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276
Current Issue

Nov/Dec 2019

#276
Nov/Dec 2019

AZURE’s November/December edition explores some of the category’s most innovative spaces, from a new model of urban retreat by Ace Hotel in New York City to a cutting-edge concept store in Lisbon.

The Circles armchair for Cappellini arose from the childhood game of drawing a picture using one repeating circle.

Extracurricular collaboration
Jan Plecháč: Henry and I met at the Academy of Arts, Architecture and Design in Prague, where we were both studying architecture and design. We didn’t work on any projects together at AAAD, but after a few years, when we got to know each other a little bit better through social interactions, we tried collaborating on some projects outside of school.

Our first one was in 2010, a booth for Nike’s Czech branch, our first private client. We did several installations and shows for them, and designed a few products for the Nike Street Football Cup, the Nike Run and other events. Our collaboration worked well, so we decided to continue it.

A minimalist take on the bulletin board, the Bauhaus-inspired My Spot consists of simple anchors, a weight and black string.

A kick forward from Cappellini
JP: The first project we worked on together as studio Jan Plecháč & Henry Wielgus was an armchair for Cappellini. Giulio Cappellini had seen my thesis project – Icons, a wire seating collection and the first project I ever showed abroad – in some magazine and sent me an email. After a few weeks, he came to our studio, and we talked a lot, about life, coffee and Prague. Giulio’s last question was “Okay, and would you like to design something for Cappellini?” So Henry and I decided to start an official design studio.

The armchair is part of our Circles collection, which includes a smaller armchair, side tables, and a stool inspired by simple geometry. Each piece is shaped by various methods of layering and copying and the rotation of a circle. Henry Wielgus: We are thankful for the project, because it propelled us forward. During the proposal process, we were given a lot of freedom. We presented four concepts, and Giulio chose the Circles armchair concept. Then we had some time to create prototypes, and we sent the final one to Italy. When Giulio first saw the chair, he wrote to us, “It’s like a dream” – a very nice reaction.

The limited edition Stavebnice 01 system combines ash logs and lacquered steel joints into a worktable, clothing rack, floor lamp and shelving system.

Language of Light
JP: Along with the Circles armchair for Cappellini, one of the first projects that brought us recognition was Neverending Glory, a collection of glass chandeliers for Lasvit. Individual silhouettes transform majestic chandeliers from five of the world’s most eminent concert halls and theatres – La Scala in Milan, Palais Garnier in Paris, the Metropolitan Opera House in New York, the Estates Theatre in Prague, and Moscow’s Bolshoi Theatre – into contemporary design lighting.

The DeltaLight Booth at Light in Architecture showcased the fixtures in a stark white space with the designers’ wire Icons chairs.

Aesthetic Essence
JP: It is quite hard to say how we describe our work, our aesthetic, but generally we tell old stories in new contexts. We try to be pragmatic and, in the past few years, quite minimalistic but still emotional. Our work is our life, so we want to enjoy it. HP: We always go through the thing step by step to the core, to show how it is and not how it isn’t. We want to catch things in their essence, but with no aesthetic; that comes by itself. Generally, it’s an intuitive process. We love simplicity but also emotions, and we are always seeking the right material or form for the right product. Also, we like to work with methods that are new to us. It’s important for us to get to know as much as possible.

The Ondulé collection of flat-pack coffee tables is made of corrugated metal sheets topped with metal, glass or mirror, all assembled with no screws or tools.

Working together works well
HP: It’s a nice co-operation. We both have lots of ideas, and sometimes they’re a bit crazy, but I don’t feel ashamed to present them. This is so important to me, as well as all of the other steps after the first idea we are doing together.

The Stavebnice 02 building kit evokes a cluster of molecules. The machine-rounded oak balls are joined with wire, which makes them simple to reconfigure.

The World Is Flat
JP: Lately, we have changed our thinking a bit and have started designing flat-pack products. The basic motive behind the Ondulé, our new collection of coffee tables, was simplicity. A metal-toothed structure lightens the dimension of the base, an effect used by column builders in ancient Greece. While maintaining comfort and quality of the product, we reduced the production and construction processes to a minimum.

What’s now, what’s next
JP: We are working on a collection of pendant lights for Lasvit, furniture for Křehký gallery, and interiors in Prague and Barcelona. Our latest project is a notice board called My Spot, formed by three anchors, a weight and black string, on which you can hang a calendar, messages, sketches, hotel reservations or a postcard. You can have all you need within your sight, in a well-arranged and impressive composition. The design is about getting back to the roots of modern architecture and design and to the ideas of the legendary Bauhaus school. The principle plays with gravity, composition, colour accents and the minimalist shape of a circle.

Curriculum Vitae

Members
Jan Plecháč, born in Prague, 1984
Henry Wielgus, born in Prague, 1982

Location
Prague

Education
Plecháč, master’s in architecture and design, Academy of Arts, Architecture and Design, Prague, 2004-2010.
Wielgus, master’s in architecture and design, Academy of Arts, Architecture and Design, Prague, 2001-2009; Escola de Disseny i Art, Barcelona, 2008

Occupation
Furniture and product designers, architects

Selected awards
2013 Elle Deco International Design Award for Best Lighting, Czech Republic

Selected exhibits
2013 Salone del Mobile, Spazio Rossana Orlandi; 2013 Maison & Objet, Gallery S. Bensimon

Selected clients
Rossana Orlandi Gallery, Luminaire, Lasvit, Cappellini, Bosch

AZURE is an independent magazine working to bring you the best in design, architecture and interiors. We rely on advertising revenue to support the creative content on our site. Please consider whitelisting our site in your settings, or pausing your adblocker while stopping by.