Bořek Šípek: Bohemian Post-Modern Baroque Design

Bořek Šípek is a world-renown architect, designer, and visionary who defies easy, simplistic categorization. His creativity is rooted in Czech-Bohemian, historic Baroque, and Post-Modernist design. His work is equally at home in the most contemporary building and the medieval Prague Castle.

Bořek Šípek (b. 1949 in Prague), is renowned for his singular, unique, vibrant and opulent style. He approaches design with unexpected and often lavish shapes, and is referred to as the progenitor of “neo-baroque” style. He maintains offices in Amsterdam, Prague, and Shanghai, was the architect of Prague Castle under the presidency of Václav Havel, and is a knight of the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres.

The life of Bořek Šípek is a Cinderella story about a boy subjected to the harsh realities of life who grows into a determined and successful adult. At the age of fifteen, he was orphaned (both mother and father died of cancer). At nineteen, Šípek graduated from an applied arts secondary school in Prague after studying furniture construction. Having nothing, he emigrated to Germany, where he made use of his studies working as a cabinetmaker. Šípek entered university in Germany and graduated from architecture school in Hamburg and a school of philosophy in Stuttgart. After teaching design at universities in Hannover, Essen and Prague for many years, in 2005 he earned the position of Dean of the Faculty of Architecture at the Technical University in Liberec, Czech Republic.

Šípek’s first significant success was a glass house he built for his sister, for which he was awarded the German Architecture Prize in 1984. Opportunities thereafter opened for Šípek, and he moved to Amsterdam for the liberal atmosphere of this city. Mid-1980’s, he was contacted by the noted Italian design company, Driade. Cooperation with Driade was the beginning of a skyrocketing career of “the most distinguished contemporary designer” who “evokes the longing for magic in this horrid realistic world.”

Driade published a new catalogue featuring only Šípek’s work and proved his importance to the company. At that time, only four people had their own catalogue – French Philippe Starck, Spanish Oscar Tusquets, Italian Antonia Astori, and Czech Bořek Šípek. He especially liked to design chairs, furniture, cutlery, glass, china, vases, lamps and home accessories.

Bořek Šípek has worked with the most prestigious design companies: Alessi, Cleto Munari, Driade, Maletti, Sawaya & Moroni in Italy; Vitra and Milus in Switzerland; Sévres and Daum in France; Rosenthal, Anthologie Quartett and Süssmuth in Germany; Leitner and Wittmann in Austria…

Bořek Šípek had more than 70 single exhibitions and his work is included in the collections of the most reputable world museums: Museum of Arts and Design in New York, Museum of Decorative Arts in Paris, Design Museum London, The Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam, Kunstmuseum in Düsseldorf, National Museum in Prague, Denver Art Museum…

More than thirty books and catalogues presenting Šípek’s work and life have been published, so far…

How is it that Šípek resolves the seeming conflict of Bohemian Post-Modern Baroque design? I think he answered the question well when he said, “I try to interpret new contexts in a new way. It is much closer to me to newly explain something that has roots than to experiment. Tradition has always been a greater inspiration for me than experimentation.”

Architecture & Architectural Elements

Arzenal, Šípek’s personal design shop in Prague

Ajeto, the Czech glassworks established by Šípek

Prague Castle, where Šípek served as Architect of Record during the Vaclav Havel presidency.

President Vaclav Havel’s Official State Office

President Vaclav Havel’s personal office at Prague Castle

Townhouses in Netherlands

Glashause Šípek designed for his sister in Netherlands

Apartments in Prague

Šípek’s kitchen in his own home

Furniture

Believe it or not, this is a coat tree!

A beautiful wool rug for Driade

Blown Glassware

Lighting

Porcelain

Metal Accessories


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