Sunday, July 19, 2009

Futurista Builds Upon the Past

After falling in love with Josef Gocar's Rondo-Cubism architectural style at the LegioBank building, I was eager to learn more about the wonderful design history of Czechoslovakia. Very near to where I lived in Prague was an ultra-hip design shop that showcased the best of Czech decorative arts and design from mid-century in addition to the current generation. The shop is called Futurista and is near Old Town Square.

A Czech cubist tea set

Can't you picture it in a
Fred Astaire/Ginger Rogers
elegant NY penthouse?

These cubist tea set designs were created by
Pavel Janek
who worked with Josef Gocar
to create Rondo-Cubism

I was delighted to learn that
one of his other well-known designs

is Palace Adria
a gorgeous building near Mustek
where you can go and sit on the balcony
and enjoy the promenade of Prague people below.

Vlatislav Hofman designed
the cubist vases
housed in this ultra-hip
cubist breakfront.

Hofmann also designed
over 300 sets theatre sets.

One way Futurista exceeded my expectations
was the well-founded patriotic pride
of the young staff in their decorative heritage.

Lucie knew her country's artists
and loved sharing the beauty they created.

A cubist chair

What flowers would you arrange
in these vases to do them justice?

For me, if it was autumn,
dried bittersweet and sumac.

How it must delight Czechs
to have a design movement
that is all theirs.

In addition to his own Czech design heritage,
Miracek was crazy about Delft design
in the Netherlands.

The building that houses Futurista
is ancient

and has undergone countless remodelings
through the centuries.

If you go,
enjoy the glass bottom in the first floor

looking down to the gothic basement
where all the furniture is kept.

See the bottom of the window well
in the picture above?

That used to be the door jamb
for the first floor

back in medieval times.

David loved talking about
the modernist furniture
for sale in the basement.

I didn't understand the point
of this cheesy Communist poster
but David said native Czechs love to buy it
because ugly baby
and Dad with excessive sideburns

are very familiar to them as a
humorous memory of those times.

Mod meets art deco

An art deco breakfront

A way-cool white leather
executive table
and chairs

More modernist office furniture

I love this modernist plant stand.
I just need a super cool modernist
Prague apartment to go with it.

David said this sort of plastic office desk
with side fold-out drawers is so familiar to Czechs
they hate it and never want to see it again.

To a foreigner like me,
it's just one more fabulously cool
modernist experiment.

Futurista has started a web page. So far it only has one page to it, and it's in Czech, so I've linked in my title to the only store in North America that is devoted to mid-century Czech furniture and design. It's in New York City, of course; it's called the Prague Kolektiv.


Annabel said...

This is all so wonderful! I especially love the second tea set, and the art deco breakfront. All very cool. I can imagine some orchids in those vases.

duckoo said...

Hi. I know its a bit late to correct it, but the name of the shop is MODERNISTA. And we have our website in english as well...
You may have a look...
The shop had to move but we still have the same stuff... YOu are welcome to come again and check the news :)
Katka (from the picture above ;) )

Karen said...

Katka, I'm sorry to hear you moved because that was a fantastic location. I'm not the only one who has Futurista as the name. So does the New York Times travel guide! If you look on their travel guide, it says Futurista. How did we get that name? Wasn't it on the sign? Katka, I enjoyed my visit to your shop so much! All of you were just so into your heritage, it was just a treat to experience. I guess I said that already though :-) Thanks for updating my blog.

duckoo said...

There are three design shops with similar names in Prague - Modernista, Kubista and Futurista.. K.and F. are kind of a shop chain, but we are independent from them, although we have similar stuff.. i dont know what was the problem here, but people often mistake these three...
We had to move from the basement because of the high humidity (which was bad for the furniture) and high rent as well :( But we are still in the same building - moved just few metres to the arcades... Good luck! K.

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