Speakers

Monika Konrad

Monika Konrad is a distinguished figure in the realm of architecture and urban planning. With a rich background that spans working at prestigious studios like OMA and Claus en Kaan Architecten, to leading roles at the consulting powerhouse Strelka KB, Monika’s career is marked by her deep commitment to shaping the urban landscapes of tomorrow. A proud alumna of the Poznań University of Technology, Erasmus University in Rotterdam, and Lund University, her academic journey is as impressive as her professional strides.

As an author, Monika has contributed to the development of urban standards and strategic city-scale projects, showcasing her expertise across continents in Europe, Asia, and Africa. Her current role as the Deputy Director of the Municipal Office of Architecture and Spatial Planning in Warsaw sees her at the forefront of the city’s Spatial Planning Policy, embodying her vision for sustainable and innovative urban environments.

Adding to her illustrious career, Monika Konrad holds the title of Extraordinary Professor at Brno Technical University, where she continues to inspire and educate the next generation of architects and urban planners. Her work not only reflects a profound understanding of architectural design and urban strategy but also a passionate commitment to the communities she serves.


Petra Marko

Petra Marko is a visionary architect and a leading expert in placemaking, dedicated to crafting cities and public spaces that prioritize the well-being and engagement of their inhabitants. As the Chief Executive of the Metropolitan Institute of Bratislava (MIB), Petra heads an innovative team that employs strategic approaches in architecture, urban planning, and participatory placemaking. Her leadership at MIB is characterized by a forward-thinking agenda aimed at enhancing the quality of life in Bratislava, tackling the city’s global challenges through community-focused solutions.

Before her influential work at MIB, Petra co-founded a placemaking practice in London, where she was deeply involved in designing public spaces, regenerating town centres, and masterplanning in the UK and Central Europe. Her initiatives have included leading a pivotal research and campaign to unlock London’s small sites, contributing her expertise to the UK’s National Infrastructure Commission, and nurturing the next generation of architects as a design tutor at The London School of Architecture. Petra’s commitment to sustainable urban environments is evident in her advocacy for greener cities, her role as an active commuter cyclist, and her contributions as a speaker at international forums.

Petra’s contributions to the field extend beyond her professional roles; she is the co-author of „VeloCity,“ a strategic vision reimagining the future of the countryside, and „Meanwhile City,“ a practical guide to temporary urban interventions. Her international experience, coupled with her roots in Bratislava, training in Vienna and London, and her return to her hometown after two decades abroad, underscore her unique perspective on urban innovation. Petra Marko is not just shaping the physical landscape of cities but also inspiring a more inclusive, sustainable, and vibrant urban future.


Silja Tillner

Silja Tillner is a renowned architect and urban planner whose passion and dedication have significantly influenced both fields. With an impressive academic background, including degrees from the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna and the Graduate School of Architecture and Urban Planning at UCLA, her expertise spans sensitive architectural interventions, innovative urban development plans, and sustainability-driven projects. Her work, deeply rooted in the principles of ecological urban planning and architecture, reflects a commitment to the harmonious integration of buildings within their environments, focusing on enhancing public spaces and promoting positive impacts on communities.

After honing her skills in Los Angeles, where she contributed to the revitalization of downtown, Silja returned to Vienna in 1995 to establish her own architecture office. This venture quickly gained recognition, particularly for the URBION project, showcasing her ability to blend innovative architecture with urban revitalization. Since 2007, she has co-led Architekten Tillner & Willinger, focusing on urban projects, renovations, and sustainable design. The firm is celebrated for its holistic design approach, winning numerous awards including the Bauhaus Prize and the LEAF Award.

Beyond her professional achievements, Silja is an active member of several specialist committees, advocating for high-quality, ecologically responsible planning. She has also shared her knowledge and insights through teaching and research, contributing to the architectural community as a visiting professor and frequent speaker at international forums. Her work on circular economy principles in construction highlights her ongoing commitment to resource conservation and sustainable development.


TOMEK RYGALIK

Tomek Rygalik, a prolific designer and visionary founder of Studio Rygalik, stands at the forefront of contemporary design, blending architecture and product innovation for an array of international brands, including Cappellini, Moroso, and Ikea. His work, characterized by a unique approach that marries functionality with elegance, has positioned him as a leading figure in the design world. With a commitment to sustainability and innovation, Tomek has developed products and spaces that resonate with a global audience, fostering a deeper appreciation for thoughtful design.

