga remained relatively unscathed, and since the 1989 revolution its empty factories have become a haven for artists. Although Praga is no Brooklyn or Montmartre, we think it’s well on the way. All you need do is visit the Koneser factory complexes offering loft living and offices, Fabryka Trzciny with its bar and live music scene, or Soho Factory. Here you will find design studios, an art house cinema, a market hall with a restaurant, artist studios, creative office spaces and, last but not least, the Neon Museum. The must-see museum showcases hundreds of neon signs and other light installations from famous neon artists of the Cold War era, a time of the so-called ‘great neonisation’ campaign that rang through the Eastern Bloc. The Neon Museum is not the only place to savour neon culture and the characteristic hum and flicker of a neon sign – Warsaw is full of it: cafes, restaurants, bars and shops light up in playful colours to amplify the city’s night-time genius loci. In addition to its neon signage, Warsaw impresses with lovely people and delicious Polish food. Bar Prasowy, one of the milk bars that have been hugely popular in Warsaw for many years, has been serving zupy [soups], naleśniki [pancakes], pierogi and other Polish specialties since 1954. Here you will run into various local types as well as tourists, and you can try the kind of lunch that any self-respecting Polish grandmother would typically serve up. A few years ago the bar was slated to be replaced by a bank, but locals protested and won. We would have joined the protesters because Prasowy’s sauerkraut and mushroom pierogi and sweet pancakes are out of this world. Those with a sweet tooth will also love the renowned Pracownia Cukiernicza, which makes a delectable Central European version of a doughnut. You may have to wait in a long queue to savour the fresh doughnuts based on an old family recipe, but your wait will be well worth it. Finally, one thing you definitely won’t have trouble finding in Warsaw is a good cup of coffee. The smell of freshly ground coffee permeates just about every street corner, and local cafes could easily compete for the most stylish interior or the best selection of home-made desserts and sandwiches. Caffeine will come in handy while you are discovering local galleries and museums and learning about Poland’s tumultuous history, modern art, science and music.
PREVIOUS SPREAD: The 1999 reconstruction of the Warsaw University Library was designed by the architects Marek Budzyński and Zbigniew Badowski and includes a luscious rooftop garden from the landscape architect Irena Bajerska. The Palace of Culture and Science is the tallest building in Warsaw and houses several exhibition halls, a congress centre, a multi-screen cinema, four theatres, two museums, a university and a public swimming pool.
Behind the brick walls of the Warsaw Citadel lies the Katyń Museum commemorating victims of the 1940 Katyń massacre. The work of the architectural studio BBGK Architekci, the museum is built from red-stained concrete and contains imprints of the victims’ personal belongings. Its most dominant feature is an imposing stairway surrounded by twelve-metre walls that descends towards glassed arcades, which contain plaques with the names of the victims. Another example of compelling architecture is the POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews. A blend of glass, concrete and copper, the postmodernist structure was designed by the Finnish architects Rainer Mahlamäki and Ilmari Lahdelma. Completed in 2013 with international support, the museum highlights the thousand-year-old history of Jews in Poland. In 2016 it was awarded the European Museum of the Year Award. Fascinating cultural programmes are on offer at the National Museum of Poland, the Warsaw (Up)Rising Museum, the Museum of Modern Art, the Fryderyk Chopin Museum and the surprising Poster Museum in Warsaw’s south-eastern quarter. If you are looking to learn in a fun way, the Copernicus Science Centre will entertain on your journey of discovery into the world of science. Fun also awaits outdoors – although Warsaw may seem like a city built of concrete, a whole 40 per cent of the city is covered by green space and parks, including the roof of the Warsaw University Library. Last but not least, the tallest and the most imposing building in Warsaw is the Palace of Culture and Science. One of the most iconic architectural examples of socialist realism, the palace was built at the behest of Josef Stalin as part of the rebuilding of the devastated city following the end of the Second World War. The massive complex houses several exhibition halls, a congress centre, a multi-screen cinema, four theatres, two museums, a university and a large swimming pool. Since 2007 the complex has been protected under heritage laws, which has angered many politicians and famous personalities, who had called for its demolition. While some people view it as a symbol of oppression that needs to be replaced, others cannot imagine Warsaw without Stalin’s palace. Love it or hate it, the palace firmly holds its position as the most immense city symbol, and together with its glass-faced cousins it defines Warsaw’s skyline. Not only does the combination of historical buildings, memorials and ultramodern architecture make Warsaw a city full of fascinating stories, it is also a promise of the beautiful future that awaits.
