Factory: Chlum u Trebone
Designer: Pavel Hlava
Date of design: c1972
Pavel Hlava’s studio vases are almost iconic in the lexicon of postwar Czech glass. Although the studio glass movement was gathering pace outside Czechoslovakia at this time, and Hlava had had direct experience of this when he visited London’s Royal College of Art, it was never really taken up as an separate movement in Czechoslovakia. Unique forms of art glass were created, but these were made primarily in factories, and typically by glassmakers, rather than by the designers themselves. Heat-sensitive glass was Hlava’s favoured material, and allowed him to explore colour. Known as ‘Garnet’, this vibrant colourway was a speciality of the Chlum u Trebone factory and also a favourite of Hlava’s. From a limited production series, this example crosses the divide between mass-produced, inexpensive ranges and his ultra-rare unique studio pieces.
The glass mixture contained colloidal gold so that when parts were reheated, they changed colour and tone. The hotter the glass and the longer it remained hot, the deeper and stronger the colour. Most examples graduate from yellow to red, but some also include greens and blues. Hlava’s vases are more sculptural than functional. He introduced internal protrusions for a series of vases made for the 1960 Milan Triennale. They explore the internal space and create an optical effect in combination with the undulating form. They were created by pushing the hot, soft walls inwards using pins, rods or spatulas. Forms vary widely, but are typically geometric. Compared to factory-produced commercial ranges, few were made and Hlava’s signature adds greatly to the desirability of this fine example in a known shape, which was exhibited in a gallery in Germany in the early 1970s.
8in (19.5cm) high, 7.75in (18cm) wide.
This example is similar to a series of vases and vase objects shown in Czechoslovak Glass Review in 1973, in an article called New Products From A Glassworks With Longstanding Traditions. Detail images shown here are taken from this article.
About The Designer
Pavel Hlava (1924-2003) studied at the Specialised School of Glassmaking at Zelezny Brod from 1939-42. He continued his training at the Academy of Applied Arts in Prague, studying under Professor Karel Stipl. From 1948-59, he was an independent artist and designer who collaborated with the influential Centre for Design in the Glass & Ceramic Industry. In 1959, he moved, becoming a designer in the glass department at the Centre for Homes & Fashion Culture. He taught at the Royal College of Art in London in 1967, and worked as an independent glass artist and designer from 1985. Highly innovative and experimental, he is best known today for his monolithic cased vases, his dynamic use of colour and exploration of internal space, and his progressive work in studio glass, which resulted in many unique works.