As an educator, Tomek extends his influence beyond the studio, nurturing the next generation of designers as a professor at Aalto University. His teaching philosophy, rooted in openness and an extensive real-world experience, has inspired students to explore the boundaries of creativity and design. Furthermore, as the founder of TRE Product, he has created a brand that exemplifies his dedication to quality, sustainability, and design excellence, offering furniture and accessories that blend beauty with practicality.

Tomek’s contributions to the design community also include the co-founding of DesignNature, an interdisciplinary community that promotes collaboration and innovation. This initiative, coupled with its creative campus in Sobole, serves as a testament to his belief in the power of design to effect positive change. Tomek Rygalik’s career is a beacon of creativity and leadership in the design world, driving forward the conversations around sustainable and innovative design practices.


VRTIŠKA & ŽÁK

Roman Vrtiška and Vladimír Žák, the ingenious duo behind the celebrated Prague-based design studio Vrtiška & Žák, have carved a niche for themselves in the design world as the Grand Designers of the Year 2022. Friends who turned their shared passion, diligence, and ability to see potential where others might not into a successful partnership, they embarked on this creative journey together over 15 years ago. Their studio’s work spans a broad spectrum, from product designs and interiors to architecture, seamlessly bridging the gap between artisan craftsmanship and industrial scale production.

At the core of their design philosophy lies an unyielding commitment to creativity and unconventional thinking, propelling their projects to the forefront of innovation. This approach has consistently earned their products prestigious accolades, including Good Design, Red Dot, and BIG SEE awards. Their dedication to the field extends beyond their studio work; for eight years, they have been leading the Furniture and Interior Design studio at UMPRUM in Prague, nurturing the next generation of designers with their insightful guidance and vast experience.

In 2022, Vrtiška & Žák expanded their influence further by taking on the roles of creative directors for RAVAK, a testament to their exceptional design capabilities and visionary leadership. Through their work, Roman Vrtiška and Vladimír Žák continue to inspire and shape the landscape of design, demonstrating the transformative power of creative collaboration and innovative thinking.


Monika Arczyńska

Monika Arczyńska stands as a paragon of architectural excellence and clever urban planning as the CEO of A2P2 architecture & planning. Her career, distinguished by a commitment to participatory design, master planning, and the thoughtful design of public spaces, reflects a deep dedication to crafting environments that not only meet the functional needs of communities but also enrich the human experience. During her tenure from 2006 to 2017 with the esteemed Heneghan Peng Architects team in Dublin, Dr. Arczyńska contributed her expertise to the creation of landmark public buildings such as the Grand Egyptian Museum, the Giant’s Causeway Visitor Centre, and the Palestinian Museum, the latter of which was honored with the prestigious Aga Khan Award. These projects underscore her ability to blend architectural innovation with sensitivity to cultural and historical contexts.

In her current role, Dr. Arczyńska leverages her extensive international experience to provide invaluable guidance to municipalities and cultural institutions at the pre-planning stages of public building projects. Her work includes organizing architectural competitions, which are pivotal in selecting designs that are both aesthetically pleasing and functionally superior. This process demonstrates her belief in the power of architecture to transform public spaces into arenas that foster community, culture, and connection. Dr. Arczyńska’s approach is informed by a profound understanding of the symbiotic relationship between space and society, making her a sought-after advisor for projects that aim to leave a lasting impact on the urban landscape.

Beyond her professional achievements, Dr. Arczyńska is deeply invested in the education and mentoring of the next generation of architects and urban planners. As an adjunct professor at the Gdansk University of Technology, she imparts her knowledge on urban design and participatory techniques, enriching the academic experience with her real-world insights. Her commitment to sharing her expertise extends to lecturing at various postgraduate courses and leading student workshops, nurturing a new wave of professionals equipped to address the challenges of contemporary urbanism. A regular contributor to architectural magazines such as Architektura-murator, Architecture & Biznes, and INTRO, Dr. Arczyńska also plays a vital role in promoting Polish architecture on the international stage, further solidifying her status as a luminary in the field of architecture and planning.


