Jan Bočan

Born in 1937, Bočan graduated from the Faculty of Architecture of the Czech Technical University in Prague in 1962. Working for Beta  – a studio run centrally by an association affiliated with the only commissioning body at the time: the state – he soon became one of the main exponents of Czech Brutalism. It was while working at Beta that Bočan came to realize projects such as the Embassy of the Czech Republic in London 1965, the Intercontinental Hotel in Prague 1968 and the Czech Embassy in Stockholm 1972. All of Bočan’s buildings were conceived holistically – including the interior details and furnishings – to create complete works of art.

Reflecting on the concept for the Czech Embassy in Stockholm, Bočan observed: “Luminaires – clear glass balls in concrete cassettes – are our core design element. These evoke the ambience of the old gas lamps on the streets of Prague. The main lighting elements in the social spaces are the work of Jaroslava Brychtová, Stanislav Libenský and René Roubíček, in collaboration with a number of artists, including Vaclav Cígler, Hugo Demartini, Jan Fišar, Kuchařová, Milan Laluha and Rudavský. Stanislav Kolíbal’s mini garden is beautiful and interesting. We tried to create the atmosphere of Prague and the Czech landscape, with a tinge of the sadness of the era. At the same time, we wanted the environment to feel like an interpretation of a garden, rather than a specific place, to evoke more broadly the culture of the nation it represents. There is a metal relief – an abstract form that casts a shadow, like a ghost, on the concrete ceiling.”


Text by Adam Stech