1 July – 3 August 2017
National Theatre piazzetta (Václav Havel Square)
Prague, Czech Republic
Enter a botanical labyrinth of nearly thousand plants and set on a quest to find those renowned for their medicinal properties.
There are approximately 400 000 plant species worldwide, with nearly a tenth of them being used for its medicinal properties. The aim of Victoria pragensis is to emphasize the precious yet fragile cultural heritage of medicinal plants, and their role in the context of public spaces and urban design. Its name derives from Victoria amazonica - the world's largest water lily, first discovered in 1801 by Czech botanist Thaddaus Haenke who was one the first to have scientifically described Latin America’s flora to European audience.
"Requirements for a city are ever-changing. Its inhabitants want to experience it in the purest form. They want multi-layered cities that can provide various types of spaces to cater to their needs. In fact, they think of a city as their own space. A space that forms part of their houses, flats. A space where they spend increasingly more time. A space they are increasingly attached to.
The importance of green spaces, city parks or community gardens is rising: it is exactly those spaces that create urban microclimates. Greenery is perceived as an indicator of the quality of life and is often being considered when selecting a specific location within a city. The awareness of the role of plants in people’s lives is increasing.
Victoria pragensis is a temporary landscape within urban space. It is comprised of nearly thousand plants forming together green soft contours. They contrast with adjacent buildings of the National Theatre, changing drastically the face of the square. It creates a “plant forest” surrounding each visitor. This green structure becomes a sort of labyrinth evolving from the square grid, leading the visitor to its centre where the plants absorb them entirely.
One single type of decorative grass dominates the whole installation, creating stage for medicinal plants that are commonly used in medicine for its specific effects. Visitors are encouraged to discover them in the installation in order to learn more about their appearance as well as functions. All plants are inserted into the installation on a random basis and in various levels depending on the height of each frame. The construction itself provides a certain analogy to trunks in a wood carrying branches with leaves. The whole levitating topography descends towards the centre of the installation where its level is at the lowest point, creating an allegoric meadow.
With Victoria pragensis, the authors encourage the audience to make use of public spaces they perceive as a vital part of our living rooms, work spaces and places for leisure."
--- Juráš Lasovský, architect
botanical lab | education platform | creative arts space | concept store | more
The project's name is inspired by Thaddaus Häenke, famed explorer and botanist who is sometimes dubbed "Czech Humboldt". Häenke was born in a tiny little village in Bohemia but spent most of his life on scientific expeditions around the globe where he collected thousands of plants, described its uses and even contributed to the creation of the smallpox vaccine. He died in Cochabamba, Bolivia in 1816. By naming our project after him, we intend to pay him a long deserved tribute.
Hænke Botanical Lab
Chvalova 12 (roh s Bořivojovou ul).
Praha 3 - Žižkov 130 00
Otevírací doba: po - pá 13 - 19h
Vybavení do Hænke Botanical Lab poskytla česká designerská firma Amanoriginal. Prostor je tak i showroom této rodinné značky.
We'd really appreciate your feedback. In fact, it's absolutely crucial for us. So please don't hesitate to let you know what's on your mind, how you'd like to collaborate or if you need workshops in your work, neighbourhood or so. Or just say hello.