Zoltán Erő

Zoltán Erő, recipient of the Ybl Prize, currently serves as the Chief Architect of the Budapest Municipality. Born in 1958 and educated at the University of Technology in Budapest and the Centre for the Conservation of Historic Houses and Towns in Leuven, Belgium, Erő has carved out a distinguished career as an architect and urbanist. He is the founder of Palatium Studio Ltd. and a founding curator of the Centre for Contemporary Architecture. His professional portfolio spans a wide range of projects, including the preservation of architectural heritage and infrastructure development. Erő has been deeply involved in urban planning, public space development, and particularly the revitalization of historic towns, public spaces, and buildings.

Throughout his career, Erő has played a significant role in various urban renewal programs, including the Development Concept for Budapest around 2000. He notably contributed as the general architect for the Budapest Underground Line Metro 4, leading the architectural direction of the line and personally overseeing the design of four stations. His expertise in historic heritage has been recognized internationally, leading to his involvement in European Union projects related to historic heritage conservation. Furthermore, Erő has worked closely with the heritage programs of the Hungarian National Cultural Fund, contributing his skills to the preservation of Hungary’s architectural legacy.

In addition to his practical work, Erő is an active contributor to the academic and professional discourse on architecture and urban planning. He frequently delivers lectures and has a substantial number of publications to his name, sharing his insights and experiences with a broader audience. Since 2020, he has held the position of Chief Architect of the Budapest Municipality, where he continues to influence the architectural and urban development of Hungary’s capital. His work reflects a commitment to integrating the preservation of historical identity with the demands of contemporary urban living.


IVANKA KOWALSKI

Ivanka Kowalski’s career trajectory spans continents and fields, reflecting a rich blend of scientific rigor and artistic flair. Born on in Dubna, Russia, her initial academic pursuit led her to the Mathematics and Physics Faculty at Charles University, where from 1986 to 1991, she specialized in mathematical modeling in physics. Her quest for knowledge took her to the University of Oxford’s Wolfson College, earning a Master of Science in Applied Mathematics. Transitioning from academia to the financial sector, Ivanka spent three years as an analyst with Morgan Stanley in New York and London, embedding herself in the fast-paced world of investment banking.

The year 1994 marked a personal milestone as she married an American, a union that lasted until she was widowed in 2018. Ivanka’s relentless pursuit of personal growth led her to the Inchbald School of Design in London (1995-1996), where she studied interior design, shifting her focus from the abstract world of numbers to the tangible realm of spaces and aesthetics. Her professional journey in design began under the mentorship of Philippa Thorp, an esteemed interior designer in London, between 1996 and 1997. Following a brief hiatus for maternity leave, she founded Ivanka Kowalski Interior Design in 2000, dedicating herself to creating spaces that reflect her diverse background and experiences.

In 2006, Ivanka moved to Prague and established Ateliér Ivanka Kowalski, choosing to keep the studio small with a maximum of two collaborators, ensuring her personal involvement in all projects. This boutique approach allows her to blend her scientific background with her design expertise, creating uniquely informed and meticulously crafted interiors. Ivanka’s life, marked by significant international experiences—from her childhood in a global scientific community in Dubna to 15 years in England and a stint in New York—shapes her worldview and design philosophy. Despite her global journey, her work carries a distinct signature that transcends geographical boundaries, making her studio’s creations a reflection of a truly „citizen of the world“ ethos.


KLEMENS SCHILLINGER

Klemens Schillinger is a product and furniture designer operating out of Vienna, Austria, with an academic foundation from the Royal College of Art. Post-graduation, Schillinger embarked on a freelance career, collaborating with various design studios and simultaneously dedicating time to his personal projects. His portfolio includes work for notable brands such as TYP, Rimowa, and Kvadrat, showcasing his versatility and ability to adapt to different design aesthetics and requirements.

Schillinger’s design philosophy centers on the creation of straightforward yet meticulously considered products and design methodologies. He places a high value on the simplicity and functionality of his designs, aiming to achieve solutions that are intuitive and effective while minimizing material usage. His approach often leads to products that embody a subtle charm and understated elegance, characterized by their minimalistic design and poetic nuances.

