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HAUTE DUBAI Magazine / Living /

Leading Light:
An Interview with Leon Jakimic,
Founder and President of Lasvit

Leading Light: An Interview with Leon Jakimic, Founder and President of Lasvit

Since its founding by Leon Jakimic in 2007, Lasvit has made a global name for itself for unique works of glass, including bespoke lighting installations, glass artworks, and award-winning collections. The Czech company combines the authenticity of bohemian hand-blown glass with innovative technologies and creative craftsmanship in its projects spanning the globe from London, Paris and Prague, to international cities including Moscow, Los Angeles, Hong Kong and Singapore. In the Middle East, glass sculptures and installations made by Lasvit can be seen at Kempinski Hotel Mall of the Emirates Dubai, Jumeirah at Etihad Towers Abu Dhabi, Hyatt Capital Gate Abu Dhabi, Sofitel Dubai and Kempinski Burj Rafal Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Now, with an Atelier in Dubai Design District (d3), Lasvit aims to introduce its collections to the UAE and regional markets…

Leon Jakimic, Founder and President of Lasvit

Congratulations on the opening of your new Atelier at Dubai Design District (d3)! What attracted you to this location?

Thank you – it is very exciting for us to open our Atelier at d3.  We have been in Dubai for the last 7 years and for us, moving to d3 was an easy decision. Collaborating with d3 provides us a valuable platform to share Lasvit’s unique world of design and craftsmanship with the Dubai community – and extend that to the GCC and beyond.

For those who have not heard about your company, can you give us a brief insight into Lasvit?

Lasvit is a manufacturer of unique works of glass, including lighting and glassware collections, bespoke lighting installations and glass artworks. I founded Lasvit with a single vision – to create the perfect experience through the quality of light, glass and design. Our motto is ‘Bohemian Perfection’. ‘Bohemian’ refers both to the region and the proverbial creative and free-spirited approach. We continue to strive for perfection and precision, much like our predecessors. This philosophy translates into everything Lasvit produces. Lasvit has 12 international offices in Europe, Asia, the Middle East and Americas. 

Lasvit artworks reflect the precision and mastery of our Czech-based heritage of glassmakers grounded in the centuries-old Bohemian tradition, with 1,000-year-old techniques that have stood the test of time. The list of Lasvit projects includes bespoke installations in private residences, public spaces and luxurious hotels as well as in high-end boutiques. Today Lasvit installations can be found in the world’s most exclusive hotels, from Paris to New York and Hong Kong to Seoul. Here in the UAE, our installations adorn such exclusive hotels as the Armani, Palazzo Versace, Rosewood and St. Regis. A growing number of discerning private residences are similarly enhanced.

Your innovative light installations can be seen at some of the most prestigious addresses in Dubai and Abu Dhabi. How strong is the region’s appeal for the glasswork and lighting you produce? Do you consider it an important market?

The UAE region is definitely a very important market for us.  The appeal is for more than an installation, it is the same as investing in art, or a hotel brand – our installations permanently increase the value of the spaces they fill.  People visit these spaces to see the works of Lasvit – it is an experience that they want to be a part of.

Lasvit’s Oculus architectural lighting sculpture at Jumeirah at Etihad Towers, Abu Dhabi

Perhaps your bespoke and commissioned work is most noticeable in the UAE, but you also have very impressive ready-made collections. Which side of the business are you more focused on?

The collections are as important as our bespoke installations and both receive equal focus from us as a business.  While the bespoke installations involve working intimately with our corporate clients to understand their needs, and develop unique pieces that will transform the spaces in which they reside, our collections enable us to reach our personal customers and incorporate Lasvit into their lifestyle. Through our Atelier at d3 we are now able to introduce these collections to the UAE and regional markets. While we have already received a great amount of interest in the collections, we expect this to increase with time. Watch this space.

What are the main differences and varying design considerations in approaching residential and commercial projects? Which is more exciting for you and your team?

The approach to both types of projects is similar.  The process we go through from conceptualization, to design, to manufacturing, installation and maintenance is the same. But with a residential project there is more intimacy, as the project is very personal. With a commercial project, the installation is among a wider audience, so its appeal must be correspondingly more universal, but always considering the uniqueness of the space. For us, from project conceptualization, we work closely with our clients, whether residentially or commercially. We must uncover the inspired story that connects the final installation to the client and the environment within which it will reside.

What we aspire to with each creation is an interpretation of our client’s desires. We strive to capture elements of influence from the surrounding environments, which enables us to produce an installation that will integrate seamlessly into the space.

We keep clients involved through every step of the creative process. They are invited to production facilities in the Czech Republic during the production process, in order to fine-tune both design and production.

Our expert teams from the Czech Republic travel to various final destinations for installation and testing of all bespoke glass art installations.  Lasvit remains hands on throughout this process and any on-going maintenance that may be required.

What is more exciting for our design team? I think the end result of seeing the amazement and positive reaction of our clients. It’s equally exciting to unveil them in their final state whether it’s for commercial or residential installations. It is what we strive for – to bring a little magic to spaces through the combination of glass and light.

Lasvit’s 'Fire' light sculpture at Al Rigga Metro Station, Dubai.

You have a team of talented in-house designers but you collaborate with many different artists as well. What are the dynamics of such collaborations? Do you look for these talents or do they find you?

I really believe that when a brand aspires to excellence in any industry, it quite naturally aligns with others in that eco-system. Sharing creativity and innovation creates unique works of art and design. 

Lasvit maintains world-class research and development facilities for craftsmanship, design, engineering, lighting technology and metal manufacturing. It is this passion and on-going strive for creativity that attracts us to work with world renowned designers and them to us. That philosophy is very much mutual and so the dynamics are that of a true collaboration. That commitment has resulted in creative collaborations with some of the world’s most celebrated designers including André Fu, Daniel Libeskind, the Campana Brothers, Nendo Studio, Maarten Baas, Arik Levy and Michael Young, to name but a few.

Lasvit 'Ice' chandelier by Daniel Libeskind

Has the development of lighting technology in the past few years had a strong effect on the projects you do? What do you consider an important breakthrough?

Lighting technology has certainly enabled us to take our craft to a new height of creativity and given us a new realm, so to speak, to design within. That domain is limitless in terms of combining imagination with innovation and technology.

For us, one of the greatest breakthroughs was the introduction of kinetic technology to our craft.   What kinetic technology has enabled us to do is to give our installations a new dimension – an interactive element where onlookers don’t just admire the piece but can be involved in the actual programming of those pieces. We created our E-motions Collection, which houses some of the world’s most mesmerizing glass art installations. Lasvit’s kinetic sculptures conduct reflections and refractions of light in movement and are programmable through an iPhone or an iPad. Our latest creation, Supernova, went one step further to incorporate a motion sensor, enabling it to recognize human movement and replicate it.

We are very excited about the endless possibilities presented to us and are certain that Lasvit will continue to push the boundaries of transforming glass into breath-taking experiences.

‘Water’ lighting sculpture by Lasvit graces the ceilings of the Khalid Bin Al Waleed Station in Dubai.

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