The office of the Chamber of Deputies will organize a competition for a new form of ceremonial presentation of the Constitution. It promises a more modern and attractive form in terms of design. The winner of the competition will produce a new product within the price limit of two million crowns. The first three proposals will be awarded a moderate amount of 100, 75 and 50 thousand crowns.
Proposals will be assessed by an expert independent jury. There will be no officials or politicians among the ten jurors. “We currently have the consent of the persons approached. These are top specialists, whose composition gives the jury an intergenerational, international (two members live abroad) and, within the Czech Republic, interregional character,” Chancellor of the Chamber Martin Plíšek told Nauzal.
Universities, museums, practitioners and theorists are represented in the jury. They will judge the anonymous proposals of the presenters, which will be only the artists approached in advance. According to Plíšek, the highest possible quality of proposals will be ensured.
“True top performers usually don’t participate in completely open competitions. They don’t want to spend energy on a competition that doesn’t seem exclusive from the perspective of the participants,” he explains.
Composition of the expert jury
Prof. Pavel Büchler is a visual artist internationally known especially for his conceptual work with text. His works can be seen in the collections of a number of important institutions, including London’s Tate.
Doc. PhDr. Eliška Čabalová he masters many book techniques that are no longer used today. The graphic designer and director is the recipient of a number of prestigious awards.
Doc. Karel Haloun deals with design, poster creation, CD covers and logotypes. He worked on the covers of music carriers for the samizdata edition, but also for large foreign recording studios.
MgA. Lukáš Kijonka is a book graphic artist and graphic designer working primarily as an art director and mediator of the process of designing complex identities for entities and at the level of individual projects.
PhDr. Iva Knobloch since 1989 she has been working as a curator of the collection of applied graphics and photography of the Museum of Applied Arts in Prague, which she also managed in the years 2002–2005.
MgA. Klára Kvízová participates in the design of a number of books, art publications, magazines, music projects, art catalogs and exhibitions. Creates a visual communication style for major companies.
M.Sc. Pavla Pauknerová Ph.D. is a theorist and critic in the field of design from Prague’s UMPRUM, where she lectures on the theory of graphic design and examines experimental aspects of contemporary design practice.
MgA. I am doing a Peška Ph.D. deals with designing new fonts, educational, exhibition and publishing activities. He is a regular contributor to a number of magazines and a lecturer at the Royal College of Art, London.
Mgr. Jaroslav Tvrdon was awarded several times in the Most Beautiful Books of the Czech Republic competition for his own book adaptations. He is devoted to the history and theory of graphic design, typography, literature, applied and visual arts.
MgA. Adam Uchytil is an artist, graphic designer and art director. He is interested in capturing the moment of creation and working with different media, such as drawing on a mobile phone.
The current form of the ceremonial execution of the Constitution dates from 1993. It is written in one of the most common fonts, Times New Roman, and stored in brown leather boards with a large national coat of arms. At the inauguration, all Czech presidents, Václav Havel, Václav Klaus and Miloš Zeman, made their pledge to it twice, and for the first time in March this year, the current head of state, Petr Pavel.
One of the expert judges, Adam Uchytil, head of the Graphic Design Studio at the Faculty of Art and Design of the Jan Evangelista Purkyně University, does not necessarily view the current form critically:
“Times New Roman is a great font in its own way, but also the first choice. Does the Constitution deserve more? I guess so, but it’s a tricky question. Times New Roman can be taken as a certain message from a conceptual approach. After all, the Constitution is a document for everyone, just as the font can be popular, for everyone. This is also how the assignment can be understood.’
Modern values include modern design
Constitutional law experts agree that the Constitution of the Czech Republic is not only the key legal document of the state, from which its functioning depends. It is also of great importance on a symbolic level, as it reflects the basic values on which the whole society stands.
“And that’s why the Constitution deserves a new look. Modern design belongs to modern values,” thinks Adam Uchytil. “An interesting moment could also be a regular change in the form of the document over a certain period of time. No one will probably burn down the old Institute. It will be a sure testimony of its time. In a hundred years, we will probably look at the laser-engraved Institute and compare,” he adds.
Another member of the jury, associate professor Karel Haloun, who teaches at the University of Applied Arts, adds his opinion: “The new look should combine a modern concept and dignity. As a successful case, I can cite, for example, the form of the presidential promise from this year’s inauguration.”
The processing of this document aroused public passion in March this year. The author of the typeface, Petra Dočekalová, chose a historicizing alphabet. However, she stood by her decision: “I knew that if I took the font too simultaneously and trendy, the comments would be even worse. It would seem that the promise does not respect the institution for which it is intended.’
You can read more about the graphic implementation of the promise here:
Unlike the pledge, which is used once for each inauguration separately, the new form of the Constitution will be used universally. Chancellor Martin Plíšek assures that the sponsors of the competition are also thinking about the case where the Parliament of the Czech Republic would approve a change in the wording of the basic law. “In such a case, the entire wording would not be drawn up again, only a restoration of the amended passage would occur.”
In addition to the inauguration of the future head of state at a joint meeting of both chambers of the Parliament of the Czech Republic, the new ceremonial version of the Constitution will serve as exhibition material for exhibitions on various anniversaries connected with the highest domestic law.
The new graphic form will also be processed digitally. An interactive version will be available to visitors to the Parliament. These educational spaces in the Šternber Palace were opened at the end of September by the Speaker of the Chamber of Deputies, Markéta Pekarová Adamová.
The expert jury will meet for the first time next Monday, and will choose the winner of the competition in April next year. He will then have several months to implement the proposal itself. The new form of ceremonial implementation of the constitution will be presented to the public at the turn of August and September 2024. The inauguration will be “participated” for the first time after the completion of the first presidential mandate of Petr Pavel in the spring of 2028.