Interview with Tomas Kral
B. 1979, Czechoslovakia
Tomas Kral is known for designing lighting, furniture, accessories and table top pieces in his Lausanne studio that blend simplicity and innovation. His love of glass runs deep. “Even as a student, it was a material I was drawn to. Bohemia, one of the traditional glass-making areas, is part of my country and my grandparents had so many glass pieces in their home. I started out decorating existing work, before I went on to producing new designs.”
Initially Tomas studied fashion and textiles before being drawn towards three-dimensional design, both in terms of process and materials. “My father is an architect, so I grew up with design,” he says. “But I neverwanted to be an architect myself. I like to work at a small scale; to touch the objects that I make.”
Nude: How would you describe Nude?
Tomas Kral: It’s a young brand, and uses that position well to deliver an intelligent collection. It’s a clean slate, if you like. The strategy of using mostly transparent glass and asking designers for clear, simple, functional pieces is embedded in the name. Nude suggests all those things.
N: Why did you decide to make your table lamp, Blow?
TK: I wanted to respond to what Nude stands for, and introduce my own personality too. I often take quite a poetic approach. The lamp looks like a hot air ballon; it almost seems to be oating. It’s called Blow, which talks about the process used to make it – the glass – blowing process itself. You can see that air has shaped the glass. It’s built with two glass parts, but the real surprise is the rubber-band connection that unites them. That creates a certain amount of tension even though it’s a simple thing.
N: Did the glass have to be translucent?
TK: Translucent glass is the best way to diffuse light, and create a soft subtle glow. It has been sandblasted and acid polished, leaving a very ne grain on the surface. To me, that makes a luxurious, seductive nish for what is a hard product.
N: What do you like about glass as a material?
TK: It’s fascinating to observe the way it is transformed when the glassblower takes the soft lump of material and it gradually becomes rigid and strong. It’s like you can freeze a shape and it’s an incredible thing to watch. Glass has great inherent qualities too, that answer our contemporary concerns around sustainability: it’s naturally recyclable. You transform it and transform it back.
N: What do you do when you’re not in the studio?
TK: If you live here, you just want to go walking in the mountains. It takes ten minutes to get to them on a bike.