Throughout his career, Schillinger has shown a commitment to not only commercial design projects but also to exploring ‚Do it Yourself‘ (DIY) concepts, which further reflects his interest in accessibility and user engagement in the design process. His work, whether for high-profile clients or his own exploratory projects, demonstrates a consistent dedication to clarity, sustainability, and innovation in product and furniture design.


DANIEL LIBESKIND

Daniel Libeskind, a Polish-American architect, has established himself as a significant presence in the international architecture and urban design community. His work is deeply influenced by his interests in music, philosophy, and literature, guiding him towards the creation of architecture that seeks to be meaningful, innovative, and environmentally considerate.

Libeskind’s architectural journey took a pivotal turn in 1989 when he founded his architectural studio in Berlin, Germany, following his competition win for the design of the Jewish Museum in Berlin. In 2003, the studio relocated its headquarters to New York City to manage the master planning of the World Trade Center redevelopment, a project that continues to evolve in Lower Manhattan.

The scope of Libeskind’s work is broad, encompassing a wide variety of projects worldwide, including museums, concert halls, convention centers, academic buildings, hotels, shopping centers, and residential structures. Serving as the Principal Design Architect for Studio Libeskind, he is actively engaged in both the design and discussion of architecture, contributing to academic and professional forums globally. His work, which has been widely published and exhibited, plays a role in shaping contemporary architectural discourse and the development of urban environments. Over the course of his career, Libeskind has received numerous accolades recognizing his contribution to architecture and society, such as the Goethe Medal, the Hiroshima Peace Prize, the Dresden Peace Prize, and the European Union Prize for Civil Rights, reflecting his impact on the field and beyond.


MARTIN THÖRNBLOM

Martin Thörnblom, originally from Stockholm and currently based in Vienna, Austria, has carved a niche for himself in the realm of interior architecture over the past three decades. As the founder of “studio thörnblom – büro für Innenarchitektur” in 2003, Thörnblom has dedicated his career to the comprehensive design, planning, and implementation of a wide array of projects. His work spans various phases, sizes, industries, and countries, taking projects from their initial sketches through to on-site coordination. Thörnblom holds a firm belief in interior architecture as a profession that commands respect and requires a high level of professionalism.

In addition to his work in interior architecture, Thörnblom has been actively involved in academia, leading workshops at the New Design University – NDU in St. Pölten, Austria, since 2010. His commitment to the profession extends beyond practice and education; he has served as Vice President of the BÖIA – Association of Austrian Interior Architects and, since 2019, as the President of the ECIA – European Council of Interior Architects.

The ECIA, under Thörnblom’s presidency, acts as a collective representative for European professional organizations in Interior Architecture and Design. Established in 1992, it encompasses 18 member organizations, representing over 16,000 practicing interior architects. The ECIA aims to facilitate the exchange of professional best practices, establish educational and professional standards for its members, and serve as a unified voice for interior architects at both the European and international levels, emphasizing the profession’s importance to society and the economy.


KAROLINA DROGOSZCZ

Karolina Drogoszcz combines her expertise as an Interior Designer and Civil Engineer with nearly 20 years of experience in the construction and design industry. Currently serving as the CEO of a design and construction company, Karolina oversees projects from the conceptual design phase through to completion, including all stages of the finishing process and move-in. Her hands-on approach ensures a cohesive and efficient execution of every project she undertakes.

Besides her leadership role, Karolina is dedicated to education and advocacy in the field of interior design. She actively shares her knowledge and expertise on best practices in interior finishing through her social media platforms, which have amassed a collective following of over 100,000. Through these channels, she provides valuable insights and guidance, helping to inform and inspire both industry professionals and enthusiasts alike.

Karolina’s career is characterized by a commitment to both the practical and educational aspects of interior design and construction. Her comprehensive approach leads to the successful realization of complex projects and contributes to the ongoing dialogue about quality and innovation in interior design practices.


PETER LORENZ

Peter Lorenz, an architect based in Innsbruck, founded his office in 1980 and subsequently expanded with offices in Vienna in 1990 and Trieste in 2020. Throughout his career, Lorenz has designed around 500 projects, with approximately a third of them realized. His professional focus spans urban planning, architecture, and spatial design, with active projects across Austria, Germany, Slovenia, and Italy.

