Jan Vaněk


Jan Vaněk was mainly a designer and manufacturer of furniture and interior fixtures and fittings, but also an architect and journalist. He was born into the family of a prosperous cabinetmaker in Třebíč on 13 January 1891. In 1905-09 he studied at the Wood Processing Industrial School in Chrudim. In 1909 he went to Germany, where he gained experience with leading furniture manufacturers in Munich, Stuttgart and Heilbronn. In 1920 he founded the United Arts and Crafts Plants; five years later, Vaňek along with Stanislav Kučera and Vilém Hrdlička founded Standart, a housing company (S.B.S.), which operated until 1932. Vaněk's most prestigious contract involved manufacturing the furniture for the Villa Tugendhat. Jan Vaněk was also a prolific architect and his best works include affordable housing projects in Černá Hora (1925) and Černá Pole in Brno (1925-26), a housing estate in Rybitví (1939-41) and designs of adaptations and extensions of the children's healthcare facility Zdravá generace (Healthy Generation) in Chocerady (1934-35). Vaněk can also be largely credited for the publication of the Bytová kultura (Housing Culture) journal written in German and Czech in 1924. After the termination of S.B.S., Jan Vaněk moved to Prague, where he set up Modern Housing Consulting (P.M.B.), House and Garden Workshops (D.D.Z) and the Vatex textile factory. In 1948 he was appointed managing director of the Czechoslovak Wood Processing Plants; subsequently, he managed the Central Folk Art Production and then the Timber Processing Development from 1954. In 1956 he was conferred the Order of Labour. He died in Prague on 22 August 1962.