The 2007 Designer of the Year for Czech Grand Design, Maxim Velčovský (b.1976), has designed a limited edition of The Vase of Vases for Křehký. Velčovský, who is usually linked with the production of the Qubus design studio, is represented in the Křehký exhibition collection by several pieces. However, with The Vase of Vases, he went farther than ever before in his conceptual approach.
Interview with Maxim Velčovský
How did The Vase of Vases come into existence?
Maxim Velčovský: When I was asked to contribute to the Křehký collection, it was clear to me that I would be allowed to experiment much more than usual. I could go further than I could in a standard industrial production because the collection would have a limit of fifty pieces.
The Vase of Vases is an imprint of several vases. Why?
Maxim Velčovský: Ever since I graduated from the AAAD in Prague, I have tried to find and check out where the boundaries of design are, what is design, and why objects look the way they do. Things we create are possible only through the experience of previous generations. Basically, we just repeat the same thing in a different context – in the context of technology, time, and place. Apart from other things, designers are inspired by fashion waves that have been or currently are underway, observe solutions of details on previous products, and try to work out how to harmonize technological and aesthetic parameters. The Vase of Vases is based on its predecessors; without them, it would have never been created. Its existence was caused by designers who were active before it emerged. These designers had to be born, live their lives, and create a specific object in a certain moment. I made a circle from their vases and then casted the interspace. Thus, the imprint of their bodies is an intersection of the tension between them.
What principle did you apply when selecting the vases? Which vases are imprinted on The Vase of Vases?
Maxim Velčovský: I placed vases with interesting structures on the table together with products that I respect and that have a specific importance. Thus, there were pieces by František Vízner, Tapio Wirkkala, Jiří Brabec, and Dan Piršč. The selection of vases for the final form depended on the combination and aesthetic evaluation. The procedure was very adventurous – one has to imagine the way the final result will look in the negative. I had to work with existing forms and simply modify their location.
You design vases very often. Why?
Maxim Velčovský: A vase is a kind of a “statement.” It is one of the few objects that can function on its own. When designing it, one can dare to experiment. A vase is a pedestal, a plinth for a flower, but also a sculpture. Some vases represent such a powerful artifact that their users do not dare put flowers into them. After all, thanks to vases and vessels, we know what the world looked like thousands of years ago, how people dressed, what they ate, and what hairstyles they preferred. Thanks to vases, we are able to decode an important part of our history. A vase is a kind of secret mirror of time. While other designer pieces are utilized and broken more often, vases remain in a quieter context in safer and often more significant places.
For what type of flowers is the Vase of Vases designed?
Maxim Velčovský: I would leave that to its users. But I do think field poppies or garlic in bloom may look good in the contrast of its extremely white color. However, The Vase of Vases would definitely work great with tropical flowers as well.
What types of flowers do you like?
Maxim Velčovský: I like the peculiar shapes of tropical flowers. Recently, I bought my girlfriend a flower that looked like a breast dressed in a laced blouse. I couldn’t take my eyes off it. On the other hand, I am also fascinated by simple flowers about whose existence we do not often know. I remember my Dad taking his friends from Belgium on a trip to Moravia in the 80s. They stopped by a field and were fascinated by the flowers that they could see planted everywhere. My Dad started laughing and had to explain that those flowers were potatoes. They had never seen potatoes in a different form than French fries. I suspect children at that time imagined French fries growing in pods on bushes like peas.
What do you appreciate the most about the Vase of Vases?
Maxim Velčovský: I appreciate its multi-perspectiveness. Its user can choose a different perspective every day. This vase contains several shapes at once – thus, one can choose the side he/she likes most at a specific moment, i.e. a minimalist one, a more ornamental one, or a geometrical one. The vase itself gives the impression of a ruin, an architectural ruin. This meaning emerged during the procedure, but is very symbolic.
What is your interpretation of the word “křehký” (fragile)?
Maxim Velčovský: I perceive the word “křehký” in relation to the thing or person I tend to take care of. Let us treat the planet like a porcelain vase!
More information www.krehky.cz
Váza váz (big and small version) s vázami, které ji daly tvar, foto: Václav Jirásek