RIGHT: Łazienki Królewskie [the Royal Baths Park] is the green oasis in the centre of the city. The park is interwoven with many trails, some of which will lead to the Chopin Statue or the Ujazdów Castle. Locals come to the park to take walks, play sports, enjoy picnics and feed the large number of resident squirrels. NEXT SPREAD: The Relaks café is found in the Stary Mokotów quarter. Nearby is the Warburger stand, where you can savour an excellent burger, the Reset Art & Design Point with retro furniture and designer accessories, and the popular plant nursery Plantarium. The minimalist white interior of the multidisciplinary studio Thisispaper, where you can buy their printed magazine, locally designed products, books and select green teas.
TOP TWENTY PLACES NOT TO MISS IN WARSAW
CAFÉS AND BARS Stor Tamka 33 Coffeedesk Wilcza 42 Ministerstwo Kawy Marszałkowska 27/35 U Krawca Cafe Siennicka 3 Pies Czy Suka Szpitalna 8a
DESIGN AND SHOPPING
ART AND ENTERTAINMENT
Raj w Niebie Nowy Świat 21
Księgarnia Artystyczna Bookoff Pańska 3
Centrum Nauki Kopernik Wybrzeże Kościuszkowskie 20
Bułkę przez Bibułkę Zgoda 3, Pulawska 24
Plantarium Puławska 38 lok 42
Muzeum Sztuki Nowoczesnej Wybrzeże Kościuszkowskie 22
Piekarna Aromat Sienna 39
Hala Gwardii Plac Żelaznej Bramy 1
Muzeum Powstania Warszawskiego Grzybowska 79
Vegan Ramen Shop Finlandzka 12a
Bazar Olimpia Górczewska 56/60
Politechnika Warszawska Plac Politechniki 1
Warszawa Wschodnia Mińska 25
Super Salon Chmielna 10
Galeria Kuratorium Sienna 43A
Two hours west of Warsaw lies Poland’s third largest city and the one-time centre of the Polish textile industry. Today Lodz lives not only on industry, but also on cinematography and art. The city that enchanted the American film director David Lynch produces the highest number of feature-length films in Poland and hosts the Camerimage International Film Festival. It is also home to the Lodz Film School, which counts Andrzej Wajda, Roman Polański and Krzysztof Kieślowski among its former students. Lodz boasts a wide range of fascinating museums including the Museum of Cinematography, the Central Museum of Textiles, the Lodz City Museum, the Museum of Art and the Book Art Museum, as well as theatres, galleries and the Lodz Philharmonic. The textile industry that charted the city’s historic growth declined dramatically after the fall of Communism, leaving behind vast complexes of empty factories that were calling for creative revitalisation. One such effort transformed a former cotton mill located off the popular Piotrkowska Street into an alternative multifunctional space. The new OFF Piotrkowska complex houses bars, clubs, a concert hall, artist studios, designer shops, cafes and restaurants. A similar though much larger and more comprehensive project is the nearby Manufaktura. The 27-hectare complex includes the largest open square in Lodz, which hosts cultural and sporting events, an arts centre, a shopping gallery with more than 300 shops, a multiplex cinema and a skate park. Another successful revitalisation is the EC1 Łódź cultural centre, where art and science meet. The former power station includes a planetarium and an engaging science and technology centre. It also regularly comes alive with exciting film events. LEFT: Lodz is a mix of modern buildings and former factory complexes that have found a new lease on life. The revitalised Łódź Fabryczna train station is the largest and most modern transport hub in the city. NEXT SPREAD: Located some 300 metres from the Lodz train station, the EC1 Łódź cultural centre is a place where art and science meet. The former power station is home to a planetarium and a science and technology centre, and serves as a regular venue for film events. OFF Piotrkowska is a former cotton mill which today hums with the action of clubs, studios, designer shops, cafes and restaurants.
