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JANEK JAROS (1961)
Owner of the Modernista shop in Prague. Originally a professional musician, today his shop specialises in twentieth-century Czech design. He also makes reproductions of furniture and accessories, primarily from the era of Czech Cubism and Functionalism. Recently he has contributed to exhibitions documenting the work of JindÝich Halabala and Vlastislav Hofman.

A FASCINATION WITH FUNCTION

AN INTERVIEW WITH JANEK JAROS, CONSULTANT FOR THIS CHAPTER

WHAT APPEALS TO YOU ABOUT THAT PERIOD?
It isnít so long ago for it to be too remote from me, and not so recent that my own experiences are bound up in my ideas about it. Iím sure I idealise it, but thereís much I like there. It seems to me to be optimistic and (almost) free of inferiority complexes. Modern, and yet simultaneously laden with tradition. Elegant, carefree, sometimes decadent and yet full of hard work, painstaking building and searching.

WHAT DID THAT PERIOD CONTRIBUTE TO CZECH DESIGN?
There was a unique combination of the creative spirit, industry and capital. People with modern, progressive ideas had an opportunity to put those ideas into practice, to build, manufacture and sell.

WHAT EVENTS DO YOU THINK HAD THE GREATEST INFLUENCE ON CZECH DESIGN?
The founding of Czechoslovakia, opening the young republic to the world, flourishing relations with other countries, and enlightened and bold investors.

WHAT WERE YOUR CRITERIA FOR SELECTING INDIVIDUAL EXHIBITS?
I thought it important for the selection to consist of objects that had an impact. I chose designs that didnít end on the drawing board, or in a few prototypes, but found their way to users and became part of daily life.

IS THERE ANYTHING FROM THOSE YEARS THAT YOU WOULD CALL TYPICALLY CZECH?
No.

IF YOU WERE ON A DESERT ISLAND AND COULD TAKE THREE OBJECTS FROM THAT PERIOD WITH YOU, WHICH ONES WOULD THEY BE?
No question: JindÝich Halabalaís 1931 reclining armchair, Orion chocolate and the Swift Arrows comic books.