Notable recent projects led by Lorenz include the Medical University in Linz, the School on Market in Vienna, and a series of Bora Projects located in Raubling, Niederndorf, and Herford. He is also involved in the development of the Factory for Youth in Trieste, Sportcity Ilirija nearing completion in Ljubljana, and several residential complexes in Vienna such as Nussbaumallee and Breitenfurterstraße.

Lorenz is committed to constant travel as a means of enhancing his professional and personal development. He is actively involved in teaching and participates in numerous debates concerning various aspects of urban planning and architecture. His discussions often explore the intersections of nature, city, beauty, construction, economy, sustainability, and more. Lorenz also contributes as a juror in multiple design councils and architecture competitions and frequently delivers lectures both in his home country and abroad. His international teams in Innsbruck and Vienna take a (post-)humanistic approach to their projects, striving to overcome spatial challenges without limiting themselves to any particular specialization, ensuring a broad and adaptable skill set.


PETER BORDÁS

Peter Bordás is the head architect at BORD Architectural Studio, where he focuses on creating environments that are conducive to relaxation, creativity, and well-being. His architectural designs often address challenges within the broader urban context as well as the specific needs of individual sites. He incorporates narrative elements into his projects, giving each building a distinct character.

His notable works include the Etyeki Kúria Winery, the reconstruction of the Lónyay-Hatvany Villa in Buda Castle, the Sauska Winery in Mád, and several projects in Debrecen such as the Nagyerdei Stadium, the International School, the Innovation Centre, and the Aquaticum Water Park. Each project demonstrates his approach to integrating storytelling with architectural design.

In 2017, Peter established the DECODE Prize to recognize artistic projects characterized by innovative and compelling ideas. This award aims to highlight the work of emerging artists and architects, fostering greater engagement between creators and the public and promoting dialogue within the architectural community.


ANDRÁS KERÉKGYÁRTÓ

András Kerékgyártó is a designer based in Budapest, focusing primarily on furniture and product design. He completed his Master’s Degree in furniture design at Moholy-Nagy University of Arts in Budapest in 2011, and continued his studies at Aalto University in Helsinki until 2013, enhancing his expertise in furniture design.

Throughout his career, András has been involved in various projects that have led to the production of numerous successful products. He is dedicated to a thorough design process that emphasizes close collaboration with clients, ensuring that design development is well-integrated with production requirements. His skills cover the entire spectrum of the design process, including concept creation, pre-production planning, and post-production monitoring.

In addition to his professional work, András also engages with the academic community as an adjunct professor at the Moholy-Nagy University of Art and Design, where he shares his knowledge and experience in design with upcoming designers.


ADAM RAJNOHA

Adam Rajnoha is a leading figure in the dynamic virtual and augmented reality sector. As a VR & AR Strategist and XR Entrepreneur, Adam’s achievements include notable collaborations with industry giants such as Apple, Adidas, Niantic, and Deloitte. Currently, he holds the position of CEO at YORD and is a co-founder of several successful startups. Adam’s journey in the tech world began after completing his studies at CEMS. He moved to Silicon Valley to support the E-commerce startup Zoovu (Smartassistant) in its North American market expansion.

His career continued in Vienna and New York, where he excelled as a Partner and innovation manager, steering product development through a global network of tech partners and digital agencies. Guided by an insatiable curiosity for leveraging technology to solve problems, Adam discovered his passion in the realm of Immersive Reality. He co-founded the VR/AR studio YORD, where he spearheads the adoption of innovative solutions that transition physical experiences into the virtual and augmented reality sphere.

iiUnder his leadership, YORD has become a leading global VR/AR/Metaverse studio, with operations spanning Prague, London, and New York. The studio is renowned for its high-end immersive experiences and its provision of expert consultancy services to businesses venturing into immersive reality. Adam is also involved in pioneering of futuristic city initiatives in the Middle East, where he applies his expertise to redefine the possibilities of virtual reality in architecture and design.


JAKUB POLLÁG

Jakub Pollág is a Slovak designer based in Prague, Czech Republic, where he has made a significant mark in the design industry. He founded Zeitgeist Limited and is also the co-founder of Studio deFORM, which he established in 2011 alongside Václav Mlynář. Their collaboration began during their academic tenure at the Academy of Arts, Architecture, and Design in Prague and continued at the Royal College of Art in London. 

