Jiří Kejval: Eva Jiřičná helped us make a giant leap forward.
The first lady of Czech architecture will this year celebrate her eightieth birthday with a large retrospective exhibition at the Prague DOX centre. We are very happy to be involved in this exhibition linked as we are to Eva Jiřičná by over twenty years of friendship.
Our paths first crossed in 1997 when we worked on the interior of the Dancing House. In the years that followed we have worked together on a range of projects, both large and small, and this cooperation helped us as a firm to take a big step forward.
As a supplier of interiors for large projects we have worked side-by-side with many leading Czech and international architects. However, we would venture to say that Eva Jiřičná stands out from among them in many regards. Managing Director of TECHO, Jiří Kejval, emphasises that she is above all a gentlewoman in all situations: "she is a person with a strong creative vision and she is always ready to fight to see it implemented. Even though she can seem uncompromising to some, it is precisely this quality that helps her achieve results that others are not able to conceive. Nevertheless, even in the most complex situations I have never heard her utter any profanities," says Jiří Kejval. "Eva is a wonderful person and she has helped us greatly. She introduced us to many interesting people, for example Francis Duffy, author of the book The Modern Office, whose vision of the future office environment was long the driving force behind our business. Working with her is great schooling and I value her friendship hugely," adds Jiří Kejval.
Eva Jiřičná creates bold designs. Her approach to architecture and design is very original; working with her is always a great challenge and adventure, and this cooperation has helped our company take great strides forward. .
The words of Jiří Kejval are reiterated by members of the team that has worked with Eva Jiřičná and her team at AI DESIGN on the large projects of the Congress Centre and the Tomas Bata University, both in Zlín. They agree that when it comes to resolving specific technical issues, cooperation with Eva Jiřičná is exemplary. "It is possible to take several routes to achieve the same result, it all depends on how the cooperation is set up. Sometimes there can be friction between the parties," says Pavel Hanuš of TECHO. "Before our first meeting I expected that she would not spend much time with us; this is often the case with the big names. I was surprised how well prepared she was and how much she knew about even minor details across the whole project. Her down to earth style and willingness to listen to our opinions completely won me over."
Mutual respect and willingness to discuss problems are fundamental for the success of every large project. This is especially true in cases where new things are being implemented using processes and procedures that we have not used before - hi-tech materials and innovative construction elements.
The construction of the Congress Centre used a high degree of non-standard solutions. The interesting design solutions included special glass with an interior layer of silk and the curved bar on the ground floor, which was the first example in the Czech Republic of using a combination of acrylic sheet and a chipboard base.
"None of us had seen anything similar before and it was therefore very important at the outset for the architect and producer to agree on the method of installation. Together we then work out how to carry out the specific requirement and it’s often the case that the original idea is developed and modified. It is a long creative process," adds Pavel Hanuš.
The attention that Eva Jiřičná is able to devote to every detail is remarkable, particularly when you consider her overall workload: "During the construction work at the Congress Centre in Zlín we witnessed a situation where she travelled from Hong Kong for a control day. In London her connecting flight to Prague was cancelled. In order to attend the planned meeting she flew instead to Vienna and then took a taxi to Zlín. She was an hour and a half late and despite the very demanding journey she handled everything with professionalism and charm," remembers Pavel Hanuš.
Congress Centre Zlín
This multi-purpose complex in the centre of the major town of the Wallachia Region is a dominant architectural feature that many larger and more important cities would be proud of. The bold glass-clad building encases a congress centre and provides space for the holding of cultural and social events. The centre was furnished by TECHO together with PSG.
Installation took place in the autumn of 2010 and lasted around two months during which we furnished the interior with a combination of bespoke interior elements and standard furniture. In this case we supplied the standard Esprit desk system accompanied by bespoke items – both free standing and fitted. Some installations were exceptionally demanding, particularly from a materials perspective. The icing on the cake are the three bespoke bars and furnishing of the presidential saloon, where materials where used that were new to the Czech Republic.
Tomas Bata University in Zlín
The famous architect and native of Zlín approached the design of the five-storey university centre in Zlín with her typical panache. It was constructed right in the centre of Zlín from 2006 to 2008 and it houses the university library and chancellor's offices. Her signature is clearly visible in the design – a range of metal constructions and glass elements that share an extraordinary elegance and lightness.
TECHO also contributed as a supplier of furniture for the university library with five hundred study places.
Hotel Josef Praha
A hotel in the centre of Prague characterised by clean and simple aesthetics, transparent material worked into the design to evoke a sense of elegance and light in all forms. Of note are also the bathrooms separated from the bedrooms with partitions from crystal glass, or expertly crafted marble panels.
In the common areas you will find a further typical Eva Jiřičná design feature - a subtle steel spiral staircase with glass steps of the type that made her name when designing interiors for London boutiques.
The hi-tech style construction is multi-award winning – for example the Grand Prix of the Community of Architects
We thank AI - DESIGN for the kind provision of photographs.