Prague-based practice OV-A has recently completed the new headquarters of glassmaking company Lasvit. The architecture studio has renovated a pair of existing houses and added black and white house-shaped additions to form the translucent brand’s headquarters.
The overall design of the project reflects the longstanding tradition of glassmaking that Lasvit represents and promotes. The two traditional buildings from the early 19th century were completed with another two similarly sized and shaped abstract black and white volumes to create a harmonic and functional compound.
The first of the new buildings, seemingly composed entirely out of translucent glass, serves as an office café on the ground floor with an archive of the design samples on the floor above.
This large, well-lit rectangular space with an unusual concave dome ceiling with a grid pattern can be also used as a conference room, when enclosed.
The second building covered with black metal plates, which resemble the traditional cladding of slate plates used on roofs throughout the region, provides a four-story space partly hidden below the ground and is used for testing and presenting the full-scale products – chandeliers and light-sculptures weighing up to 5 tonnes.
The two culturally protected historical buildings were stripped of their various extensions and additions which were made within the two hundred years since their construction. Their facades have been carefully redesigned to its historical original state and the interiors were humbly reconstructed to work as an office space for the Lasvit company.
“We chose a house used by glassmakers as long as two hundred years ago, and breathed new life into it — a life intertwined with glass and with the roots of this traditional craft in this area, showing how traditional materials can be united with modern design and cutting-edge technology,” says Leon Jakimič, president of Lasvit.
The houses on Palackého Square in Nový Bor have been occupied by glassmakers since the late 18th century. Towards the end of the 19th century, house no. 171 was a glassworks belonging to the Carl Schappel company from Leipzig. after the second world war, glassmakers returned to the ancient wooden house on cast-iron pillars and set up a glassmaking school and filing shop. The second house, now part of Lasvit’s headquarters, was built in 1790 as a residence. Lasvit has carefully restored both these protected historic sites, and is dedicated to restoring the authentic glassmaking traditions of Nový Bor.