London Design Festival 2016: “Breathless” at Brompton Design District

Exploring the essence of glass production and design with designers, glassblowing and workshops

With a theme of transformation guiding all the works within the Brompton Design District at this year’s London Design Festival, the Czech Centre London set to construct an application of this theme upon our understanding of glassblowing. The resulting exhibition, “Breathless,” does so in a way that captures the history of Czech glassblowing in stark contrast to its consistently unconventional developments. Both glass creation and application are addressed, and organizers DECHEM Studio and OKOLO bring their distinct approaches to enlighten the glass process at every stage.

There are 30 variations of glass use and form on display within the exhibition. This ranges from future-forward iterations to the depths of history (be that artistic or practical). Materials range from fiber glass to sheet glass, and more. Among the contemporary pieces, DESCHEM prepared a new collection of objects designed solely for the exhibition—with each aimed to highlight the studio’s method of production. But more than just presentations, “Breathless” encourages visitors to get hands-on. This includes both workshops and on-site glassblowing. For the latter, professional glassblowers partner with designers Tomás Alonso, Studio Swine, Michael Anastassiades and Marcin Rusak to manifest products that reveal varied techniques for working with glass.

Perhaps most strikingly, a mobile glass furnace has been installed. This isn’t a mock-up, but a petite glass studio operated by real craftspeople. From raw material to finished product, along with traditional instruments, the entire process will be frequently and realistically charted. Overall, it’s a worthy stop for anyone interested in the historic skill and where it’s moving.

Breathless” is open today through 25 September, at 1 North Terrace, London.

Images courtesy of Czech Centre London