The uniqueness of the Zikmund Villa lies, among other things, in the impeccably preserved original furniture from the 1950s. Its design is a collaboration between architect Zdenek Plesník and designer Miroslav Navrátil. The choice of furniture was also significantly influenced by Miroslav Zikmund himself, who had specific ideas about the furnishing of his household. The result of the cooperation of the three mentioned personalities is an airy and at the same time fully utilised interior, which is dominated by storage spaces and a collection of bentwood veneer furniture.

Miroslav Navrátil made full use of his knowledge of wood bending technology, which he gained while working in a company producing skis and sleds. (The cantilever lamps with a rotating arm in the living room and study were also created following this same process.) The armchairs and tables in the communal part of the house are complemented by a modular system of detachable sofas, from which different variations of furniture can be easily created – a lounger, an armchair, or a sofa.

Timeless interior

The choice of materials was limited greatly due to post-war shortages. A combination of light ash wood and beige plastic laminate from Fatra in Napajedla intertwines across the villa. A recurring element are also the “teeth” – grooved veneer supports that enable the shelves to be positioned according to the height of the stored contents in the given cabinet. At the same time, this is not the only improvement. Also worth mentioning is the pull-out projection screen in the library, the double-sided map in the study, the modular exhibition wall in the living room, and the service lift leading from the upstairs bathroom through the kitchen to the basement. Even though the households of Jiří Hanzelka and Zdenek Plesník were also equipped with similar furniture, the complete set can only be seen today in the Zikmund Villa.

Kredit: Onomono Photography

A few words about designer Miroslav Navrátil

Miroslav Navrátil, acquired his first craft skills in the workshop of his father, furniture maker Josef Navrátil. He soon supplemented the skills he acquired with professional education – he trained as a carpenter at the Master Furniture School in Valašské Meziříčí, studied at the Brno University of Technology and the School of Applied Arts in Prague. He was held in a concentration camp during the Second World War. After his return, he worked for TON for a while. His main place of work, however, became the newly established Institute of Development of the Furniture Industry, later known as the Furniture Research and Development Institute, where he worked as a designer and development worker.

Navrátil’s first serious accomplishment was furniture for his own home by architect Zdenek Plesník, with whom he had collaborated on the designs. From this experience, came the subsequent collaboration on furniture for Plesník’s three villas in Zlín (Zikmund, Hanzelka, and Liška). Among Navrátil’s widely used designs is, for example, a shell chair for the Vertex company, which was used on trams. Miroslav Navrátil’s creations were also regularly featured at fairs and exhibitions, not only in his own country, but also in Paris, Moscow, Amsterdam, Valencia, and Milan, where he received the Jury Award for Design (1960) for his design of a “television chair”.

Miroslav Navrátil

* 23. 8. 1913, Boršice (okres Uherské Hradiště), † 14. 4. 1999, Uherské Hradiště


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