Light at the end of the Žižkov Tunnel: Mirrored artwork will adorn Prague 3 square

The original winning design proved too difficult to implement, so the second-place entry will be built instead.

Raymond Johnston

Written by Raymond Johnston Published on 01.06.2023 12:00:00 (updated on 02.06.2023) Reading time: 2 minutes

When the entry to the Žižkov Tunnel is finished next year, it will be decorated with a mirrored art installation that reflects natural light. The mouth of the tunnel at Tachovské náměstí is currently being renovated.

The Prague 3 district held a competition for art decorating the square last year. In December, a jury decided on the winners from two dozen entrants, but the original winning design proved too difficult to implement. As a result, the second-place design by Vít Šimek from Atelier HRA will be used instead. “If everything goes smoothly, the Žižkovské tunnel could see the work of art in the first half of 2024,” the Prague 3 administration announced on social media.

The Žižkov Tunnel connects Prague’s Žižkov and Karlín districts by running under Vítkov Hill. When renovations are finished, the square will have new trees, new pavement, benches for rest, and more convenient entrances to both the tunnel and the park in Vítkov Hill.

Šimek, who collaborated with Karolína Hausenblasová, said he based his concept on working with light created by mirrored walls along the tunnel exit. The mirrors should be made of polished stainless steel. Šimek added that the interactive work of art will become a permanent part of the public space of Tachovské náměstí.

“The mirrored walls add more light, space, and dynamism to the otherwise relatively narrow corridor descending toward the tunnel. The work interacts with a person coming from Karlín in the same way as with a pedestrian or cyclist coming from the opposite direction," Šimek said in a press release.

Prague 3 City Councilor Pavel Křeček, responsible for culture and a member of the jury, said the district now has to agree with the designers and then secure financing for the actual implementation of the work.

Planned art for the Žižkov Tunnel entry. Photo: Praha 3
Planned art for the Žižkov Tunnel entry. Photo: Praha 3

“We want to get the necessary funds from the municipality's Art for the City program, from which funds were already drawn for the art competition itself. The price of the work should not exceed CZK 3.5 million,” Křeček said.

Winning entry too difficult to implement

Called Trubka, the first-place design came from Studio Polytonal and incorporated water and light elements. During negotiations between the studio and Prague 3, it became clear the water features would be technically difficult to implement.

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"Despite a mutual effort, together with the authors of the winning proposal, we were unable to find an alternative solution that did not contain water elements. In the end, the winner decided to leave the realization of the work of art to the author, who finished in second place in the competition with his proposal," Křeček said.

All the competition proposals will be exhibited in the Prague 3 Infocentrum. The exhibition opens at 6 p,m. on June 6 and will run until June 30.

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