Reinventing Czechoslovakian Glass

Leon Jakimac is intent on creating Bohemian perfection.

It’s what he calls the brand essence of Lasvit, the company he founded after graduating from Loyola in 1999 and earning his MBA from Northwestern’s Kellog School of Management in Hong Kong.  His  firm designs and manufactures contemporary light fittings, glass art installations and award-winning lighting collections.

The Bohemian reference implies a free-spirited inspiration for the products his firm designs, while it pursues perfection in a systematic and precise manufacturing process.  The company’s name is a marriage of two Czech words: laska (love) and svit (light).

“We always want to combine the history of Czech design, based on Bohemian glass traditions, with new ways of thinking about it,” he says.   “One of our goals is to bring back the Czechoslovakian glass tradition that was nearly lost during the socialist period.”

The firm is known for engaging internationally-known designers, including Oki Sato of Nendo Studio.  “He’s the hottest designer in the world right now – he was Wallpaper’s designer of the year in 2011,” he says.  “He’s developing totally new concepts in blown glass – the products look simple, but they’re complex in the production process.

Among the products the Japanese designer has developed for Lasvit are glass coffee tables as well and lighting collections.

Lasvit’s custom-made glass installations are featured in public spaces of major hotels like the Four Seasons in Abu Dhabi.  The firm has collaborated on projects with architects Norman Foster and Zaha Hadid.

Its architectural glass division uses large scale thermo shaping to create glass panels of liquid crystals for interiors and facades.  Another division focuses on lighting collections that create art in glass and crystal, while a fourth is dedicated to a glassware line.

But it’s the firm’s commitment to the resurgence of a thousand-year-old art and tradition of Czech glass design that inspires most.

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