(adam štěch) One of the exhibition projects of the Design Experimenta biennial that took place in Amsterdam during September was entitled “Come to My Place.” Within this project, designers from all over the world presented their view of home. Among the participants, one could find Qubus Design Studio’s vision of home, bearing a very interesting flavor, especially at Christmas time.
The Dutch exhibition is organized every two years. It focuses on the thin line between contemporary design and conceptual approaches to visual arts. One part of this year’s biennial was situated in a newly opened building of the Westerhuis Gallery that also housed the experimental “Come to My Place” exhibition.
The curator of the exhibition, Guta Moura Guedes, sought to map original approaches of designers from all over the world to the term “home.” Home, house, and household rank among the most personal and emotional themes in life. Home is where we live and can determine the way our life unwinds. Nobody will hear a word against their home. The designers were asked to create the essential feelings of their country, city, and residence in the assigned space of a few square meters. The participants included Folkform from Sweden, Tobias Wong and Aric Chen from the USA, OVO from Brazil, and the designer duo of Polka from Austria. Thus, the diversity of designer individualities and their life stories from different countries offered a wide-angle look at the phenomenon of the home. The exhibition not only tries to show the personal feelings of the individual designers, but also attempts to create an overall picture of the given country, its traditions, culture, and identity.
Maxim Velčovský and Jakub Berdych, a.k.a. Qubus Design Studio, created the Bistro Prague project in which they mingle their own immediate feelings and experiences with Czech clichés and typical attributes of the once socialist and now capitalist society in the Czech Republic. Thus, an extraordinary snack bar was born in the assigned space whose every detail referred to various social issues of our country. The interior consisted of plywood panels that the designers upholstered with second-hand clothes. Shopping in second-hand stores – a very popular phenomenon in Czech society – symbolically turns into a luxury decoration. A well-preserved trouser pocket becomes a safe hiding place for a piece of cutlery stolen from a snack bar at Wenceslas Square. Here, gardening has the form of a ready-made chandelier consisting of green plastic watering cans that illuminates the whole space together with crystal chandeliers. Individual bar tables depicted the typical attributes of Czech households: a plastic scale accompanied by a meat-mincer, bread with a slicer, cups, and an aluminum milk can in contrast with Qubus products. The picture of our home was complemented with a metal dustbin. Is there such a big mess at our place?
Bistro Prague is a summary of the good and bad values of Czech society. However, this summary is not presented in a solitary isolated environment, but in the space from which these values arise – i.e. at home. Thus, the visitors – using their imagination – are able to find out how delicious a typical Czech salad is in the traditional setting of a Czech snack bar.