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V4PLUS | Our favorite Czech brands_06

Virus or no virus, we won’t stop collecting cool design spots. This time, we added a hostel in Olomouc where we would like to teleport the entire HYPE editorial staff (now!) to our bucket list, but our “must-visit” list in Prague is also expanded on a continuous basis. We will tell you about the “Ajka Crystal of the Czech” and we will also show you a supercool shoe brand.

Long Story Short

Prague is not the only place to look for the coolest places: luckily, there are plenty of them scattered around the country. When we first came across the Long Story Short hostel, we thought whatever there is in the city of Olomouc, we must see it. 

The Czech design hostel stole our hearts for several reasons. Not only couples, but smaller groups of friends should also visit this place: in addition to private double rooms, they also offer multi-person dormitories, where visitors are hosted in spacious, practically designed spaces instead of the dingy bunk bed style. On top of that, the founders of the hostel also paid particular attention to girls: the six-bed room has its own bathroom, and hairdryers, hair straighteners, toiletries and a remarkable number of mirrors are also available for the comfort of the ladies. 

The interior design of Long Story Short is the work of Denisa Strmiskova Studio. The designers were able to preserve the characteristics of the building with several thousands years of history and complement it with contemporary elements. The horseshoe shaped building functioned as a fortress in the 1700s: this was the so-called Locatelli-bastion, named after colonel Locatello di Locatelli. In the 1800s, a military bakery operated within the walls of the building, while two hundred years later the fortress function had to be reimagined due the flood of 1997. 

A total of 56 people can be accommodated within the sunny arcades of Long Story Short. In addition to the natural beauty of the wooden, metal and stone raw materials, we must also mention the pastel-colored accessories and the fitted furniture tailored to the hostel’s individual needs. The designers managed to create perfect harmony by keeping the balance between traditions and contemporary trends: they purchased the vintage furniture from MOARE, and they also obtained some iconic contemporary pieces from the famous Master&Master furniture manufacturer, while the majority of the works of art comes from David Minařík.

And we haven’t even talked about their image! The visual identity of the hostel is the work of Studio Kosatko: the plain logo boosted with a slight twist continues in the pictograms and signs, and it is also echoed everywhere from the pillow cases to the shampoo bottles. We love how well planned all this is!

The operators of Long Story Short are cosmopolitans and true provincialists at the same time: they collaborated with a small local roaster, Rusty Nails – provide the new wave coffee and we can also taste the finest Moravian wines and the self-brewed beer of a local brewery, too. Digital nomads have nothing to worry about either, as they can also settle in the co-working office of Vaulth 42 operating on the ground floor of the building during their stay, and they can relax in the courtyard of the hostel at the evenings. 

COBRA

Unfortunately our latest favorite, COBRA in Prague is also closed for an unforeseeable period, so all we’re left with is the bittersweet feeling of longing. Oh well.

COBRA is situated in a corner building: a nonstop casino operated here previously. We cannot say that no marks of it are left behind, as edit! studio in charge of the interior design of COBRA wanted to show exactly what other studios might have wanted to conceal. The designers acted more as archeologists than as architects, as they did not want to create another forgettable place, but a space that tells its own story. The eclecticism of the layers that surfaced during the alteration (the different coats of paint and floorings) brings a special atmosphere to the place, where ( although they define themselves as a bar) you can have breakfast and lunch, too, if you fancy doing so. 

Both the floorplan of the place and the rustic and industrial feeling makes us think of Kisüzem in Budapest. The visual identity of the bar was created by graphics studio Les kanců: the color black is dominant both in terms of the interior and the graphics, and the designers also made a formal reference to the snake in letter “c”.

The team of edit! established in 2010 has left their marks at several Prague-based catering establishments: one of the most special amongst them is the breakfast and brunch place Bistro Monk, located in the building of an old monastery. To the fans of new wave specialty coffee, we recommend Místo café

KAVE Footwear

 KAVE Footwear, aiming to reform shoe manufacturing uses up the residual materials of Czech factories. In Hungary, we knowGabriella Veszprémi’s shoe collection named LAYERS very well, and although the Hungarian and the Czech examples are completely different in terms of style, the designers’ attitude is exactly the same: to create something new and useful out of something that is no longer useable. The same as the collaboration with Cango&Rinaldi was necessary in the case of Gabi Veszprémi, the provision of support from manufacturers is also essential in the case of KAVE.

