Profiles

Petr Babák (born in 1967) studied in 1990-96 in the studio of Book Design and Typography (professor Jan Solpera) at the Academy of Arts, Architecture and Design in Prague. He is known for his non-orthodox approach to work and chameleon-like character of work which prevents him to settle on a at-first-sight-recognizable style. However, should we describe some of the typical features of his work we ought to mention apart from others his emphasis on interactivity between the artist and the user and also the way he enriches serial production by handicraft features making each piece an original. This can be seen already in his design of Prkno or Řezan, Šijan and Trhan typefaces which he designed as a student. He has designed a large number of books and created the visual style of many exhibitions of art and design (e.g. Much pop and more art, Akce slovo pohyb prostor (Action word movement space), catalogues of Jan Mančuška, Tomáš Vaněk, Kateřina Šedá and others, 20th-century Czech film posters , Ten Centuries of Architecture ort he legendary exhibition Ladislav Sutnar: Prague – New York, many corporate identity designs, web pages designs for e.g. Film and TV School of the Faculty of Performing Arts, Museum of Decorative Arts in Prague, Institute of Documentary Film etc. In 1997-2002 he founded together with Tomáš Machek Studio Machek&Babák and since 2003 he has been running his own graphic studio Laboratoř (Laboratory) where he focuses together with a couple of externs on a wide range of issues of graphic design. Among his recent projects let us mention for example Tranzit, Monidee, Famu, mminterier, Hippos Design, the magazine Zlatý řez, Zipp, mmcité, Projektil architekti or hotel Metropol. In 2009 the studio Laboratoř completed an extensive complex visual style and information system for the National Library of Technology in Prague (2005-2009). At present the studio Laboratoř and Chalupa Architects are working on the visual code of the Czech Embassy in Washington DC.
In 2005 he was appointed head of the newly opened Studio of Graphic Design and New Media at the Academy of Arts, Architecture and Design in Prague which is nick-named the Treasure Island. The tutors in this studio do not disesteem „classical“ graphic media and claim that students must aim at more than just mastering the craft (though it is an important premise). The studio should be a place open to experiments where students learn to take risks and forget about the high-school precepts about correct procedures and correct results. Their motto is „to fight against mediocrity and literality, and to focus on the creative process itself from the very first idea to the final design.“ Students are continuously given a large number of various tasks and made to constantly re-evaluate methods which had already been tried out and to solve different tasks from „point zero“.
The studio has initiated a number of graphic projects such as Kolektiv, Strčprstskrzkrk, Advancedesign, Okolo, Mütanta, Magio, Deep Throat, aakkforever, Very popular office, Čtvrtek, 1a2v1, Macula, Vajco and a number of others.

Tereza Jindrová

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