Glass comes from the elements. Fine particles of sand are put to fire, spun and blown within the flame to create ethereal, otherworldly orbs. The visual simplicity and gentle ease of a piece of glass bely the processes that made it: the heat, intensity, specialization, and time. These aspects are what make handblown glass such an esteemed and cherished commodity.
Many reserve space on a shelf for glasswork of this quality, but Czech-based company LASVIT endeavors to use it as a surround, infusing spaces with incandescent murmurations of glass and light created in response to spatial relationships.
Its name a neologism of the Czech words for “love and light,” LASVIT is known for these immersive illuminated environments. The company has designed installations for the Cartier flagship store in Geneva, Switzerland, the Dubai Opera’s performing arts center, five-star hotels and cruise ships worldwide, and innumerable private residences. When LASVIT enters a space, things literally light up. To make these remarkable and sublime pieces, they work in collaboration with regional artisans as well as with world-renowned designers, including the Campana Brothers, Zaha Hadid, Kengo Kuma, Yabu Pushelberg, and Nendo and Ross Lovegrove.
Glass is the company’s material, but it’s also its story. The company headquarters and atelier are located in Nový Bor, a mountain-ringed region of Northern Bohemia known as the Crystal Valley due to its thousand-year glassmaking history. LASVIT president and founder Leon Jakimič, the next branch in a six-generation glassmaking lineage, says the company’s pieces provide “far more than a source of light.” Using a tradition from Chřibská, the oldest known glassworks in Europe, LASVIT’s work “communicates emotions, atmosphere, and stories worth sharing…and takes pride in a high level of craftsmanship made to Bohemian perfection.”
LASVIT’s creations work on every scale, from commercial installations made of architectural glass to individual collections for the home—including wall fixtures, floor and table lamps, pendants, and chandeliers. Its highly-customizable Cipher collection, designed by Yabu Pushelberg, comprises linear rods and cylindrical forms that connect at polished champagne-gold joints, while the five balletic silhouettes of the Neverending Glory collection, by Jan Plecháč and Henry Wielgus, are modeled after chandeliers in the world’s most iconic concert halls and theaters.
These architectural and cosmopolitan collections are held in balance with the organic offerings of Herbarium and Dancing Leaves—both from their ready-to-order icons. In the Herbarium line, meadow flowers and woodland twigs are captured in crystal and strung from above. LASVIT designer Mariá Čulenová Hostinová created the collection to showcase the harsh beauty of the Nový Bor region, which she says is “reflected in the character of the local people—in their sense of humor and inner strength.” Herbarium can be made from dried organic matter from any locality to “preserve your dream landscape forever.”
With a similar ambition to freeze what’s fleeting, Dancing Leaves designer Luděk Hroch explains how his collection “is based on leaves in the wind floating and eventually flying away.” Available in nine different configurations made of meticulously rendered glass, Dancing Leaves draws nature in, permanently gracing a space with the wonder of ephemerality.
LASVIT’s bespoke pieces play in the tension between tradition and innovation, and so does their headquarters. LASVIT’s home base is in two historic houses—one formerly held a glassmaking school—on Palachéko Square. Founded in 2007, the company hired Prague-based architectural studio OV-A to reinvent the space using glass tile cladding meant to mimic the neighborhood’s centuries-old vernacular of slate-shingled roofs.
The glowing structure, which opened in 2019, is an effective lighthouse, beckoning those on the outside by emitting the warmth within. The building illustrates what the company is capable of producing and communicates its deeply held values of honoring tradition by lighting its path forward.
Outside of this exemplary architecture, LASVIT’s work can be experienced in their Prague and New York showrooms and at their offices in Hong Kong, Dubai, Singapore, London, Paris, and Moscow. Studio Como is now a proud distributor of LASVIT’s entire catalog, with several pieces available for browsing online and experiencing in the Denver showroom.