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Borek Sípek

(b. 1949)


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(1949– )

Sípek studied furniture design at the School of Applied Arts, Prague, architecture at the Academy of Fine Arts, Hamburg, philosophy at the University of Stuttgart, and later took a doctorate in architecture at the University of Delft. His practical, philosophical, and theoretical background was significant in establishing him as an important and original Postmodernist designer.

Like many others he left Czechoslovakia in 1968 and has subsequently worked for a number of international clients, including furniture designs for Driade in Italy, Leitner in Austria, Gallery Néotu in France, and Vitra in Switzerland. He has also become well known for idiosyncratic interiors and adventurous tableware designs as well as imaginative work in glass, including work in Murano, Venice, and for Novy Bor and Ajeto in the Czech Republic. Amongst many major commissions are the Karl Lagerfeld boutique in Paris, the Opera House in Kyoto, and the façade of the Komatsu department store in Tokyo. In 1992, as architect for Prague Castle, he was commissioned to design the interior of the president's study, the new art gallery, and other projects. Having taught design theory at the University of Essen between 1979 and 1983, he settled in Amsterdam and established the Alterego firm with designer David Palterer. From 1986 Sípek designed for the Steltman Gallery, Amsterdam, a collection of more than 100 limited edition designs, including furniture, lighting, and vases. In 1990 he was made head of the Studio of Architecture and Design at the Academy of Arts, Architecture, and Design in Prague where his originality and experience made a significant impact. In 1998 he was appointed as Professor of Design at the University of Applied Arts in Vienna. He has exhibited widely, including solo shows at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs, Lyon (1987), the Stedelijk, Amsterdam (1990), the Vitra Design Museum, Switzerland (1992), the Denver Art Gallery, USA (1996), and the National Museum, Prague (1998).

Subjects: Industrial and Commercial Art.


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