The Stars of Czech Grand Design

Designers across all fields of industry assembled for annual award ceremony

Last year's winners -jewelry designers from Zorya- hand out first award to Bet Orten, Photographer of the Year

Last year’s winners -jewelry designers from Zorya- hand out first award to Bet Orten, Photographer of the Year

There are not many opportunities in the Czech Republic for designers to be acknowledged for contributions in their respective fields by their peers. Czech Grand Design is one significant venue where Czech designers are annually judged and distinguished in 11 separate categories that range from jewelry design to architecture.

The ceremony for the 2012 Czech Grand Design awards was held March 16 at the Estates Theater. As is customary, the previous year’s winners created the awards for this year’s victors. Jewelry designers Daniel Pošta and Zdeněk Vacek, who won for their Zorya line in 2012, designed silver wands that would later be covered with sticky cotton candy, a gift and an award in one.

As the curtain was raised, giant cotton-candy balloons dropped from the ceiling while dancers performed onstage. Suddenly, a man dressed in pink fabric appeared onstage: the moderator for the evening, Roman Zach. Zach went through several costume changes during the evening, read poetry in mid-air and never failed to amuse the audience.

The awards created a few surprises, notably by recognizing a number of young designers. Fashion photographer Bet Orten was named Photographer of the Year for her spread in and Elle magazine. The creative group Okolo (consisting of Adam Štěch, Jakub Štěch, Matěj Činčera and Jan Kloss) was designated Graphic Designer of the Year for their exhibition of light sculptures in boxes.

Czech Grand Design award recipients
Photographer of the Year: Bet Orten
Graphic Designer of the Year: Okolo
Fashion Designer of the Year: Hana Zarubová: Panton No.
Jewelry Designer of the Year: Blueberries
Designer of the Year 2012 from the Culture Ministry:Lucie Koldová and Dan Yeffet (mmcité)
Producer of the Year: Lucie Koldová and Dan Yeffet
Store of the Year:Ton
Discovery of the Year: 
Daniel Gonzalez
Public Award:
 Lukáš Jabůrek
Hall of Fame: Zdeněk Ziegler
Grand Designer of the Year 2012: Lucie Koldová and Dan Yeffet

Prague-based designers Markéta Richterová and Zbynek Krulich, who use 3-D software to create a unique collection of intricate jewelry under the name Blueberries, were selected Jewelry Designer of the Year.

But traditional techniques were also recognized by the jury, which comprised curators, theoreticians and journalists from the local and international design scene. Daniel Gonzalez was awarded Discovery of the Year for his line of cast-iron crockery, while Lukáš Jabůrek’s vases and bowls for Moser Glassworks received the Public Award.

Fashion Designer of the Year nominees were introduced with a revolving catwalk on which their fall/winter 2012 and spring/summer 2013 collections were shown. Unfortunately, the moving catwalk proved hazardous for several models, who barely managed to avoid injury and embarrassment. Hana Zarubová, the 2010 winner, repeated her triumph with her Panton No collection, which was unveiled at the Designblok Premier Fashion Week in the fall of last year.

Of course, no awards ceremony would be complete without someone being inducted into a Hall of Fame. This year, the honor was bestowed upon Zdeněk Ziegler for his work in graphic design and typography, which includes film posters for Czech cinema, posters and postage stamps and has been exhibited around the world.

When asked what the secret for his Hall of Fame recognition was, the octogenarian quipped, “Just reach the age of 80, and they will let you in.”

The big winners of the evening were the Paris-based duo Lucie Koldová and Dan Yeffet – otherwise known as mmcité – for their so-called street furniture, known as Urban Islands, which includes ergonomically designed benches, bicycle racks and trash bins. They received three of the 11 awards bestowed this year: Designer of the Year 2012 from the Culture Ministry, Producer of the Year and Grand Designer of the Year.


This piece original appeared in the Prague Post on March 20, 2013


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