Tour de France – Trophies
Crystal glass reward for the best
Once again, the Tour de France trophies were designed by ŠKODA Design
or the 10th time in a row, the winners of the famous Tour de France cycling race have raised trophies made in the Czech Republic above their heads. Peter Olah, a ŠKODA Design team member, was in charge of crafting their shape, as he was on all previous nine.
In 2011, the Mladá Boleslav designers set themselves the task of making an iconic Tour de France trophy that would become the symbol of the race. At the same time, they intended to enrich the cycling event of the year with something typically Czech. They decided to design prizes made of Czech crystal glass and draw attention to the art of our glassmakers. “The unchanging shape requires that a truly original shape be created each year to differentiate the trophies from each other. At the beginning, we never imagined that someone might have more than one of them in their display case. But Peter Sagan, for example, has already acquired several. That’s why it was important that we come up with a genuine original every year”, says Olah. Today, in the design phase, he also thinks a little about how his new work might stand out against that of his compatriots.
New technological procedures
This year’s trophy has an unusual pattern of “growing” rectangles. The ŠKODA designer has drawn inspiration from both traditional and modern techniques. It is based on Czech cubism that is typical of ŠKODA AUTO, while also using 3D modelling technology. “I’m applying techniques I know from car design. First, I made a 3D model using line blending. It wasn’t clear whether this decoration could be created on a glass object using a grinder, but in the end, the glassmakers did it”, explains Olah. At the same time, he admits that inventing an original pattern every year is becoming more and more challenging. However, the Lasvit glassworks that Peter is traditionally collaborating with are providing him with support. “First, he describes his inspiration, and then we look for a common way to materialise it. In the first draft, Peter often goes beyond the limits of craftsmanship. Paper can withstand a lot, but the actual material has its limits. We don’t know what decorative cuts will do, for example, in a narrow spot. We first fine-tune it on prototypes to achieve the line accuracy that Peter requires”, explains Marek Bartko, the Lasvit technologist. Luděk Vokáč
60 cm high
4 kg heavy
green or clear glass
A lot of fun with glass
Peter Olah, the ŠKODA AUTO designer, also uses traditional materials when designing new cars
What made you work with glass?
I graduated from an industrial design and architecture programme, and in my work, we always prepare precise documents. Owing to the Czech glassmaking tradition and the glassworks’ proximity to Prague and Mladá Boleslav, I intended to try working with this vivid material. At the beginning, it was merely a hobby. I paid for my lessons learning how to work with it. Eventually, the fun transformed into products.
Grinding one glass trophy for the Tour de France takes three days.
Do you usually work with this material today?
Yes, but I had to learn how to do it. Over time, I’ve come to realise that glass is originally a liquid material, and it is natural to use it to design round shapes when respecting this fluidity. However, I like discovering the limits of the material and the technology.
Do you use glass when designing new models?
It allows us to combine the precision of hundreds of millimetres in a car that is designed on a computer using the handwork of experienced glassmakers as well. We use it mainly for concepts in which we create large glass elements. Manually machined parts, created on special cutters, weigh several kilogrammes. We strive to demonstrate the creativity and precision of this handicraft as much as we can.