In 2001, Czech architect Michal Postránecký moved permanently because of job opportunities to the United States of America. In our interview, he told us what are his current trends in architecture, his vision of the future and why he prefers to be at home by the sea and roam along the white sandy beaches of Florida, even though he designed a prestigious Las Vegas hotel for 2500 residential units.
Is it possible to specify the uniform direction or trend of contemporary architecture and interior design? Or are there several trends?
In architecture, including interior design, I do not see any single global direction at present. For sure there are many trends.
A certain benefit is the use of advanced computer technologies to find new morphology and relationships outside and within objects. Likewise, new materials, types of lighting, communication technologies move the boundaries of what is now possible.
Regardless of the trends, styles, or opinions of experts, the ideal outcome is when clients become one co-existent organism, thanks to their gradual interaction with their homes, surroundings and objects, they breathe together and inspire each other.
But we can often meet here in the Czech Republic, and now I will use some labels, with some "primitively primitive naivess" most often framed by "concrete simplecracism". This is later celebrated in magazines as a timeless modernism. Unfortunately, I have seen it taught at a university in Prague as a future trend. The minimalist interior wants a lot of experience, and it does not even have to fall well when the project it's not perfectly finished.
What's your favorite trend? What do you like to use in your projects? (materials, colors, disposition, light game, retro / futuristic appearance, etc.)
Everything you've named. All you have to do is harmonize and use in different combinations depending on location, time, type of client, future function, needs and sounds of users, respecting the real budget of the client. The task of the designer, as a supplier of a complete solution, is to deliver the resulting work, without any difference in size and importance, a "spirit" and at least a slight timelessness, and instead of exhibiting its endless abilities, at least with a bit of humility to do what we do. It is not always necessary to overcome the project with some extravagant super design, but it is far more important to bring harmony to the final solution and allow positive energy to embrace its future inhabitants.
What are your visions for the future?
Great, everything will go well and we will all be successful. From the point of view of my profession, we tend to focus on what is now called "smart". We will be increasingly interconnected with various virtual networks in cyberspace, so-called "networking" with each other, with robots, AI-controlled elements, buildings and urban systems, with the whole environment in which we live, work, rest, and anywhere we are going. Buildings will be built by and with unfamiliar technologies and practices, materials that change their properties by interacting with their surroundings. We will see new things around us, some things will completely change our behavior again (remember, for example, iPhone or Facebook), part of our lives will be spent in a virtual environment. It would be great if the news gave us more time to devote to ourselves and worry about our culture and the link to our heritage. At home we definitely have something to continue.
What are the main techniques / features you have in your work?
I like to give inspiration and idea to a classic brain - hand connection, using a nice fountian pen filled with light blue ink to paint different sketches of paper (plan with notes, details, 3D views). Real-time verification is followed by creating a 3D model on the computer, preferably using Sketchup. Then someone creates a nice presentation / visualization. And when everything is approved by the client, everything will be transferred to Cad, for bigger orders best to use BIM (Building Information Management).
Do you see any change in customer preferences over the previous few years? For example, a tilt to a particular style, design monitoring, willingness to pay extra for the quality, etc.
Specifically, in Czech and similar countries, I perceive the strategy to pay as little as possible, but to be able to receive the most. Unfortunately, I have encountered several clients of this type. Frequent we see the client's effort and involvement of himself / herself or family members in the process as "co-authors" of the design, sometimes as the chief designer that I should serve as a consultant. It is quite common that the client has a specific "expertise" carefully acquired from local magazines, from which they unfold their ideas, which the architect or designer has to redraw for a nice picture. Fortunately, there are still a lot of clients who order the service of an architect or designer and expect an original solution. And there is still enough architects and designers who are able to deliver a great result for a fair price. However, I would recommend betting less to the "icons" created by a variety of PRs and trying to find out which designer is going to actually click with you. You will need a lot of time to communicate and you will also need to hear each other.
