The story of the Zikmund Villa

It was originally a Baťa house and the residence of Josef Januštík, the first governor of the Zlín district. Then, temporarily the property of Oscar-winning director Elmar Kloss, before subsequently becoming the home of traveller Miroslav Zikmund. And today? It has become a cultural monument interwoven with stories that you won’t find anywhere else. Address: Zlín

It all started with the creation of the Zlín district

The original functionalist house was built in 1934–1935 in Zlín Nivy by Baťa’s support fund as company accommodation for Council Governor JUDr. Josef Januštík, the first governor of the newly established Zlín district. He leased the house (probably for free) with his wife, Marie, until 1953, despite the fact that director and screenwriter Elmar Kloss had already bought the building from Baťa a.s. in 1942. The future Oscar-winner was the son of Marie Januštíková from her first marriage. Although Kloss made some modifications in Nivy, he never lived there himself.


Then Miroslav Zikmund appeared

The development of political events and work obligations forced Elmar Kloss and the Januštíks to move away from Zlín. In 1953, filmmaker Jaroslav Novotný connected Elmar Kloss with Miroslav Zikmund, who subsequently bought the property. In cooperation with Novotný, Zikmund and Hanzelka were working in the Zlín studios preparing their feature films from their first African expedition.

Zdroj: Elmar Kloss - osobní archiv

The house underwent extensive adaptation

In Nivy, Miroslav Zikmund was especially enchanted by the mature garden, so he needed no time to be sure about the purchase. After concluding the contract, he immediately started renovating together with architect Zdenek Plesník. The interior of the house was designed by Plesník in collaboration with designer Miroslav Navrátil. Both followed the specific requirements of the villa’s new owner. The result is a reflection of the collaboration of all three men.

The traveller spent almost 70 years in Nivy

For the first year, in addition to the newly married Zikmunds, the newly married Hanzelkas also lived in the house. The Hanzelkas had bought a plot of land in the neighbourhood and also commissioned Plesník to build their villa. While the Hanzelkas left their Zlín home in 1958, Miroslav Zikmund lived in Nivy until December 2016, when he gradually moved in with his life partner Marie Macalíková at the other end of Zlín. In 2020, the traveller decided to leave the villa for good and sold it to Čestmír Vančura, a businessperson and patron from Zlín.


The villa grew up among the icons of post-war architecture

Although almost 70 years have passed since the rebuilding of the house in Zlín Nivy, it stands today almost unchanged. The interior is also completely preserved, dominated by bentwood furniture, thousands of books, and hundreds of objects obtained from travels around the world. Due to its pristine condition and uniqueness, with the help of architect Petr Všetečka, the building and its garden were entered into the list of immovable cultural monuments of the Czech Republic in 2000.

Kredit: Onomono Photography

A new chapter has begun

During the sale, Miroslav Zikmund expressed his wish that the villa would continue to be used for living, working, and creating. For many years, the space served as a refuge for dissident artists, writers, and others. (The house was often visited by ethnographer and folklorist Karel Pavlištík, traditional folk crafter František Zuska, painter and graphic artist Josef Ruszelák, and other friends of Zikmund not only from Zlín. Other guests also included Václav Havel, Soňa Červená, Ludvík Vaculík, the Zátopkas, director Miloš Forman, and many others.) This is one of the many reasons Čestmír Vančura decided to establish an endowment fund, which now takes care of the villa in accordance with Miroslav Zikmund’s wishes.

Kredit: Jakub Špaňhel

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