Windows on the world: Prague couple's stunning shop fronts make people stop and look

Kosa Art Group is an international branding and design studio creating retail and event installations that are veritable works of art.

Diana Bocco

Written by Diana Bocco
Published on 07.09.2021 14:00 (updated on 08.09.2021)

Kosa Art Group, a creative agency specializing in beautiful window displays that verge on works of art is the brainchild of expat Zarina Kostelman, a self-described “citizen of the world,” and her Japanese husband.

The company, whose striking installations include everything from seasonal displays for hotels and restaurants to event-styling and birthday parties, recently moved its studio from London to Prague where the Kosa Art Group team of designers will produce its installations before deliverying to clients in Europe and the UK.

The studio's move was largely due in part to Brexit making it difficult to survive as an international business.

“Our work does not cost that much, but when we added our studio and transport costs, the bills were really high, which seemed very unfair on our clients,” says Zarina. “We still work with our clients in London – we have a team of artists in London and I’m in charge of the art direction remotely.”

The shop-fronts and other installations created by Kosa Art Group are truly an international effort, the work of highly talented artists and staffers from both the Czech Republic and around the world.

We recently chatted with Zarina about the studio’s move to Prague, their upcoming projects, as well as Prague's appeal for small expat business owners and her advice on how to thrive as a foreigner offering a new service on the Czech market.

In addition to window displays, what else does Kosa Art Group offer?

We offer a very wide variety of flexible services – everything to do with hands-on and one-of-a-kind art and design projects, party decoration, interior and exterior, idea development, art direction, and installations. Last year, we even designed a children’s playground concept. 

We are all about aesthetics and unconventional ideas and we create narratives that stand out and are worthy of a photo.

We are proud of our ability to be flexible and be open to new crazy ideas – we can also work fast and under a tight deadline.

Are window displays a new concept for Prague? They certainly don’t seem to be as common as they are in London and other capitals. 

Yes, we are new to Prague’s market and we also noticed that many of Prague's shops could use quite a bit of our services to improve their window displays and customer experience. We see a big potential here for creativity.

Even though you’re now based in Prague, do you plan on still offering your services in other countries?

We’ll continue to travel a lot around Europe, Asia and the UK. In October, we are planning to go to the UK to create window displays for Vivienne Westwood stores. And this winter we’ll go to Greece to create a unique interior design for a private apartment that is being built now. 

What business/companies/shops have you worked with in Prague so far?

We worked with Hamley’s and Becherovka, and the VaNa1 Outlet in central Prague is featuring four of our window displays right now. We are also starting to work with a very nice restaurant, Danielas, which has a great menu and international vibe - they are located right behind the Astronomical Clock. 

Has COVID affected your business? Are things going back to normal this summer or are things still slow? 

It’s been slow! We moved our studio to Prague from London during Covid, so it was pretty quiet for a while with window displays. However, we did not stop working – we designed a few websites, decorated a charter boat, refurbished an office, and started finding new clients in Prague. Things are getting back to normal now and we hope to get more projects for Halloween and Christmas season this year.

What makes Prague a place where small businesses can thrive?

Small businesses in Prague can coexist with large corporations – if you do what you love and do it better and faster than others, you will get noticed! Window displays that are made professionally by artists and managed throughout the year are definitely a new segment here in Prague and the whole Czech Republic really.

We hope that our services will get noticed soon and we will create a demand. We believe Prague can become as festive and interesting as London and New York with the unique touch that Kosa Art Group can offer! 

What advice would you give people who want to set up a business in Prague?

Find what’s missing and do it better.

This article was written in cooperation with the KOSA ART GROUP. Read more about our partner content policies here.

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