Innovation starts at home. From revolutionary 3D printers to amazing kitchen implements, these Czech companies have created or manufactured inspiring products that have garnered much-deserved recognition in this country and abroad.
Czech 3D printing wizard Josef Průša and his company Prusa Research s.r.o., has developed, in association with the RepRap Project, one of the world’s most talked about self-replicating 3D printers. Průša is a member of the core RepRap team which includes 11 other developers from around the globe. His printers print components or a completely new printer making it an important initiative within the worldwide maker culture community. For a more thorough discussion of the lastest model, the i3 Prusa, already talked about for its ease of assembly and reliable printing, check out Průša’s Vienna TEDx Talk.
This company, founded in Zlín in 1992, went on to conquer the Czech market for kitchen utensils and has since been recognized at home and abroad with numerous and presitigious design awards. It has established outposts across the EU and UK and most recently won a 2014 RED DOT design award for its VITAMINO antibacterial chopping board and the DELICIA scoop with sieve and the double-sided cookie cutters. Does Tescoma live up to all the hype? Our Tescoma garlic crusher works well after ten years and crushes almost all of the clove with little waste and is easy to clean. This summer, check out their durable water jugs which are ideal for refrigeration but can also hold boiling water. The juicer attachment means that you can prepare fresh orange juice straight into the jug.
TobyŠlo Solar Powered Flashlight
What started life as a project for the Academy of Art, Architecture, and Design in Prague (VŠUP), TobyŠlo is one of the most interesting product and interior design studios working today. Focusing on purity of form, clean lines, and multiple materials the atelier continues to debut sustainable, functional, and visually appealing gadgets, among them this solar powered flashlight. The flashlight’s case is made from CNC milled duralumin. The face cap is made from perspex which houses the LED light source. The flashlight is powered by AAA rechargeable battery, which is charged by the top-facing solar cell. The cell is constantly charging so long as it is exposed to sunlight. The light lasts one hour and manufacturers say that the charge time depends on the amount of sun.
From the same designers behind TobyŠlo design studio comes Nahory, an off-shoot ski-design company which was established in 2012. Combining two Czech national passions (hitting the slopes and high design), Nahory skiis are available in two varieties, the wood-finished downhill skis or the very sleek All Blacks. Jan Volhejn, one of the three Nahory and Tobyšlo founders, has said that the skis are indeed inspired by history and created to blend in with the enchanted environs of the Šumava mountains, yet built to satisfy even the most demanding skiier of today. The skis have a running surface on both sides and both sides are waxed to ensure smooth riding and protection of the topside.
Mibo Kick Scooters
The Czech Republic boasts a number of local kick-scooter manufacturers. Of them all, Mibo remains one of the top brands just for its sheer range. You can find all types of kick scooters for whatever your scooting needs may be from long distance trips to scooters suitable for kids. The fold-up Mastr New Top would be my pick for its smart combination of rugged design with the ease of folding. No need for a bike rack if you’re taking it by car.
Pro-Ject Debut Carbon Turntables
Last year, the Debut Carbon Turntable was causing quite a buzz among audiophiles looking for quality sound reproduction that doesn’t mean paying four-figure prices. The appeal in the Debut is sound quality and eye-catching design. The use of a carbon tone arm, which is more typical in high-end turntables, reduces unwanted vibrations. And frankly, the minimal design means the device looks smart. (Truthfully, this product was designed in Austria but is manufactured by skilled workers in a Czech factory with the greatest attention to detail.) My only complaint is that the turntable does not have a button-operated speed adjustment to switch between 33 and 45 rpms. You have to remove the platter and loop the belt over the larger pulley for 45s and the smaller for LPs. But if you play your vinyl at one speed, the Pro-Ject Carbon Debut is perfect for casual listening.