Borek Sipek (1949 - 2016) was born in a devastated post-war Czechoslovakia. Orphaned by the age of 15 he was further raised by Rene Roubicek and his wife, both glass artists. After studying furniture construction at the school for applied arts and crafts in Prague Borek managed to escape beyond the Iron Curtain and settled in West Germany where he found work as a cabinetmaker and obtained a scholarship allowing him to study architecture at the Kunsthochschule in Hamburg and then aesthetics and philosophy in Stuttgart. Later in his life he would go on to teach design at universities in Hannover, Essen and finally in Prague for many years.
In 1983 he moved to the Netherlands and set up the design office that would provide a base for his subsequent explorations of oriental and occidental arts and crafts. His fateful encounter with Driade, which resulted in furniture, glassworks and a myriad of ideas that would eventually find their ways into various collections, also dates from his period. This collaboration marked the start of a skyrocketing career, allowed him to develop as a designer and gave him the freedom to explore Asia and feed his passion for Asian culture and eastern thinking in general.
Sipek's systematic reinterpretations of traditional craft techniques and materials have won him not only several prestigious awards (including the Croix de Chevalier de l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres in 1991), but also, and perhaps more importantly, an international reputation as an imaginative and versatile artist adept at playing off traditional certainties against modern(ist) uncertainties.
After the Velvet Revolution he was appointed Prague castle architect by his friend and newly appointed Czech president Vaclav Havel and worked from 1992 to 1996 on architectural detailing, redesigning the state rooms and creating new exhibition rooms.
The visionary, cosmopolitan, self-made man was a particularly good man with an amazing personality according to his former colleagues and friends. It has been said of Sipek that he "evokes the longing for magic in this horrid realistic world". He shall be missed…
Driade is an aesthetic workshop aimed at a continual experimentation and research in the art of living. All furniture and furnishings are designed to promote creativity over serialization of the industrial product. This is Driade “aesthetic laboratory” where everything contributes to create a work of art, indoor and outdoor furniture, objects and fabrics. This year Driade has opened its new showroom in via Borgogna 8, Milan.
Driade has a history of excellence, contributors to that are talented craftsmen working together to define new trends and give design a different meaning. During the 70s some of the most famous Italian designers like Antonia Astori, Enzo Mari and Alessandro Mendini, together with international names like Philippe Starck and Borek Sipek, just to name a few, started their creative collaboration.
In 2013 ItalianCreationGroup took the leading of the company and aimed at further developing its positioning on the new segments of the Italian and International clientele, to promote and export Italian excellence, and set the company as the benchmark of Made in Italy design in the world. For this reason Driade USA was created last summer in New York.
Indoor, outdoor and unique accessories are now showcased in the new Milan flagship showroom in via Borgogna. The project has been entirely realized by David Chipperfield, the company’s new Creative Director; an open, luminous space with an area of about 500 square meters organized on three levels, where products establish a dialogue, alternating iconic pieces and the latest new creations. A unique atmosphere, where the rigorous, harmonious architecture forms the perfect setting for the collection.