Are you closer to commercial spaces or rather to residential buildings?
I'm close to both, and I enjoy both of them.
Where do you draw inspiration for your job?
Mostly where I am today at home, at the ocean, in a beach chair with white sand mixed with shells and seagulls around in my neighborhood. But anywhere else in the nature, full of different macro and micro (to nano) organisms. I find a lot of inspiration in other disciplines and human activities, also in people and their characters. The occasional good red wine or an excellent rum are not harmful. And most inspiration is probably in each of us who can smile beautifully.
What kind style of living do you prefer?
Airy and functional, but also with my great working "mess" around me. I like light. I like a great common space where we can work separately, but we perceive each other, when needed.
What was your first realization, which you for some reason like to remember?
"Boutique style" Villa Voyta small hotel in Prague 4, which we created together for František Vogl with Ing. Architekt Eva Heyworth and Vasko Svoboda, still in the Black Point studio, where Karel Valenta was also a partner. It was a beautiful job and I learned something from my colleagues at that time.
Which projects are you most proud of?
Definitely Planet Hollywood Towers in Las Vegas, a 52-storey hotel, condo, timeshare. But I also like to recall those projects that have not found a way to go, such as another high rise building in Las Vegas or "Kings Court Resort" on Lanai Island. However, I like to design and realize the interior of the Art Restaurant and Lounge Bar in Mánes in Prague. I once used to sit there with my grandfather, and I would definitely sit there with my children and perhaps their children. In any case, my job is best when you are looking forward to another call in the form of the next contract.
What materials do you prefer to work with in the interior?
Nice and especially high-quality! I think the quality can be relatively simple, although for some products and materials this quality can be carefully hidden behind their appearance. Also, one of the criteria in this selection is their easy recyclability or subsequent use. So I would define the materials as eco-friendly and smart.
Are you or have you already met Technistone quartz in the market place? Or possibly with a competitive brand?
Yes, I met Technistone products as well as the products of their competitors. Personally, I like materials in simple color palettes, including different shades and saturation of gray, although sometimes I am again fascinated by a distinctive ornament.
What advantages or disadvantages of Technistone products do you see? What experience do you have with the Technistone stone? Do you prefer a particular Technistone collection?
I prefer their smooth, glossy, large-area slabs, materials in a simple color scheme with the choice of the necessary shade. I like to combine them with; good lighting, metal and glass accessories, but also a soft and structured fabric.
What are the current trends in kitchen countertops?
I'm not an expert in the kitchen, but I like simple, even thin-walled tops that mainly act purely.
In recent years, the industrial style, that is, the style of "factory housing", what is your opinion about this trend? Is it timeless or is it a seasonal affair? What kind of people like this trend?
It is a specific style that can, if done well, look very good, but there is a need for quality. In the region, it is occasionally used by a chosen designer elite, where the quality is replaced by strange, non-functional nonsense that they call art. I like clean industrial style if it's not just a pose and it's also complemented by the most modern technologies as well as some interesting citations of nature or the past. I like surprising contrasts.
I do not know who is a typical customer here. It is important that this style corresponds not only to their lifestyle, but to all the features that are important to them. Sometimes it is good to consider whether the potential future buyer will also be suitable, if the owner ever choose to leave.
Medallion: Ing. arch. Michal Postránecký
- Ing. architect Michal Postránecký was born on January 4, 1961 in Prague.
- Since 2001, he has been living and working in the USA, where he currently lives in Sarasota on the west coast of Florida, and from 2015 alternates from his architectural studio in Prague.
- He designed, among other things, the Planet Hollywood Towers Westgate hotel complex in Las Vegas. The inspiration for the shape of the building was that once he saw a car slammed by its front into the ground in the desert not for from Las Vegas and the Ford Thunderbird of 1958.
- Urbanist, architect and designer, promotes the concept of smart cities, intelligent buildings and smart homes, is the founder of Synopcity.com's global knowledge network for smart solutions