Lasvit founder Leon Jakimič’s first love was tennis. That’s the first surprising thing about Breakpoint, a film that explores the rise of Jakimič and his iconic lighting brand. The second? That it’s a mockumentary, and one that makes its North American debut in Los Angeles at the Architecture & Design Film Festival.
Since its inception in 2007, Lasvit has become one of the world’s premier names in lighting, known for their frequently abstract, sometimes sculptural take on Bohemian glass. It straddles the world of lighting and art – which often celebrates “luxury product in near austere circumstances,” the film’s notes suggest – but it isn’t without its playfulness (think: a Christmas tree collaboration with Yabu Pushelberg). Nor is Breakpoint.
In fact, the film uses tennis as one of the film’s primary motifs. Directed by Kryštof Jankovec and starring Stephan Hamel as mentor to the Lasvit mastermind, the film follows the twists, turns and reinventions of Jakimič, starting with the tennis court. Just as a tennis ball bounces in myriad directions, so, too does Jakimič’s life – eventually leading him to the world of Bohemian glass. Which, of course, he brings far beyond Bohemia.
“Glassmaking is a game where the ball is in the court of craft and art. Unlike a tennis match, it’s not a matter of winners and losers,” director Jankovec says. “It’s a shared journey, a joint quest to capture beauty through light and glass.”
As Lasvit’s star rises, so, too, do the fortunes of Jakimič. As he refines his talents in the world of glass, he balances an increasingly high-profile, increasingly international lifestyle. But like on the tennis court, his passions bounce him back to the Czech Republic – and towards the fine glass-making craft his family practised for six generations.
“While Leon’s tennis career may not have worked out, it exposed him to a world beyond the Czech Republic and then returned him to his roots,” says Hamel. “This breakpoint enabled the fantastic success of his business and, to a degree, a regeneration of the entire industry.”
Breakpoint debuts on Friday, March 16th at the LA Theatre Center, 514 South Spring Street. Purchase tickets here.