History, People

Why Brussel Design is Czech and why the name "Hurka" matters

Published: 03.05.2022

The Czechoslovak Exposition at the World Exhibition in Brussels in 1958 won an extraordinary and unexpectedly highest prize, the "Golden Star" in the international EXPO competition and another thirteen major awards. Since then „Brussel style“ became a trend and shaped a whole new era in architecture as well as product design. The most remarkable products of that time - were the Tatra 603, the Skoda 706 RTO or the T3 trams and their plastic tram seats that are being used up to this day. The Brussel era has also brought many interior design innovations that became state of the art not only in former Czechoslovakia in the late 1950s but even beyond borders up until today.

The legendary Tatra 603 in front of the EXPO 58
World Exhibition in Brussels in 1958

Josef Hůrka was a very well-known czech industrial designer in the 1950s. He was originally working as an electrical appliance designer in the Napako cooperative, and after switching to production, he became the head lighting designer. Josef Hurka is the author of many lamps that are well sought collectors items from this particular era. In his designs, Hurka has put equal emphasis on the individual design as well as on its functionality. The range of products he has designed in the world of lighting range from table and desk lamps to floor and ceiling lamps. He has also worked for the three major manufacturers of that era: Drupol, Napako and Lidokov.

Joesf Hůrka & his career

His career lasted almost four decades, but one of his early collaborations with the lighting manufacturer Napako was the most productive one. His lamps were brightly coloured and consist of geometric and angular shapes. Among the designs for Napako is a UFO-shaped ceiling lamp (1930s) inspired by the Bauhaus, the model 1618 table lamp (1954), with a height-adjustable cylindrical shade on a tripod, the model 1633 table lamp (1950s) and the model 0513 table lamp (1950s), with a conical lacquered tin shade. For Drupol, Hurka later designed the model 21616 table lamp (1963) which became another design icon as well.

Designer Josef Hůrka
Napako 0513 - the so called "nun" lamp
Communist design

The luminaires were created during the communist era, when art and architecture were united. Only the product and lighting designers enjoyed a certain amount of freedom, which they were able to use skillfully. One of our favorite vintage design lamps by Josef Hurka is the so called „nun“ lamp that shows a very playful design approach and originality like no other. The combination of chrome parts that are well preserved up to this day with its metallic painted shade and base in bright dark orange colors are truly beautiful. The lamps from the Czechoslovakian Brussel series are very rare and hard to source. Despite the fact that the lamps are already more than 70 years old you will find beautiful functioning and reclaimed original lamps in our Only/Once shop.

Lidokov Typ 181 table lamp

Read more

See all
Lifestyle, Products

Braun X Highsnobiety 100 years of Braun fashion collection

Read More

Bauhaus – A revolutionary Design Movement

Read More
Products, Design

B&O Beogram 4000C - A Classic. Reborn.

Read More

Sign up for our newsletter to receive special offers, news and great events.