During the time of last summer’s heat, instead of hitting the swimming pool we took a trip to Libčice nad Vltavou nearby Prague. We had two exciting meetings arranged at the former bolt factory site – at the LUGI factory and at the DEVOTO workshop.
The two companies share not only the same place but also their mission: to produce high-quality wooden furniture with value. We enjoyed the gripping tour through the LUGI factory with Michal Peřina, the company owner, and had a pleasant chat with Lukáš Lédl at the nearby DEVOTO workshop, a company that produces furniture for children, which Lukáš founded with his friend.
During our visit in Libčice we noticed that a significant part of the site had been changing, therefore it was worthy to visit the adjacent building, warehouse, and other shop floors, that were currently under renovation or just about to be. From there we, totally starved, set off to our favourite pub U Lasíků in Únětice.
While only a few years ago most of Czechs considered the products of huge chains to be high-quality furniture, today’s situation is very different and has changed rapidly. Many of us are respecters of wonderfully made pieces of fine woods and of top-class design and personality. That’s exactly the furniture that LUGI, a company located in the breath-taking industrial site of a former bolt factory, produces. Their portfolio covers practically all aspects of interior design from custom-made kitchens, chairs, and coat-stands to salt and pepper pots. Everything is connected by the emphasis on quality, material and handcrafted production.
Michal Peřina, the company founder, lives and breathes joinery. His story will leave you breathless and joinery will all of the sudden seem to be a dream profession. Mr. Peřina applies a personal manner and you can always count on meeting the joiners who will work on your order. In fact, you can see the whole production process when visiting their shop floor. Believe me, joinery borders on art here!
The area of LUGI’s former showroom nearby their shop floor is also a piece of art. For several years the showroom had been located in a refurbished coal mill building, which interconnects the local industrialism with modern architecture. Its brick walls, large factory windows and tall chimney are accompanied by a new iron staircase and other contemporary pieces. It is a model example of converting valuable industrial architecture into a modern usable building. Despite having been removed from the coal mill, you can still see LUGI furniture in a new showroom in the Pavilon building in Vinohrady, Prague.
Your grandparents lived and ran a household in Libčice nad Vltavou. Do you have any memories from your childhood of the former bolt factory in Libčice where LUGI is based today? What did it look like?
Once I went there with my friend to deliver a lunch box to his dad. I don’t have any other memories. Comrades nationalized my granddad’s prospering business, that’s why I was taken a bit aside.
What do you think of the current development of the whole compound?
Next to you, for example, there are guys from DEVOTO who produce children’s furniture. Then there is Eel Pie who focuses on design and producing watercraft prototypes. It is nice to meet people who create something every day. Maybe in time, a bigger and more complex craft community will develop and people will come here more often.
LUGI already has around 30 employees. Is it difficult today to find skilful joiners who enjoy their work?
There are not many of them but from time to time there are some new ones. I am very lucky that my workshop is full of them. Recently, there are more of young people who leave offices and want to do something real.
One of your showrooms is in the Pavilon building in Vinohrady, Prague, and the second one used to be nearby your showroom at the reconstructed coal mill building, which won the prize of the Grand Prix architects. Your furniture stands out in this space. Do you like industrial architecture?
Definitely. Cast iron, divided windows, old wooden tie beams, cutting bricks… they are beautiful timeless materials. When we were looking for a bigger space in 2008, a beautiful textile factory in good condition was available. There were parquet blocks on one entire floor with a view of a creek. We were really considering getting it but the distance was too long for our employees and our production is dependent on them.
Apart from the custom-made manufacture that LUGI specialises in, you also offer a permanent collection of furniture and interior accessories that you developed in cooperation with a range of Czech designers. Will you reveal to us what other designers you are going to approach?
We continue working with Matěj Chabera. In June we did a workshop with students from UMPRUM and something will certainly come out of it. In September we will show a little thing we developed in cooperation with prof. Pelcl and currently we are preparing collaboration with the Vrtiška and Žák studio.
Do you have a favourite pub/restaurant in Libčice that you would recommend to us?
Sure, there is an inn at the station. They have an excellent chef! Don’t expect any special atmosphere but you won’t find better lunch anywhere within 20 km.
(Michal Peřina, the LUGI owner)
Areál Šroubáren 40
252 66 Libčice Nad Vltavou
Visits by appointment only.
120 00 Prague 2
Monday - Friday: 10:00 - 18:00
Saturday: 10:00 - 14:00
The DEVOTO brand became synonymous with children’s furniture made of resilient and high-quality materials, designed to grow together with its little owners and to expand their imagination. The company was founded in 2008 by two friends, Lukáš Lédl and Petr K. Porta, who, thanks to their long-lasting admiration for wood, fell in love with joinery. In DEVOTO you’ll find both individual pieces of furniture and have a whole room for children designed for you.
When working on interior accessories, DEVOTO cooperates with a variety of Czech artists such as Ilona Polanská from Tomski & Polanski illustrators, Patrik Antczak, and Andrea Tachezy. Their playful illustrations come to life on handcrafted toys, ceiling and table lamps, and clocks. DEVOTO relishes simplicity and isn’t afraid of colours, and so both parents and children can enjoy their furniture.
DEVOTO furniture was exhibited at DESIGNBLOK, children’s festival mini, and in their own showroom on Kodaňská Street in Vršovice, Prague, where the boys meet their clients and come up with original solutions for the atypical rooms of clients’ flats and houses. However, they still enjoy commuting to their workshop in Libčice nad Vltavou, where they can clear their heads at work and gain new inspiration.
Areál šroubáren 40
252 66 Libčice Nad Vltavou
Visits by appointment only.
101 00 Praha 10
Monday, Wednesday, Friday: 10:00 - 18:00
If you’re after a small, discreet, and cosy country pub, then you’ll fall in love with U Lasíků. It embodies a pub idyll – beautiful old barn, tiled stove, antique wooden tables, dotty mugs, and the omnipresent smell of fresh pies.
Pub and pension U Lasíků is a must on any of your trips to Únětice. There are cyclists on the terrace, regulars inside, and busy staff behind the bar. Únětice draught beers flow from taps and pies from the oven land on the bar. They are prepared constantly and before you manage to choose one, the staff shows up with another flavour. The selection of pies is huge – from savoury with mushrooms, leek, bacon, and aubergine on white wine, to sweet with blueberries, raspberries, apples and plums with poppy seeds. It is also worthwhile to try their homemade yeast cakes and Moravian mince pies.
Every pub should have the atmosphere that U Lasíků has. The owners, Mr. and Mrs. Mrhálek, have managed the impossible and mastered every detail in their restaurant. The interior and terrace will impress you, their delicious beer and pies will put a twinkle in your eye, and the good-humoured staff will encourage you to have seconds – more pies and cold pints without end.