In detail: Okolo’s Prague show pays tribute to modernist architecture

Side view of the show at the Prague Academy of Arts and Design featuring a long table filled with upright photographs in a room with white walls and grey flooring. There is black text on the back wall
Adam Štěch curated ’Homage To Detail’, an exhibition at the Prague Academy of Arts and Design created together with his Okolo collaborators Jan Klos and Matěj Činčera. Photography: Peter Fabo
(Image credit: Peter Fabo)

Architecture and design curator and writer Adam Štěch is passionate about 20th-century architecture. His work has always been inspired by extensive trips across Europe – and beyond – in search of hidden modernist gems (many of which have featured in the pages of Wallpaper*). Now, Štěch teamed up with graphic designers Jan Kloss and Matěj Činčera to put together a new show at the Prague Academy of Arts and Design, presenting and celebrating his finds.

Going through his large photographic archive of modernist architecture, which he developed organically through ten-years’ worth of travels, Štěch created an atlas of architectural and interior details. Lighting, seating, storage, tables, railings, doors, windows and more are presented in the exhibition through photos carefully arranged on a long table. These items not only represent a meticulous study of modernist detailing, but also ‘tell stories of the versatile skills of the modernist architects’, explains Štěch. His discoveries come from all across the globe – a large part from Europe, but also Australia, America and Asia. 

Founding members of the Okolo collaborative, a creative group established in 2009 that focuses on design in all its forms, Štěch, Kloss and Činčera are no strangers to creating beautiful and informative displays. ‘Homage To Detail’ is no different. Spanning hundreds of examples and revealing work by lesser-known architects, this is a captivating exhibition, which was first presented in London as ‘Objects of Refinement’. This show is even bigger and better. ‘We are very pleased to present an extended version of the exhibit on our home soil in the UM gallery,’ adds Štěch.

Front view of the show at the Prague Academy of Arts and Design featuring a long table filled with upright photographs in a room with white walls and grey flooring. There is black text on the back wall

The show focuses on modernist architecture’s details, such as lighting, seating, handrails and tables. Photography: Peter Fabo

(Image credit: Peter Fabo)

Close up view of photos on a table at the show at the Prague Academy of Arts and Design

Delving into his extensive personal photographic archive, Štěch created an atlas of modernist details, spanning Europe, Asia, Australia and America. Photography: Peter Fabo

(Image credit: Peter Fabo)

A light fixture featuring rows of lights at the Manzoni Theatre in Milan

Part of the show, lighting at the Manzoni Theatre in Milan by Alziro Bergonzo (1946-1950). Photography: Adam Štěch

(Image credit: Adam Štěch)

Grey and multicoloured mosaic walls featuring people and animals at an apartment building in Turin

Mosaic walls at an apartment building in Turin by Chico (1950s). Photography: Adam Štěch

(Image credit: Adam Štěch)

Small numbered storage units on a brick wall at Casa Prieto-López in Mexico City. The space features grey flooring, a patterned ceiling and a pendant light

Kitchen storage at Casa Prieto-López in Mexico City by Luis Barragán (1948-1951). Photography: Adam Štěch

(Image credit: Adam Štěch)

Red and wooden chairs and wooden tables with curved legs at the Czech Embassy in Berlin. The space features wood panelled walls and wood flooring

Armchair at the Czech Embassy in Berlin by Věra and Vladimír Machoninovi (1978). Photography: Adam Štěch

(Image credit: Adam Štěch)

A room filled with dark coloured chairs and round tables on checked flooring at Hotel Okura in Tokyo

Armchairs at Hotel Okura in Tokyo by Yoshiro Taniguchi and Collective (1962-1974). Photography: Adam Štěch

(Image credit: Adam Štěch)

A long, light coloured sofa with four wide seats, armrests and shield style designs on the backrests at Hilversum Town Hall. The space features large marble tiles on the wall and dark tiled flooring

Sofa at the Hilversum Town Hall by Willem Marinus Dudok (1931). Photography: Adam Štěch

(Image credit: Adam Štěch)

Two side-by-side photos of a brown patterned door by Holgar & Holgar and a grey control panel on a stand by Maxime Old

Left, a door at the Kurtz Residence in Melbourne by Holgar & Holgar (1973) and right, control panel at the port of Marseilles offices in Paris by Maxime Old (1971). Photography: Adam Štěch

(Image credit: Adam Štěch)

INFORMATION

'Homage To Detail' is on show at the Prague Academy of Arts and Design until 17 February 2018. For further information visit the website (opens in new tab)

ADDRESS

Gallery UM
UMPRUM
nám. Jana Palacha 80
Prague 1
Czech Republic

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Ellie Stathaki is the Architecture Editor at Wallpaper*. She trained as an architect at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki in Greece and studied architectural history at the Bartlett in London. Now an established journalist, she has been a member of the Wallpaper* team since 2006, visiting buildings across the globe and interviewing leading architects such as Tadao Ando and Rem Koolhaas. Ellie has also taken part in judging panels, moderated events, curated shows and contributed in books, such as The Contemporary House (Thames & Hudson, 2018) and Glenn Sestig Architecture Diary (2020).