Eva Klabalová has been pursuing shoe design for approx. 15 years now, this way she had enough time to get to know the operation of factories and manufacturers: she came up with the idea of KAVE based on this knowledge, which is, as described by the designer, not an independent fashion brand, rather the formal manifestation of a conscious design attitude. 

The same as the much talked about iconic Bata shoes, the KAVE sneakers are also made in the city of Zlín in the Czech Republic. Each and every pair of the rubber-soled canvas shoes are unique and hand-made. And although no two pieces are exactly the same, there are some collections where we can choose the one we like the most. 

In the case of the pieces of the „Coffee Addict” collection, for example, they also use coffee grounds: they mix the grounds remaining at cafés into the rubber material. „Collection 55” got this name because the pieces of the collection are made with tools that were first used in 1955 within the walls of the shoe factory. These shoes are made without using adhesives, and they are also vegan. 

Our personal favorite is the super-colorful „ONDRASH 01” model, which has been created with the collaboration of tattoo artist Ondrej Konupčík. Awesome!

Rückl

What is Ajka Crystal in Hungary, it is Rückl for the Czech. Of course this is not entirely true, as although our Czech neighbors have plenty of contemporary pieces amongst the crystal vases and glasses, the traditional approach still prevails in Hungary. Ajka and Rückl started off at almost the same time: the former started production in 1878, while the latter commenced a few years earlier, in 1846 from today’s Ostrava, and slowly became a dominant player of the Czech market. It’s interesting that two corporations of a similar profile operated here, in Central-Eastern Europe, yet the companies’ lives took different turns: while in Hungary, the factory was privatized after the regime change and then it nearly went bankrupt in 2007, in the case of the Czech, it was a private investor, a certain Martin Wichterle who gave back its original glory in 2017 and who led the glass factory to the direction of contemporary trends. Today, the Rückl pieces can be found in all metropolises from Prague to Monaco, from Hamburg to Tokyo.

Rückl’s selection also includes pieces of traditional design and patterns (it is no coincidence that these collections were named after great rulers such as Marie-ThérèseGeorge IV and Rudolph II), but the glasses, vases, candy boxes and jugs designed by contemporary designers are in majority. Sculptor Rony Plesl stands out amongst them: he designed plenty of pieces for Rückl, including the „Metamorphoses” or „Odett” crystal vases, the „Alchemist” container and the „St. Nicholas” candy box. Our favorite is the “Love” series, featuring both a jug and a glass, in pink shade. In addition to Plesl, we must also mention the name of Kristyna Venturova, the designer of the beer glass titled “Storytellers.” On top of it all, they also collaborated with French painter Marine Julié for a limited collection for Wallpaper magazine: the unique pieces debuted at Milan Fashion Week last year.

SOA

Architect studio SOA was founded by Štefan Šulek, Ondřej Píhrt and Ondřej Laciga. It always makes our hearts skip a beat if we meet an architect studio that designs for the little ones. That’s what happened in the case of Guliver kindergarten designed by uniformarchitects, which we have already featured in our previous Slovakian selection and the kindergarten designed by the Architektiteam rising towards the sky in a grape arbor will also be discussed, there’s no need to worry.

We also found one at SOA: the elementary school we would very much like to visit was built in 2013 in the settlement of Psáry to the south of Prague. The cottages with pitched roofs hide roomy and sunny spaces, dominated by the color white and wooden materials – with some colors of course, to brighten up the plain space a bit.

Another work of SOA is the Martinez bar in Prague, which creates an intimate atmosphere with its dark tones, marbled surfaces, glimmering gold lamps and sanitary fittings (just what one would expect from a bar), only to surprise us with the most unexpected room while heading towards the inside of the building: a conservatory enriched with palm trees. You can also have some dim sum with your cocktails! 


In our biweekly series, we present the Czech, Slovakian and Polish brands and design spots that we consider worthy of being placed on our mental design map. It is a guide for those looking for something other than usual tourist sights.

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