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He who can react flexibly to changes in society, absorb the changing field of the artistic world, will become unforgettable. This applies to Otakar Novotný, artist deluxe of the dynamic turn of the 19th and 20th Centuries.

Czech architects: Otakar Novotný – Czech master of architecture

Mgr. Jana Höger
21.Nov 2017
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1 minute
Prague, 1919–1921

Influenced by Josef Kotěra

Architect Otakar Novotný was a contemporary of J. Gočár and Pavel Janák. They are joined by similar artistic development, and although it may seem that his name is not well known among the general public, his buildings still stand as a reminder of his inventiveness and artistic talent.

His personality was indelibly affected by his studies at UMPRUM under the guidance of Josef Kotěra. He later taught at the same “Alma Mater”. 

Artist with a capital A

Although he attempted to create designs under the influence of decorativism, ornamentation and pretty floral patterns, and although he broke basic geometric shapes in to a system of lines and intricate tangle of surfaces, in the end he held on to a purist and functionalist concept of architecture.

The luxury of the buildings is not just in their layout. According to Otakar Novotný, it was to be the monumentality of the façade, which he so liked incorporating into his designs, and which soon became his signature feature. He was also fond of brick masonry in the style of Dutch architecture, such as the Štenc House.

Prodej rodinného domu, Praha 10 Záběhlice
Prodej rodinného domu, Praha 10 Záběhlice, Praha 10

The artist’s own luxury buildings

As the chairman of SVU Mánes, he designed the building for the Mánes Union of Creative Artists on the southern tip of Slavonic Island in Prague 1. It is in fact a bridge between Masaryk Embankment and Slavonic Island. It was a building that housed not only spacious exhibition areas, but also offered office space, commercial premises for shops and even a famous French restaurant. The latter started operations again after the Mánes building was reconstructed. It is luxurious to have art within arm’s reach, to enrich one’s soul with a superior aesthetic experience and enjoy fine dining at the same time.

It is a paramount architectural creation across generations. It is a luxurious, ageless landmark of the city of Prague.

His buildings are dispersed around the country and abroad. They bear traces of his personality, hard, precisely drawn contours, sobriety, deliberation, single-mindedness. He was that kind of man, and such are his buildings and projects.

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