Symbol of the new wave of Czech design, the design duo LLEV evolves in a singular universe. Their multiple creations register with requirement in a temporality in phase with nature.
“Mother Nature” sounds like a cry from the heart… This is the title of the last presentation, by Eva Mochalová and Marcel Mochal, at Design Block 2021, which took place in the historic building of the Museum of Decorative Arts in Prague, in a very remarkable scenography. Decorative panels of wallpaper with dark foliage, wooden bench and table with a rigorous design, glassware and sophisticated ceramics… Over the collections, the objects add up without really any apparent link, without contradicting each other… A red thread that belongs to them, unites them under the name of LLEV, in reference to the lion, the emblem of the country (“lev” is the lion in Czech).“Our work is influenced by our dreams and our life, as well as by the materials… It results from our research linked to the traditional craftsmanship and know-how of our region, which results in products made to order and limited editions , for galleries or brands such as Ton, Jika, Bomma. Our first objective is to develop a design based on form and function, but also the message…”
These confirmed creators met on the benches of the Academy of Arts and Architecture (UPRUM) in Prague, studying the arts of porcelain and ceramics for Eva, the art of glass for Marcel. After personal journeys in Europe, they founded their studio in 2004, an experimental laboratory, located in Turnov in the region of Paradise Bohemia, the oldest protected landscape area in the Czech Republic, included in the UNESCO geo-parks. An inexhaustible source of inspiration, landscapes are the most inspiring places for these open and curious designers. In the meanders of footpaths or rocky castles, they anchor their universe in the heart of green hills, worthy of fairy tales, populated by brave knights and bearded thieves, without any naivety… “We work a lot on intuition, with modern methods and in compliance with our customers’ requirements. We are both artists, designers and dreamers.
In 2009, they discovered in Indonesia the traditional craft techniques of the textile art of batik and the manufacture of wooden objects. This study trip resulted in the Oldman table, the Laba-Laba garden furniture in old teak wood, for the Czech ecological house builder Manumade. Pursuing the quest for know-how, in particular that of glass, a must in the Czech Republic, they participate in the International Glass Symposium (IGS) in Novy bor in 2012, and in each session of the Design Block in Prague where their work is widely recognized. has been awarded several times (best product in 2016 for the Moon table).
Research is central to the well-honed mechanics of their work; the idea germinates from the very typology of the product as well as from the material. There is always a particular story to tell. If wood, glass, paper are familiar to them, the inseparable tandem passes from one material to another, with disconcerting ease. The original prints come from plant motifs collected during walks in the bucolic landscape of Bohemia, while the design of the kitchen cutting boards (Kvaadr), was developed with Richlite, a compact composite, made from paper. recycled kraft and resin. With an attraction for glass linked to the density of crystal factories in the region, Eva and Marcel explore new, sometimes amazing processes. Witness the small series, Smooth and Innatura, made of blown glass in mycellium moulds. This natural phenomenon has already been experienced for ten years by many designers; but the way in which LLEV seizes it, has resulted in innovative and sensitive objects. 100% recyclable, made up of mycellium (a mushroom chosen locally), the mold shapes different imprints each time by being consumed by the heat of the blown glass paste, underlining the unique character of each piece of production.
The magic of Mother Nature operates, through fire and the natural growth of the mushroom, thus playing with time and chance! Both committed to the preservation of natural resources, Eva and Marcel try to limit their impact during the production of objects, towards a sustainable design, not to depend on an industrial system, to be self-sufficient in order to live in symbiosis with the planet. Another experiment, this time resulting from know-how, the use of the old “technique of the iris” of Art Nouveau. The collection of Nueevo polygonal faceted vases is directly influenced by this prosperous period of Decorative Arts production. As in each project, specific to their approach, the technique is diverted there, until obtaining the desired effects of coloring by spraying a special emulsion applied to hot glass. But LLEV does not reveal all its manufacturing secrets…
Know-how and transmission
For 18 years, LLEV has been designing products between traditional craftsmanship and modern techniques, and implicitly tends towards the transmission of knowledge. “Our most precious tools are intuition, courage, a black marker and paper…” Through teaching, which he has been teaching since 2008 in schools of applied arts in the Czech Republic – a gift, according to his admiring wife Eva – Marcel is convinced that students must know craftsmanship, learn to handle both the pencil and computer software. Thanks to his ability to listen and advise, he encourages them to pursue their dreams, while remaining themselves. In order to extend and preserve their projects, to mark a period in their professional life, LLEV has designed a visual diary, Showcase, bringing together their production but also a patchwork of documents, photos, graphics and interviews. “Since our beginnings, our philosophy has not changed much, we need work discipline, every day to create. »
Adam Štěch, theoretician of design and architecture, editor of the book, defines them as follows: “They both reflect the revival of Czech design, in a different approach, while drawing their inspiration from nature with humility. and integrity. »