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Nanovo

The source for Communist-era Czech vintage design treasures

by CH Contributor in Design on 14 August 2012

Adam Štěch

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Providing arguably the most comprehensive collection of salvaged modernist design from the former Czechoslovakia or Eastern and Central Europe is Prague-based Nanovo. Founded by Adam Karásek and Jiří Mrázek two years ago, the online shop is a platform for collecting and selling vintage, mostly anonymous pieces from furniture and lighting to glass, ceramics and other accessories.

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Czech modernist design from the 1950s through the 1980s is slowly becoming a strong collectible phenomenon, but still only in very local dimensions. The designs are mostly composed of anonymous furniture made in large state-directed factories during the second half of the 20th century. In keeping with the classical features of French, Italian and American designs during the same period, the Czech pieces offer an advantage to collectors for their relatively lower price points than those found at auction or prestigious galleries in other regions.

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Due to the their origin during the Communist era, these furniture, lightning and other pieces are associated with unfortunate political and industrial memories for many people. Mrázek and Karásek want to change the overall view of these beautiful pieces, which could stand next to the works of famous design icons.

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Ten years ago, almost no one cared about these pieces, and they were discarded. However, with the rising interest of resourceful contemporary designers and collectors, prices have started to increase for vintage Czechoslovakian design, priming them to become a sensation in that realm. That said, it seems as though now is the time to visit Nanovo to discover some great pieces that are just now breaching the global marketplace. Lovers of vintage design—long overloaded with repetitive pieces on the world market—are sure to find a few surprises from the Czech boutique.

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Nanovo is not only about vintage design. The founders are searching for a connection between modernist pieces with new innovative approaches to their presentation and exhibition. Collaborating with the young graphic designer Filip Matějíček, they have created a pure visual presentation as well as a great website. With photographer Jakub Vlček, they have collaborated on a series of wonderful images presenting their work in the context of abandoned spaces. In addition, Nanovo has also branched out from the online format, organizing occasional pop-up stores within industrial spaces around Prague.

For more information and to browse the selection, visit the site.

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