Equally impressive is Łódź Fabryczna, the city’s largest and most modern train station. Originally built in 1865 at the behest of the industrialist Karol Scheibler, today’s Fabryczna station is the result of a five-year redevelopment project completed in 2016. The new train station is a compilation of original designs by the architect Adolf Schimmelpfennig overlaid by an audacious steel and glass structure. The presence of the original train station housed under a massive glass dome is a perfect reflection on Polish courage and skill in architecture. Where next? From the Fabryczna train station you can explore Poland in all directions, whether your destination be Krakow, Malbork or Gdańsk on the Baltic Sea. In addition to its lively culture and historically rich cities, the sixth most populous nation in Europe boasts stunning nature. Images from Poland’s natural side will have to wait for our next feature, for this certainly won’t be Soffa’s last visit to our welcoming neighbours in the northeast. ■
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partner for the article: IKEA text: Kristýna Svobodová styling: Patrik Florián and Adéla Havelková make-up and hair: Kateřina Koki Mlejnková photo: Adéla Havelková
B. WHO YOU ARE ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE WHEN YOU PASS THROUGH THE LOOKING GLASS, AND THE SWEDISH FASHION ACTIVIST, ARTIST AND STYLIST BEA ÅKERLUND IS LIVING PROOF. AFTER WORKING FOR MULTIPLE A-LIST STARS, BEA TEAMED UP WITH IKEA TO CREATE HER OWN VISION OF WONDERLAND. BOLD COLOURS, BRIGHT IDEAS AND UNAPOLOGETIC ORIGINALITY – THAT’S OMEDELBAR. WE ASKED IKEA’S DESIGNERS ELENI, JULIEN AND TEREZA ABOUT THE COLLECTION AND HOW IT FITS INTO THE BROADER IKEA PRODUCT RANGE. WE TALKED ABOUT INDIVIDUALITY, CREATIVITY AND COURAGE, THE MUSTHAVE TRAITS ON YOUR JOURNEY DOWN THE RABBIT HOLE.
TEREZA POLCAROVÁ enjoys the creativity and diversity of her work as a Specialist Interior Designer for IKEA. Even though she prefers Scandinavian minimalism and neutral tones in her home, Omedelbar inspires her with its playfulness. Some of the pieces in the collection, like the red lipshaped pillows, are sure to bring an effortless sparkle to any interior. A trick she might try herself. Omedelbar cushion, 279 Kč and 349 Kč depending on size
JULIEN DESVIGNES works as an Interior Design Leader for the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Hungary. He’s an expatriate in Prague just like Eleni, hailing originally from France. Julien sees Omedelbar as a collection with a strong message and believes that an interior should reflect the personality of its owner. ‘Know yourself first,’ says Julien, ‘and then you will know what you would like in your home.’ Omedelbar bowl, 549 Kč
As a way of introduction, please tell us about your work at IKEA. E: As the team of Interior Design Leaders we support stores in offering the best home furnishing solutions from the IKEA range to meet our customers’ needs. We also support the Marketing & Corporate Sales Department by engaging consumers through media. For example, we create different exhibitions and presentations where customers can connect with the IKEA range. Speaking of presentations, what do you think about the Omedelbar collection and its potential to appeal to your customers? It is, after all, not a typical IKEA collaboration. J: I think that this collection is very strong and embodies a very bold identity. It’s what we call a great ‘attention-maker’. It’s also a limited collection with only a few pieces, so the ‘now or never’ message emphasises its exclusivity. T: Collaborations like this are great for targeting specific groups of customers. Omedelbar is definitely not for everyone. What I really like about this collection is its novelty and freshness. It’s very unexpected. E: This is exactly the purpose of a limited collection. To show that IKEA can target even a very specific part of the market. It’s a collection that people can personally relate to and connect with. Generally, we offer mainstream solutions – but there are also individuals out there who want something different. These are the people Omedelbar is designed for. IKEA seems to be more closely associated with conformity
