Czech design firm Brokis has been on the cutting edge of lighting design for over a decade. During that time, the company has also made a name for itself in the design world in general. Its contemporary lighting collections have garnered attention worldwide for their clean aesthetic, imaginative glassmaking techniques, and fine craftsmanship.
Brokis’s connection to glassmaking runs deep. The company owns and operates out of the centuries-old Janštejn Glassworks in Bohemia, which was purchased by managing director Jan Rabell in 1997. Brokis’s artists have been hand-blowing elegant glass structures for lighting since the company was officially founded in 2006.
At the center of Brokis’ design process is art director and designer Lucie Koldova, whose tenure at the company has supported the release of some of Brokis’ most commended designs, including the Muffin collection, created in conjunction with designer Dan Yeffet, and the Capsula pendant lights. We recently had the chance to speak with Koldova, who shared her creative process, the trajectory of Brokis, and her personal highlights of life in the Czech Republic.
What does it mean for you to be the head designer at Brokis? How has your work at the company evolved over your tenure there?
A role of an art director is a big responsibility, and I am closely tied with the brand since we started together. I was very young and I conceived my first collections for (Brokis) after completing my studies. Of course, this was an ideal moment for the opportunity to come my way.
We became closer to each other, and nowadays, I believe we have a strong bond based on the similar values that we follow.
Can you describe the origin of a single piece from Brokis?
First, there is a phase of deep thinking and analyzing the strategy of the object. I need to know the direction of the piece before I begin. When I know the concept, I keep on sketching and searching for the right idea. Afterwards, we start some initial prototyping when we are sure about the idea.
How have you seen Brokis grow as a company and brand in the past few years? What makes you excited about the future for them/you?
Brokis is a family brand that started years ago, based on the history of Janštejn glassworks. This is a wonderful asset, even though it’s occasionally challenging to continue to support. The company has reached an incredible worldwide success in the past five years, and I am very glad to be able to follow and lead the brand strategy together with the family. I am excited about every new step and new collection!
How exactly does the history of Janštejn Glassworks factor into Brokis’ collections and pieces today? Do you feel the impact of that history as you design for the company?
I think I can feel the impact subconsciously when I visit the factory, when we share stories. The development of the brand–alongside with my own development–has been so quick that we still have so much to explore together.
It feels like there are so many ideas, and the company has grown at a rate that we have not always managed to take the time to experiment. Essentially, Brokis has taken off dramatically. In the near future, I hope for more time to discover and develop more from the past. At the moment, we are living in the present moment, and the future is bright.
You have a wide range of cultural experiences. How does “place” factor into Brokis’ pieces? Are there any places that are specially tied to certain works you have created?
Some pieces I’ve created were designed in Paris, while some other pieces were drawn in Prague or on the airplane.
When I am in the studio, I work with people–we have conversations about objects. Whereas, when I design a new collection, I am usually on my own–alone with my thoughts and associations. This is where my world and process originate, which is hard to explain.
Can you tell us one or two things that you love about living in the Czech Republic? Experiences, food, places?
I love it here for many reasons. It my natural space to move and create. I simply love how the country goes forward, and the capital is growing every year. I have great experiences and memories from our art university, which gave me a lot, and I am very grateful for that.
When it comes to food I prefer other cuisines than the heavy Czech one–French or Italian!
What is your favorite piece of home decor in your own space?
I have these marble fragments from older projects I did in the past. I like to be surrounded by half-finished pieces because they support my imagination. And I find that things that are “finished” are less interesting to me in a way.
How would you describe your home’s aesthetic?
I live in a large apartment with concrete surfaces and glass objects. It has clean and peaceful lines with contrasting details.
In a few words, what do you do when you need inspiration?
Nothing in particular. I try to be in a good mood and be in the places I like most.
Hand-in-hand, Koldova’s creativity and the glassworks at her disposal have resulted in some fantastic modern lighting pieces. To see more, check out our selection of Brokis designs.
Lauren Walters is a freelance writer and marketer who lives in Sacramento. She loves good design, cooking, and antique stores. When she's not writing or moving her furniture around her house, you can find her out hiking Northern California's amazing trails.