Czech it Out: Conferences, Castles and Countless Design Inspirations from the Czech Republic

It’s not every day you’re tasked with visiting the picturesque Czech Republic to rub elbows with some of the world’s greatest designers, but when duty calls, our team is known to step up. All joking aside, Kody Smith and Whitney Tidd were absolutely thrilled to be invited by our friends at mmcité to join them for The Street 2019 conference in Zlin, CZ. (Special thanks to Sean Smith at Jetty14 for the invite and hospitality!)

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As two of only a handful of American landscape architects invited to this exclusive event, they soaked in every moment they could. The conference, which included keynote speeches, presentations and networking sessions with industry greats, was held in an old factory, giving the entire event an appropriately industrial vibe. The town of Zlin itself is steeped in design history as the one-time home to the world-famous Bata shoe factory, making it easy to be inspired.

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After enjoying the insightful speeches centered around public space design, they boarded a bus to tour mmcité headquarters–a factory and warehouse full of food, drinks and music. Though the eats and drinks were a nice addition, the real showstopper for Kody and Whitney were mmcité’s furniture designs. The level of thought and craft they put into each of their pieces was inspirational to say the least, and a quality to which all designers should aspire.

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The following day, Kody and Whitney trekked on to the town of Brno, home of the famous Villa Tugendhat designed by the equally famous and influential architect, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe. Soaking in the beautiful simplicity of this villa, its “less-is-more” aesthetics, pure forms and beautiful materials, the team left for Prague yet again inspired by the artistry and skill at display.

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This would be where they would spend the remainder of the trip, enjoying time with some new friends, talking shop with fellow American landscape architects and soaking in this picturesque city. And with sites that included Prague Castle, St. Vitus Cathedral, Charles Bridge, Wallenstein Gardens and more, Kody and Whitney were kids in a candy store (or rather, landscape architects in Prague).

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After a few pilsners, walks along the river and quality people-watching in the city’s many coffee shops and squares, it was time to return home. However, Kody and Whitney came back with a few souvenirs: inspiration from mmcité’s commitment to quality, Villa Tugendhat’s beautifully simplistic architecture, Prague’s timeless landscapes and plenty of new friends and a deeper insight into our industry, both at home and abroad.

More pictures from our trip: