Curator: Lenka Merglová Pánková
Graphic design: Eva Koktová
Almost half a century of active participation in the creation of porcelain tableware has made the sculptor Jiří Laštovička (born 1949) into an icon of Czech porcelain. Having graduated from the ceramics and porcelain studio of Professor Otto Eckert at the Academy of Arts, Architecture, and Design in Prague (1974), he designed his first shapes for the Design Facility in Lesov near Karlovy Vary. In 1981, when already a renowned artist, he joined the Institute of Home and Dress Culture (Ústav pro bytovou a oděvní kulturu, ÚBOK) in Prague, which functioned as a kind of central design studio tasked with advancing the technical and aesthetic quality of products in the Socialist era. Famous figures of the applied arts worked at ÚBOK (especially in the fields of glass and ceramics), and it was here that almost all of the designs and studies for contemporary Czechoslovak consumer goods were created. In the 1990s Jiří Laštovička maintained his close cooperation with the Karlovy Vary Porcelain Works as a designer at Porcela Plus, a. s. All this time, he designed the shapes of dinnerware, tea, and coffee sets for the Karlovy Vary Porcelain Works, subsequently for Thun 1794, a. s., THUN STUDIO, s. r. o., in Lesov, and other porcelain producers.
An eye for the functionality of the item and the needs of the consumer, or respect for the economic efficiency of the production process are as much the hallmarks of a good designer as aesthetic sensitivity and imagination. The designer’s aim should be to satisfy all these requirements without sacrificing the distinctions of individual creativity. However, Jiří Laštovička is also happy to exceed the strict, rational boundaries of product design and give free rein to his fantasy with projects in which he lays aside the humility of applied art and welcomes the opportunity for free and personal expression. While he stays true to porcelain in his artistic sculptures and symposium works, he also regularly accepts challenges to work with radically different materials.
A number of the dinnerware sets on display won major awards, and the great popularity of many of them have caused them to produced by Czech manufacturers for decades. All the while, new ideas, designs, individual shapes, and sets continue to appear in the studio of Jiří Laštovička.