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#art

Neon Clouds Will Shine in a New Pankrác Office Complex

Article September 30, 2019  |  Text by Markéta Miková Text by Markéta Miková

After its completion in the second quarter of 2020, the new Parkview nine-story office building will offer its users nearly 16,000 m2 of top-quality offices. Its glass-walled atrium will be dominated by a 23-meter light installation – the work of artist Marek Číhal.

The Parkview office project (from real estate developer Skanska Property) is the latest building to arise on Prague’s Pankrác Plain based on a design from the renowned Richard Meier & Partners architectural studio.

The new building’s lobby will include a forest-like sunken courtyard full of plants. The developer wished to have a light installation in the lobby that would be able to thematically supplement the greenery and initiate a play of lights dropping into the interior through the glass roof and facade.

A design by artist Marek Číhal—a set of neon clouds—won out in the selection process.

The artist Marek Číhal. Photo by Jindřich Kodíček/UPM8

Why a cloudlike light installation?

Richard Meier’s building is fragile, and a great deal of greenery is planned both inside it and around it. Several “green islands” will be created in the lobby, and a hanging installation in the shape of several clouds struck me as entirely natural within this context. So I produced a design with clouds that will seem to us to be raining onto the plants below.

I’ve worked here with the fact that the clouds will look a little bit different from each floor. And in the last two floors, you’ll even be above them, offering you a downward view similar what you’d see in a plane when the ground below you shines up through a hole in the clouds.

What material will these clouds be made of?

We’ll be using neon-filled glass tubes. The clouds will have an icicle-white color that changes to blue at the end. In the evening they should feel like a drawing in white pencil. Right now we’re working out the installation’s technical details. The building should be ready by next year. Make sure to come by and take a look!

A set of neon clouds designed by Marek Číhal for the atrium of Parkview office building. Visualization by Sabina Sedlaříková

Visualization by Sabina Sedlaříková

ENVIRONMENT & POWER

Marek Číhal has been working on art installations for interiors and public spaces since 2010, when the architect Václav Hlaváček from Studio Acht invited Číhal to contribute to his work. Their first joint project was a large drawing in concrete placed into Ostrava’s IQ Office Centre.

Projects in Brno, Humpolec, and Prague soon followed. Their latest project is soon to come—it’s an installation in the new Lujiazui Harbour City district in Shanghai, which is being constructed based on a design by architect Rem Koolhaas on a plot of land roughly the size of Prague’s Karlín district.

Marek Číhal: Installation in architecture. Dolní Vítkovice, Ostrava, the Czech Republic.

How large a portion of your work is made up of these installations, and what’s interesting about them for you?  

I’ve been involved in architectural installations since nearly ten years ago, when my cooperation with CTP gave me a chance to work on the lobbies of several office buildings. They’ve been with me from time to time ever since, and I’m also involved in shaping public spaces (e.g. the decorations in a pedestrian underpass for the City of Ostrava or a multimedia installation in Prague’s Prosek district) and interiors (besides Parkview, this includes the design of a boutique hotel in Brno). I’m greatly looking forward to my Chinese project and to cooperating with the world’s architectural and artistic elite.

But your main canvas is the canvas itself, right?

Yes, precisely. I work in two main thematic areas. Environmental topics interest me, and I react to them in my pictures. Among my other topics is power—its aura encompasses us everywhere. And I’m also interested in painting per se—its formal aspect and its historical consequences. It’s full of content for me, and I like to explore that content.

Marek Číhal inside his own studio. Photo by Jindřich Kodíček/UPM8

Marek Číhal / BIO

Marek Číhal lives and creates in both Prague and Berlin. In 2013, he graduated from studies at Prague’s Academy of Fine Arts, during which he was also studying in Berlin. Already during his studies, he was garnering attention with victories in student competitions and gradually began working as an independent artist with exhibitions both in the Czech Republic and abroad.

Marek Číhal is represented by the Zdeňek Sklenář Gallery. For more information, see www.marekcihal.net

A polar bear. The drawing by Marek Číhal