Annual “supermarket” highlights contemporary design


The annual DesignSupermarket gets underway in Prague on Thursday. Now in its eighth year, the event – which organizers call a selling exhibition – is an alternative to commercial shopping in crowded malls, offering a selection of hundreds of designer items. The event was originally established for young local designers who didn’t have an outlet for their products. I asked Darina Zavadilová, the head of DesignSupermarket, if this was still the case:

Tamar Levit (Muslin brothers), photo: CTKTamar Levit (Muslin brothers), photo: CTK “Actually, it was originally established for Czech designers, but about three years ago we decided to make the festival more international and therefore we decided to invite international designers as well. We are really happy that they are interested in our event and we have some very interesting guests this year.”

So what are the highlights of this year’s event?

“So the highlights are mainly the showroom which is a selling exhibition of design from various fields. Of course we have it every year, but I must say that this year it is the biggest ever.

Photo: CTKPhoto: CTK “Among other highlights are our guests from Israel. It’s a fashion duo called Muslin brothers. They are fashion activists and artists. They came to Prague in person and did a special installation of their products and they will also have a lecture within the accompanying programme.

“We will also have the representatives of a prestigious Dutch fashion festival called Fashion Clash. Its curators selected five Dutch designers who are presented here and they will also select two Czech designers who will be invited to take place at the Fashion Clash in Maastricht next year.”

This year the event takes place right at the Old Town Square. How did you actually choose the venue?

Photo: CTKPhoto: CTK “Actually we didn’t choose it. It was our only option, to be honest, because we chose the location of DesignSupermarket every year. We always try to find an interesting place which is not normally accessible to public. But it is difficult to find such place, because we need at least 2000 square metres and there are not that many empty building in the city centre.”

Can you tell me more about the venue?

“It’s a Renaissance building. It is a block of municipal houses right next to the Astronomical Clock. It’s really interesting because the visitors have an option to compare the DesignSupremarket venue, which is really precisely designed, and the traditional advent market at the Old Town Square with the Christmas Tree and so on.”

I guess DesignSupermarket is mostly about shopping. So why do you actually charge visitors?

Photo: CTKPhoto: CTK “That’s right. We charge visitors. The price is five Euros for an adult, but it’s not just for one day, it’s a festival pass for the whole four days and with this pass the visitor is allowed to come to any party, any part of the accompanying programme including the lectures of the foreign guess.

“Design Supermarket was established eight years ago as a selling exhibition but nowadays I would rather call it a cultural event, which is not only about shopping. It is also an exhibition which is relay precisely visually presented.”