than with individuality. How does a desire for individuality match IKEA’s philosophy of providing mainstream solutions? E: People have different priorities today. They are more educated, have access to the internet and many visual resources. They are not the customers we were targeting thirty years ago – today our typical customer is well-travelled and has individual tastes. What I like about Omedelbar is the statement it makes. It represents something brave, bold and edgy, a strong and attractive message even for those who won’t buy the products. The diversity of our product range is the key to its individuality. T: Collections like Omedelbar could mark a possible future for IKEA. The prime goal of the company is to attract new and different customers. Of course we still focus on families and small space living, but we want to broaden our customer base. The main IKEA principles are present in all our collaboration collections, but it’s the original input of individual product designers that expands the IKEA brand position. Do fashion and trends play a major role in this development? T: Even though IKEA is not a fashionable brand, we do follow fashion and its trends, as their importance in interior design is gradually increasing. Fabrics, colours and shapes are key components of any design and they need to be up to date. J: Absolutely. Home furnishing follows trends – and the creative part of interior design involves being aware of what’s happening and what people are looking for. That covers fashion
itself, but also technological trends. E: There are a few trends we are monitoring right now. One of them is urbanism: more and more people living in cities. Limited space and multi-functionality are some of the challenges we are currently exploring. Would you say that the new concept of IKEA pop-up stores in city centres reflects that as well? E: It’s definitely a direction IKEA is exploring. It’s closely connected to online shopping, which offers a lot of opportunities. I’d say that IKEA stores will always remain because our customers want to come and test our products in a physical space. But we want to meet people halfway and open up new possibilities – and pop-up stores are one of the ways to do that. T: And once again, they’re great attention-makers. Pop-up stores have proven to be very attractive to our clientele, especially young people from urban centres. How does the following of trends align with the ideal of sustainability that IKEA promotes? T: I wouldn’t say that the philosophies clash. Besides more extravagant pieces like the ones from the Omedelbar collection, we offer a lot of neutral and versatile systems that are highly adaptable. You can easily upgrade a basic sofa model to a family-size or update its cover. E: What’s more, many trends don’t contradict the vision of sustainable production. I see young people working on laptops in cafes and bistros where there is a strong emphasis on interior design, coffee
quality and creating a pleasant environment. It seems the traditional working space is no longer relevant. J: Sustainability is non-negotiable. It goes without saying that companies have a social responsibility, and we have to follow the guidelines of our ecological principles. And the principles of democratic design that IKEA has been promoting since its inception are crucial as well. Do you think that the Omedelbar collection and its motto ‘B. Who You Are’ could be setting the tone for future developments at IKEA? Where should IKEA be heading? T: From a marketing point of view, IKEA should remain attractive to both existing and new customers. Combining quality with original and sustainable design is a key attribute of the IKEA brand, as is the modularity of our products. J: I would say that the IKEA range is the identity of the brand. The development of the range is therefore the most important thing. Trust and transparency are also vital, both in creative work and in communication with our customers. E: I think that sometimes we imitate and remain too modest. We should be more daring. Like Bea Åkerlund and her collection Omedelbar. The IKEA Omedelbar collection will be available in IKEA stores across the Czech Republic from March 2018. For more information visit www.ikea.cz. ■ We thank the Van Graaf store in Prague for lending us the clothes used in the photo shoot.
ELENI KLIAMENAKI is an Interior Design Leader for the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Hungary. Originally from Greece, Eleni is now based in Prague and works at the Communication & Interior Design Department. She is convinced that variety and sustainability are key to the future of IKEA – together with a certain amount of pluck. Omedelbar wall clock, 999 Kč
text: Hana Švolbová photo: Aleš Jungmann, LIKO-S, Hufton + Crow
FOUNDATIONS FOR TOMORROW
FUTURISTIC ARCHITECTURE HAS BEEN AROUND SINCE AT LEAST THE TIME OF JULES VERNE. TODAY, IN AN ERA IN WHICH WE PAY ATTENTION NOT ONLY TO USER COMFORT, BUT ALSO TO THE ENERGY REQUIREMENTS AND ECOLOGICAL CONSIDERATIONS OF NEW BUILDINGS, ‘FUTURISTIC DESIGN’ IS NO LONGER JUST A VISION. INDEED, PROJECTS THAT GIVE BACK TO NATURE WHAT THEY TOOK AWAY ARE BECOMING MORE COMMONPLACE. IN THIS FEATURE WE INTRODUCE THREE ARCHITECTURAL PROJECTS THAT REPRESENT TANGIBLE VISIONS FOR OUR FUTURE LIFE AND THE TIME BEYOND.
