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Prague: ARTĚL Style

Expert recommendations and insider tips for first-time visitors and locals alike from ARTĚL’s founder, Karen Feldman, who has lived in Prague since 1994. Click on the links below for detailed reviews – from Feldman’s own unique perspective – of all the best that Prague has to offer...





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Published on January 12th, 2017 in Basics

  • Original ARTĚL branding on textile, author unknown. (Photo credit: Artěl Umění pro všední den 1908 – 1935)

  • A page from Pavel Janák’s sketchbook, January 11 1919. (Photo credit: Artěl Umění pro všední den 1908 – 1935)

  • ARTĚL’s brand identity and logo design by Beverly Joel in 1998 -

In our previous post, we looked back nearly 20 years at how founder / director Karen Feldman’s fascination with traditional handmade Bohemian glassware led her to launch ARTĚL in 1998.  Given the clarity of Feldman’s concept and design aesthetic, it’s no surprise to learn that the company’s name was part of her vision from the very beginning.


As Feldman explains, ARTĚL takes its name from an early-20th-century collective of young Czech artisans whose dedication to preserving the traditional methods of handcraftsmanship led them to reject industrial production techniques.


Iconic Cubist ceramic box designed by Pavel Janák in 1911 for ARTĚL


Sometimes referred to as the “Czech Bauhaus” and closely related to Austria’s Wiener Werkstätte, the group was best known for bringing a modern, cubist approach to the field of ceramics, and for producing a wide range of handmade wooden boxes and toys. In short, according to one expert, its goal was "to introduce a modern aesthetic outlook into the field of applied arts and to help cultivate household design and the lifestyles of [Prague’s] residents.”

Wood Toy “Devil” designed by Václav Špála in 1921 for ARTĚL


“As soon as I learned about this group and their views on the importance of producing beautiful objects of impeccable quality, design, and functionality entirely by hand,” says Feldman, “I was inspired to build a company that would emulate both their modern ideals and traditional production methods. Their motto of ‘functional items of high design,’ perfectly describes what ARTĚL glassware has been about since day one, so the name was a natural fit.”


The original ARTĚL’s display at the annual Industrial Jubilee exhibition in 1908. (Photo credit: Artěl Umění pro všední den 1908 – 1935)


In upcoming posts, we’ll be taking a closer look each of at the traditional, centuries-old production techniques used by our team of skilled artisans. Can’t wait that long to learn the secrets of how our glassware is transformed from a molten blob to an exquisite piece of luxury crystal? Here’s a handy overview!