Pollág’s approach to design merges modern design principles with an innovative use of materials, underscored by a commitment to quality craftsmanship. His projects frequently push the boundaries of product and furniture design, balancing aesthetic appeal with practical functionality. This pursuit often leads to exploring new concepts that challenge traditional design norms.

Throughout his career, Pollág’s work has been recognized and featured on various platforms, highlighting his ability to innovate and redefine the standards of contemporary design. His projects are particularly noted for their sustainability and distinctiveness, making him a prominent figure in the modern design landscape. His creations not only adhere to high standards of functionality and style but also demonstrate a conscious effort to address environmental considerations within the design process.


MINUSPLUS

Minusplus is an independent architecture and design studio located in Budapest, composed of a dedicated team of 20 professionals. The studio is committed to delivering sustainable and innovative design solutions that align with their philosophy of creating beauty and harmony in their work. This ethos is a driving force behind the studio’s approach, emphasizing the importance of aesthetics in architectural design.

The diversity of Minusplus’s projects reflects the team’s broad interests and expertise. Each work they undertake is a testament to their passion for design and their enjoyment of the creative process, which is visibly embedded in the structures they create. This enthusiasm translates into designs that are not only functional and innovative but also intrinsically beautiful.

Minusplus’s commitment to excellence in design is recognized both nationally and internationally. Their projects garner continuous professional interest, and their buildings have been featured in various publications and have received numerous awards. This recognition underscores the studio’s ability to consistently produce high-quality and impactful architectural work.


GRAU Architects

GRAU Architects, based in Bratislava and established in 2014, is led by Andrej Olah and Filip Marčák. The studio specializes in a broad spectrum of architectural projects, including public buildings, family homes, office spaces, residential interiors, festivals, public spaces, and exhibitions. The team at GRAU Architects is dedicated to working within and with the context of each project, avoiding superficiality and inauthentic practices. Their commitment extends to using only genuine materials and approaches throughout the design and construction process.

The studio’s methodology is characterized by a comprehensive approach that starts with the overall concept and extends to meticulous detail, from initial vision through to final realization. A key aspect of their philosophy involves creating a seamless integration between interiors and exteriors, enhancing the functionality and aesthetic appeal of their designs.

GRAU Architects is recognized for its thoughtful and contextual approach to architecture, ensuring that each project not only meets the specific needs of its users but also contributes positively to its surroundings. Their work is a continual exploration of how spaces can be crafted to harmonize with their environment, embodying a true commitment to design integrity and architectural excellence.


JURAJ BENETIN

Juraj Benetin is a principal architect at Compass Architekti. Established in Bratislava in 2004, the firm has been a significant contributor to Slovak architecture. Benetin graduated from the Faculty of Architecture at the Slovak University of Technology in Bratislava, and during his studies, he co-founded Compass Architekti with Matej Grebért and his brother Ján.

With nearly two decades at Compass, Benetin has become one of the leading architects in the country, contributing to the evolution of its architectural scene. The studio is renowned for its focus on urban residential projects, exemplified by their inaugural project in the „Slnečnice“ residential zone in southern Bratislava, a vast undertaking anticipated to house between 12-15 thousand residents upon its completion.

Benetin’s career showcases an extensive 19-year tenure in architectural planning and design, working on a multitude of projects ranging from urban revitalizations to commercial and residential buildings. His work pays particular attention to large-scale projects, urbanism, and waterfront developments, with „Nové Lido“ and „Vydrica“ standing out as exemplary projects that reflect his approach to architecture.


MICHAELA MCCLELLAND

Michaela McClelland has dedicated over twenty years to developing international business, navigating the complexities of global markets with a focus on Europe, the Middle East, and India. Her experience with luxury brands like Swarovski and Preciosa has honed her expertise in expanding business frontiers and establishing market presence.

Returning to Slovakia, Michaela took on the role of Sales Director at Javorina, a company renowned for its craftsmanship in solid wood furniture. Her return marks a strategic shift, aiming to reinforce Javorina’s domestic market position while spearheading its expansion into key international markets.

Michaela is known for her love of the challenges that come with business development, particularly in penetrating new markets. Her goal at Javorina is not just to enhance its footprint locally but to ensure the brand becomes a strong, recognized presence abroad, leveraging her extensive experience and strategic acumen.


