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DAGMAR KOUDELKOVÁ (1965)
Art historian and design curator. From 1990 to 2001 she worked in the Moravian Gallery in Brno, and since 2002 has been Curator at the Design Centre of the Czech Republic. Her main fields of interest are furniture and furnishings from the interwar years, bentwood furniture and contemporary design. She has organised a number of exhibitions by Czech and foreign designers.

SECOND SERVICE

AN INTERVIEW WITH DAGMAR KOUDELKOVÁ, CONSULTANT FOR THIS CHAPTER

WHAT APPEALS TO YOU ABOUT THAT PERIOD?
Freedom, freedom in the arts and a broad spectrum of opinion. The post-revolution era brought radical changes to the existing structures, and opened the way to experiment, people looked for new approaches, with the emphasis on novel designs.

WHAT DID THAT PERIOD CONTRIBUTE TO CZECH DESIGN?
When large state-owned companies and cooperatives were closed, privately owned architecture and design studios were founded.. Education also underwent fundamental changes, and important designers from other countries were invited here to teach. The nineties brought a young generation of designers who also had good management skills and clear ideas on how to present their work. Opening up access to other countries played an important role, as did the opportunity to visit trade fairs and exhibitions abroad.

WHAT EVENTS DO YOU THINK HAD THE GREATEST INFLUENCE ON CZECH DESIGN?
Designers could work with new materials such as corian, perspex and carbon fibre, and with new technologies, lasers for instance. Important factors were Bořek Šípek’s work at the Academy of Arts, Architecture and Design and Olgoj Chorchoj’s exhibition at the Milan Furniture Fair.

WHAT WERE YOUR CRITERIA FOR SELECTING INDIVIDUAL EXHIBITS?
It was based on the qualities of the designs, their originality and their technical parameters.

IS THERE ANYTHING FROM THOSE YEARS THAT YOU WOULD CALL TYPICALLY CZECH?
An unconventional approach to routine assignments, with ironic exaggeration and a sense of humour.

IF YOU WERE ON A DESERT ISLAND AND COULD TAKE THREE OBJECTS FROM THAT PERIOD WITH YOU, WHICH ONES WOULD THEY BE? I’d definitely take the Agnes the Sperm teaspoon, and one of Tescoma’s kitchen products, so I’d have something to use the teaspoon in.