Prague City Hall approved the first tenants for the wall cubicles at Náplavka, the downtown embankments along the Vltava river. A new café will be located on Rašínovo nábřeží (the New Town side) in cubicle number 5. In cubicles 8, 10 and 12 on Hořejší nábřeží (the Smíchov side), people can look forward to brand new studios and a café. Tenders for additional cubicles will continue.
Previous tenants including Bajkazyl, which was a vocal opponent of the renovations, will return, and there will be library branch.
The city received 53 bids after a public call was made April 6. A committee of representatives of Prague City Hall and Trade Center Praha, the city firm that oversees the waterfront, chose the first four winners. For cubicles 1 and 2, a new selection contest will be announced, as there was only one candidate who already received another cubicle with the same concept.
Cubicle number 5 on Rašínovo nábřeží will be operated by Tiskárna na vzduchu, which will create an innovative café-bar here. The same firm operates a cultural space at Výstaviště in Holešovice.
Cubicle number 12 at Hořejší nábřeží was acquired by Šafy production, which will create a studio there. The remaining two cubicles on Hořejší nábřeží will be run by people who will create another café and studio with a modern craft workshop.
“The main criterion for the evaluation of the submitted proposals is the content quality of the project and its compliance with the overall concept of the Prague waterfront. That is why we take into account that the cubicles differ from each other and that there are different spaces for the public that will serve the widest possible audience and offer something to everyone here,’ City Councilor Jan Chabr (United Force for Prague) said.
Work on these cubicles should be completed during the summer. In September, the spaces should be handed over to the new operators who will then be able to start their businesses.
In connection with the revitalization of both sides of the waterfront and the cubicles, a new program is important for the capital. “The city’s embankments are among the most important public spaces, and the public tender for tenants is aimed at ensuring an interesting, attractive and authentic composition of the operators. This will contribute not only to the quality of life, but also to strengthening the values of this space for Prague residents and visitors to the capital,” Councilor Chabr said.
Except for cubicles 1 and 2 at Hořejší nábřeží, all available spaces are used. “The City Council resolution concludes the period of selection of the cubicle operators. In addition to the winners of the selection procedure, the current operators, such as Bajkazyl, Avoid Gallery and Nábřeží Gallery, will return to the cubicles, and a municipal library branch intended as a community cubicle with interesting content extending the library’s common services will also go to Hořejší nábřeží due to a loan agreement,” Jiří Sulženko from city firm Trade Center Praha said.
The city began renovating Náplavka in 2018, with work done to make the cubicles set into the stone retaining walls usable, and the installation of new benches and trash cans. New infrastructure such as improved water supply and electricity was also installed. Most of the cubicles had long been disused and inaccessible to the general public.
A floating pool in the river had also been suggested, but it is not a priority for the city. The possible construction of the pool must be preceded by discussions with the public, professionals with the relevant state administration bodies before City Hall makes a decision.
The city has also been working with local civic groups to reduce noise from events on Náplavka, and recently made rules requiring concerts on boats to be acoustic. This is in addition to previous rules allowing only one big event per month.