PETR HLAVÁČEK

Petr Hlaváček is a prominent architect, urban planner, university lecturer, and currently serves as the Deputy Mayor of Prague for Territorial and Strategic Development, representing STAN. His career began at the Project Institute for the Construction of the Capital City of Prague under the guidance of Ing. Arch. Machonin from 1987 to 1991. Following the fall of the regime, he established his own studio and further broadened his academic and professional horizons by serving as a visiting professor at the University of Michigan in 1993.

In 2009, together with his wife, Petr co-founded the Headhand studio, and since 2010, he has been an educator at the Faculty of Architecture. His leadership roles continued as he served as the director of the Prague Institute of Planning and Development between 2015 and 2016. From 2018 to 2023, he was the Deputy Mayor of Prague for Territorial Development and the city’s territorial plan under the United Forces for Prague coalition. Since last year, he has continued his commitment to shaping Prague’s urban landscape in his current role as Deputy Mayor for Territorial and Strategic Development with STAN.


ÉVA OLASZ

Éva Olasz is a co-owner of Multifelt Factory, a felt manufacturing enterprise with a history spanning 127 years, located in Hungary. Her professional career in the design industry is marked by a variety of significant roles and experiences. As a senior executive of a Hungarian-owned company, Eva honed her business acumen, focusing on business development and sales within the design sector. Her dedication to expanding her expertise led her to relocate to Asia, aiming to gain a deeper understanding of manufacturing development processes.

In her subsequent role as Design Director at the Hungarian Fashion and Design Agency, Eva leveraged her professional experience and extensive international network. Her efforts were centered on enhancing the connectivity of the Hungarian design industry with global markets, with the strategic goal of establishing Budapest as a key regional hub for the design industry. This position allowed her to influence the direction of Hungarian design on an international stage, fostering growth and innovation.

Currently, in addition to her leadership role at Multifelt Factory, Eva serves as a member of the presidency of Fabunio. This organization is dedicated to showcasing the individual and community potential of the wood and furniture industry from both the designer’s and user’s perspectives. Her work with Fabunio aligns with her ongoing commitment to advancing the design and manufacturing industries, demonstrating the impact and possibilities within these sectors.


MICHAL MATLON

Michal Matlon is an architectural psychologist focused on enhancing human experiences in various built environments, from individual office settings to expansive urban neighborhoods. He currently works at theLivingCore, a strategic consultancy based in Vienna, where he applies his expertise to create spaces that support well-being and meaningful engagement. His approach combines psychological insights with architectural design to develop environments that contribute positively to everyday human interactions and activities.

In addition to his role at theLivingCore, Michal is a co-founder of the Venetian Letter, a newsletter dedicated to human-centered, science-based architecture and urbanism. This publication serves as a platform for sharing research and developments in the field, aiming to inform and inspire a broader audience about the significance of psychological principles in architectural and urban design.

Previously, Michal was employed by one of the largest office developers in Europe. During his tenure, he was responsible for developing a comprehensive user experience strategy for the company’s buildings. This role also involved establishing an internal education program aimed at enhancing the skills and knowledge of the company’s staff regarding user-centered design practices. Through these initiatives, Michal contributed to shaping spaces that are not only functional but also enriching for their users.


JAKUB KLAŠKA

Prior to establishing his own practice, Jakub Klaska worked as a Senior Associate at Zaha Hadid Architects for decade and half. During his tenure at ZHA, he contributed to a diverse range of high- profile projects.

In addition to his work at the practice, Jakub Klaska teaches in the Master’s program at the Bartlett School of Architecture at University College London. Alongside Dirk Krolikowski, he co-leads a postgraduate design unit, Unit 14. This academic involvement serves as a test bed for exploration and innovation, exploring the new and leveraging technologies, workflows, and modes of production.

Jakub earned his Master’s in Architecture and Urbanism from the master class of Zaha Hadid at the University of Applied Arts in Vienna in January 2010, following his earlier studies at the Academy of Architecture, Arts, and Design in Prague. He further obtained a Postgraduate Diploma in Professional Practice & Management in Architecture at The Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL, in 2016, and has been an ARB registered architect since then.