by Adam Štěch
The Czech Republic is famous for traditional handmade glass. Czech glass is associated with precise, handmade work created in old-fashioned factories using time-honored techniques. But two years ago the forward-thinking company Bohemia Machine—located in Světlá, the cradle of genuine Bohemian cut crystal—looked to create a way of producing high-end glassware using robotic technology.
Bohemia Machine was founded in 1992 as a company that supplied emerging private utility glassworks with grinding and cutting machines. But soon they turned their attention to producing their own glassware, and since 1996 they have evolved into a progressive manufacturer that is setting the bar high for new grinding and shaving techniques.
In 2009, Bohemia Machine introduced Bomma, an offshoot focused on working with young, innovative Czech designers. These collaborative pieces are produced using special robotic machines for precision-cut, "hi-tech" crystal. Bomma's creative director, Olgoj Chorchoj, established a Prague-based design and architectural studio and designers Michal Froněk and Jan Němeček selected prolific emerging designers to contribute to the range. The crystal collection includes pieces by Chorchoj himself, legendary modernist Czech glass artists František Vízner and Vratislav Šotola, designers Rony Plesl, Maxim Velčovský, Jiří Pelcl and Koncern Design Studio, as well as the younger talents like Mária Hostinová, Daniel Gonzáles and Jakub Pollág, among others.
All the new designs are based on very clear, minimalist silhouettes that serve as backgrounds for decorative patterns produced by a new generation of software-guided machines like the BM JACK. Each pattern is extraordinarily precise, and the machine can control the depth of each microscopic cut so well that patterns unachievable by man's hand are now a design option.
Vízner created a collection of drinking glasses using his signature clean architectural shapes and detailed them with a fine lace cut. The produced effect simultaneously creates an abstract decorative pattern and a functional surface for better grip and utility. Chorchoj generated the pattern behind his set of "Dots" drinking glasses using a dotted cut. "We have created a special space for decorating," explains Froněk, regarding Chorchoj's Dots collection. "In the middle of each cup, we placed a cylindrical body as a 'gallery,' which is an ideal space for ornamental decor. Afterwards we applied a number of elementary machine interventions: dots and dashes."
The Bomma label also includes Velčovský's "Klasik" set of archetypal forms—which are only decorated on the bottom of each base—as well as Pollág's "U" collection of carafes and wide bowl, which feature an indented, etched groove for easier handling.
Every piece uses cut decor to produce a practical function that allows for comfortable and enjoyable use as well as visual appeal. Select pieces can be purchased at Gurasu.
Images courtesy of Bomma