Size matters at ‘The Small House’ architecture exhibition

07-10-2009

All this week, events are taking place around the capital to celebrate contemporary Czech design, as part of Prague’s Designblok festival. On Tuesday night, ‘The Small House’ - an exhibition of modern, compact, living spaces - opened at Prague’s Academy of Arts, Architecture and Design. I went along to find out if less really was more, and meet the architects behind the project:

“My name’s Jakub.”

“I’m David.”

“I’m Marta.”

“And I’m Lenka.”

And are all of you professional architects working for A1Architects?

Jakub: “Three of us are architects and one of us is a graphic designer.”

Marta: “I am the graphic designer.”

So, can you tell me what the concept of this project is first of all?

Jakub: “I’ll try, but it is hard enough in Czech! The concept of the whole exhibition is to develop several proposals for houses or places to live which go away from the conventional ideas.”

Lenka: “We tried to work with size, that is the main idea of this exhibition – the small house - and we tried to show that living in a small house can have the same quality as living in a big house. And this all comes from our experience with our clients who have limited funds. So we try and propose to them ‘okay, you can have a smaller house, with more quality inside, with a better interior and maybe better living’.”

You say in the forward to the exhibition next door that the inspiration for your work often comes from childhood. Among other things, you have a model for a ‘slide house’ in there. How exactly does childhood link into your work?

Marta: “Yes, because I am not an architect and so for me it was a new experience to try and build a house, I was preparing and thinking about my dreams. And for me it is a dream to have a house with a slide which looks like this.”

Next door, you have lots and lots of very small models, and then you have, bang in the middle, quite a big circle that children were playing in when last I looked. What is this? Is this a realization of one of these models?

Jakub: “This biggest house in the whole exhibition is the biggest model of the smallest house. The scale is 1:1 and we just wanted to show that here we have models, and here is the reality – here are the real proportions. People might say ‘look at these models! They are too small, we wouldn’t feel comfy or cosy in them’, and so we showed one little house and how it would look if you start to think differently about the space.”

The Small House exhibition runs at Prague’s Academy of Arts, Architecture and Design until October 27. More details can be found in English on the designblok festival’s website, which is www.designblok.cz.

07-10-2009