Located 150km south of Prague, lighting brand Brokis has emerged from the fires of the 150-year-old Janštejn glass factory. Since 1997, the glass works has been run by Jan Rabel, who started Brokis in 2007. Czech designer, Lucie Koldova joined the company as art director in recent years and has produced a range of designs, including lights Capsula and Lightlines, for the company since.
How did your collaboration with Jan Rabel and Brokis begin?
Lucie Koldova: It was a nice coincidence. An old teacher of mine from Prague told me that there was a new company starting up, a glass factory and a brand about to start a collection. He introduced me to Brokis and I was asked to make some proposals for glass lighting. This is how we started. First I made some design proposals – and a thick presentation – then I met with Mr. Rabel. As a designer, you would usually meet with the brand much earlier. You see the company, you take a look around, understand the technology, and afterwards you come up with ideas. For me, it was the other way around. I met with Brokis when I was just presenting.
You have been art directing Brokis for three years now, what is your vision for the company?
I don't have small goals. I would love Brokis to be among the five most powerful brands in Europe. In glass lighting Brokis is something special, it has an essence. In Flos or Artemide, they work with different materials and a variety of designers. Brokis started as a local company based on very strong Czech roots and this makes them special. They are also unique in the sense that they work specifically in glass.
In some of your earlier lights for Brokis, the lighting fixture was quite prominent. In your latest design, Lightline, the fixture is a lot less visible. In Brokis, are you developing new technologies in lighting?
It is certainly part of the idea to grow with trends, but I'm more interested in choosing the right source for each lamp or design. With Lightline, there is a small reflector, an empty volume and a projection plate. I don't use a filament bulb because it does make sense to do so and it does not project the right amount of light. With Capsula, we used a tube LED source. The idea behind each object stems from the sculpture and the source. It creates the character of the light. I don't start with a certain bulb or trend when I am designing. I usually have a vision that I want to reach and I first think about the typology.
How would you describe the design scene here in the Czech Republic?
It's blooming. My generation is quite productive and enthusiastic but we need more opportunities because we have only a few companies. I think my generation is shaping up the Czech design. We like to be a little bit ironic – especially in porcelain where we have strong names in narrative designs which stem from the communistic period. In ten years I think we will look back and be able to describe this period more easily but now, it is very dynamic.