Zdeněk Fránek and Jakub Janošík’s Durch Lookout

Zdeněk Fránek, Fránek Architects,

BoysPlayNice ,

Czech Republic,

Land Art, Landscape, Installation,

Between philanthropy and advertising comes architecture, at least in the story of Durch Lookout, a panoramic viewpoint in Valašské Příkazy, in the Zlin region of the Czech Republic. Built by window manufacturer Jakub Janošík partly for promotional purposes and partly out of love of nature and generosity, it was designed by architect Zdeněk Fránek and photographed by BoysPlayNice.

Zdeněk Fránek and Jakub Janošík’s Durch Lookout

In the Czech Republic’s Zlin region is a small town of only 300 souls called Valašské Příkazy. What makes this little village so special is not any major work of contemporary architecture, for it is far away from both the capital, Prague, and the second largest city in the country, Brno. What could there possibly be of so much interest in a green border region like this? Something small, on a scale appropriate to that of the village; something big, if you are looking for an example of symbiosis between the community, economic players and enhancement of the landscape. All, of course, thanks to architecture and the idea of a local entrepreneur.

We all tend to take for granted the beautiful things that we have close at hand, precisely because they are so nearby and easy to reach, which makes them uninteresting to us.

Or so thought Jakub Janošík, marketing manager in his family-run company, a maker of top-quality windows since 1926. He was meditating on the beauty of the hills above Valašské Příkazy and the need to update his company’s image and do some advertising. A window is nothing more than a frame, an ultra-realistic painting hanging on a wall. And in a frame, we usually put a painting, a work of art representing the essence of beauty. Here is the idea he came up with: instead of advertising on the usual billboards, why not "frame" the beauty of the hills above the town? A panoramic viewpoint. A big window overlooking the hills, accessible to all and visible from the valley, positioned in a way that would fit into the landscape while at the same time making its beauty clear to all, even people who don’t normally notice it because they take it for granted.

"I was thinking about redesigning our billboards. Eventually, the desire to rebel against the cluttering of nature combined with advertising collided with our corporate philosophy of clear outlook. From day to day we canceled all our billboards and began to work on the Durch lookout - our honor of the undisturbed view."

To implement the project, Janošík drew on the experience of architect Zdeněk Fránek, already known to Floornature editors for the Skywalk built in 2015 on the Czech mountain of Králický Sněžník. Janošík chose Fránekbecause he is an architect who holds the landscape and the natural component of his projects in great regard. Franek describes Durch Lookout as "a minimalist wooden construction with clear details without any significant element. So to be humble, and above all, the outlook through the lookout, which frames the landscape as the most beautiful picture, was created.

No sooner said than done: advertising and landscape were joined in an architectural symbiosis, offering the public and passers-by a minor work of art, of humility and love for nature.

Francesco Cibati



Stay in touch with the protagonists of architecture, Subscribe to the Floornature Newsletter