Be careful not to get lost on your way – this unconventional venue’s name can be quite misleading. Radlicka 125 is not actually located on Radlicka street. Take the smaller street right next to it, the one that connects Na Knížecí bus stop with the neighboring České dráhy (Czech Railroad) area, until you spot the huge banner that marks this project-in-progress.
While the building is not yet being used to its full capacity as a multi-use space combining entertainment with athletics, project founder Jakub Zajic and his long-time friend and “partner-in-crime” Lukas Zdarsky, are currently hosting parties with a full bar and live music for everyone from fashion retail start-ups to community groups and the public at large.
“The bar is made from part of the roof of the building,” says Zajic, showing me around. Reconstruction of this previously abandoned building began in May 2013, when Zdarsky came up with the idea of making better use of the place, which he used to pass every day on his way home.
Radlicka 125’s Own Pat & Mat
Zdarsky and Zajic have known each other for several years, and Radlicka 125 is not the first of their common initiatives. Their first enterprise was also community-oriented: a company selling snacks for kids at school.
Zajic compares their friendship to that of “Pat & Mat’s” – the characters from the classic Czech cartoon, who constantly meet the challenges that they create for themselves and who enjoy creatively solving the funny situations they always manage to get into.
Apparently, the adventure of turning an abandoned building into a lively community venue seemed exactly the right challenge for the two. (Well, not completely abandoned, as homeless people used to occupy part of the building. Zajic recalls: “We told them we were cleaning it because we were sentenced to community service.” Partners-in-crime indeed.)
Mixing Parties with Push-Ups
When asked why their venue celebrates culture and sports, Zajic says simply, “Because people are usually interested in both.”
The partners are open-minded and flexible in terms of whom they will offer their space to, but at the same time they have a particular idea of what the venue should be like – at least in terms of its fitness activities.
Zajic and Zdarsky hope to combine various sports under one roof without creating any walls in the 400-square-meter complex. Cross-fit functional training – a movement technique mimicking the natural movements of everyday life – various martial arts (the walls are covered with tatami for kickboxing and aikido) and yoga classes will be offered.
A Bunny Hop Contest for MTB bikes which Radlicka 125 hosted on February 22 proves that there is no limit to the range of athletic events Radlicka 125 can host.
That said, the project’s founders know exactly what they don’t want their complex to be – another typical gym with heavyweights.
This defines the spirit of the place as non-traditional, as well as serving a logistical purpose: all the equipment needs to be easily transportable since by night this place turns into a lively venue.
“We still need to install changing room and showers, as well as get the heating and electricity working properly, but we hope to be open on a daily basis from March if all goes well,” says Zajic.
Getting the Party Started
Radlicka 125 kicked off its party season with a New Year’s Eve celebration, and several concerts and DJ sets followed.
“This grand piano we got from a friend of ours. In music we also enjoy combining different elements – like the sound of grand piano and DJ sets,” Zajic says showing off the jewel of their space.
Among the community groups they have already cooperated with is the bike-sharing project Rekola. Zajic and Zdarsky hosted Rekola’s paint-your-bike workshop. They also supported the initiative by giving it a small storage space right next to the main Radlicka building to Rekola.
Another project they like is Zdrojovna, an eco-initiative giving new life to old forgotten things, either changing them completely or upgrading them. The Valentine’s evening at Radlicka 125 on February 14 featured both Zdrojovna and Rekola united by the event motto: “We are collecting old and forgotten love!”
Zdrojovna soon returns to the venue on three Sundays of March and April with their “turn-an- old-thing-into-a-new-one” workshops. A swing dancing night will take place at the end of March, and in May a group of students is organizing a day of fashion exchange, a popular event among both Pražaks and expats who have already participated in events at Latkova Vymena at MeetFactory and Prague Fashion Exchange.
Zajic and Zdarsky didn’t need to invest much into promotion. They are constantly approached – either by volunteers inspired to help with the project or by organizations and artists interested in engaging with it, which is why the partners haven’t really needed to worry about programming at this stage.
Radlicka 125 provides a great opportunity to get involved with the community on several different levels: as a place to have fun, a place to build together, a venue for practicing sports or meditation or even to present your own community initiative.
Its founders’ openness to a spectrum of ideas is one of the venue’s best assest – and puts the audience in the driver’s seat with plenty of space for surprises.
Za Ženskými domovy 125/5, Prague 5
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