Dolní Břežany Cemetery | Czechia At first glance a cemetery seems to have little to do with the future. Our image of cemeteries is more closely aligned with the past, and this is reflected in their design. Death is an inseparable part of modern life, however, so it is fitting that we also think of cemeteries in modern terms. The Dolní Břežany Cemetery, a unique final resting place completed in 2015, is an example of such thinking. The cemetery was designed by the landscape architect Zdeněk Sendler, who worked closely with town administrators to create a modern cemetery in a four-hectare planned parkland. In his design Sendler drew upon the area’s history, beginning with Celtic settlement, the arrival of Slavic tribes and later Christianity. The cemetery was conceived not only as a place of remembrance, but also a place of positive energy suitable for lively gatherings. The cemetery layout was inspired by the sun cross, one of the oldest symbols of our civilisation, its concentric circles recalling the cyclical nature of time. There are four entrances – one in each cardinal direction – their gates interwoven with bands of coloured glass. The core of the cemetery is formed by two rows of linden trees arranged in the shape of a cross, at the centre of which stand four oaks, the sacred trees of the Celts. The cemetery has no columbaria of densely packed niches for funeral urns, so reminiscent of concrete apartment blocks built in the Communist era, but it does have a meadow for scattering ashes, a fitting component to a modern interpretation of a final resting place. LIKO-Noe | Czechia LIKO-Noe is a structure unparalleled in all of Czechia. Built in 2015 in Slavkov u Brna, the building is designed on the concept of ‘natural thermal stabilisation’, using energy only from natural sources. The sun provides electricity, the earth takes care of heating and cooling, and water comes from a purpose-built reservoir. LIKO-Noe demonstrates what factories, office spaces and research centres of the future could look like, and it does so at a minimal building cost – the site went up in a mere 27 days. The investor and co-designer of LIKO-Noe is Libor Musil and his company LIKO-S, a construction firm that works in green design. The architect of the project is Zdeněk Fránek, but the development of the complex – which
THIS SPREAD: The design of the Dolní Břežany Cemetery was inspired by the town’s history, reaching back to the first Celtic settlement, and follows the outline of a sun cross. The cemetery has been thoughtfully placed in the surrounding landscape, and together with the adjoining parkland it connects seamlessly to the town and the Břežany valley. The landscape architect Zdeněk Sendler has skilfully demonstrated that a place of remembrance fits neatly into the future.
THIS SPREAD: The unique building housing the LIKO-S research centre offers a glimpse of what an office space of the future may look like. Covered by a living facade, the building embodies the concept of â€˜natural thermal stabilisationâ€™. LIKO-Noe uses only renewable energy and returns to nature all that it consumes. Construction of this futuristic structure with a subfloor made of monolithic concrete took only 27 days.
THIS SPREAD: Resembling a honeycomb, the KAPSARC research and office complex lives in perfect harmony with its natural surroundings. The international research centre has minimal energy requirements and provides a comfortable climate naturally in spite of its dessert location. In 2016 it was named Saudi Arabiaâ€™s smartest building in the Honeywell Middle East Smart Building Awards.
houses the LIKO-S research centre – also involved the LIKO-S research team. The research centre requires no additional energy beyond the energy provided by natural sources, and it derives its water from rainwater and recycled waste water, which is cleaned through a root-based water purification system. Heating is managed naturally by thermal pumps, solar power and a living facade. LIKO-Noe is a building fully in sync with nature. Even its name – inspired by Biblical Noah and his ark – encapsulates the notion of preserving nature and its riches for future generations. Its purpose as a centre of research and development, housing an international team including fresh university graduates, embodies the spirit of a working environment of the future. This was recognised in 2015 when LIKO-Noe won the Healthy Office award in the Czech Meeting Room of the Year competition. KAPSARC Research Centre | Saudi Arabia In 2009 the world-renowned London-based studio Zaha Hadid Architects was selected to build a research and office complex for the King Abdullah Petroleum Studies and Research Center, or KAPSARC. In a dessert location near Riyadh, on an area equal to half a square kilometre, Zaha Hadid and Patrick Schumacher designed a complex not seen anywhere else in the world. White crystalline fragments combine to create five interconnected buildings with plazas, atriums, gardens and terraces, the overall complex reminiscent of a honeycomb. The design reflects two of the goals of the research centre it houses – sustainable energy and international collaboration. KAPSARC’s research and office complex has been named the smartest building in Saudi Arabia. Construction of the complex was driven by a desire for the most minimal impact on the environment possible: thirty per cent of the construction material was recycled matter and about forty per cent of the material travelled less than 800 kilometres. The complex is designed for minimal maintenance: it comprehensively captures wind energy and its specialised roof system minimises heat and filters in soft daylight. At night the complex shines like an enormous crystal thanks to LED diodes, which are charged during the day with the help of photovoltaic cells. The interiors are also futuristic, housing a conference centre, a library, a computer centre and a musalla, or an open prayer space. Thanks to its minimal impact on the environment, maximum use of renewable energies and an energy self-sufficiency strategy, KAPSARC’s research and office complex achieved LEED Platinum certification from the US Green Building Council. ■
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ISSUE THEME: THE FUTURE | Soffa 25 muses about what awaits in the near and distant future, and about other pressing existential questions. E...
Published on Feb 11, 2018
ISSUE THEME: THE FUTURE | Soffa 25 muses about what awaits in the near and distant future, and about other pressing existential questions. E...