Written by: Monika Mudranincová
The CEO of Česká spořitelna received the Bank of the Year 2003 award in London, which it won in the contest “The Banker Awards 2003”. The international jury appreciated its financial stability, profitability and successful transformation into a modern financial institution.
The winner of the best and the worst information provider contest, organized by Open Society, is the region of Vysočina. A regional representative said that his clerks have always been very forthcoming for citizens requiring information.
Standard & Poor’s Agency confirmed the high rating of Česká pojišťovna BBB – with a stable outlook. The rating, which went up by one grade, is based on long-term results and a strong market position, says ČP’s general director.
This ODS deputy did not take part in the voting for governmental reform, because he was allegedly too drunk. Kott was expelled from the party and asked by his colleagues to give up his mandate at the Chamber of Deputies. He refused.
The head of the Czech Consolidation Agency, sold allegedly “bad debts” worth roughly CZK 39 billion to a private EC Group for CZK 3.4 billion a year ago. A Czech Television report suggested that many of them could have been easily collected.
Photo: MF Dnes
The former head of the Opava Regional Authority was sentenced to five years in prison for attempting to cheat the state out of a CZK 19 million loan. In 2000 he asked the Ministry of Social Affairs for a subsidy to build a hospice, which in reality he wanted to use for other purposes.
|Photo: Tomáš Kubeš
Karel Doubner: Transcontinental inspiration
THIS YEAR the realization of an unusual project began in Shanghai, China – the construction of a Czech Quarter. The designer is Karel Doubner (52), an architect and the president of Obec architektů (Community of Architects), under whose leadership 400 apartments, 40 villas, a hotel, offices, a shopping center and a restaurant serving Czech beer on tap will be created in Shanghai. “Four other Czech architects (Franta, Milunič, Chválek, and Fuchs) and I have prepared examples of all sorts of styles. Historical cubistic, Art Nouveau, and Gothic houses will be arranged side by side in a small area, thus perhaps inspiring Shanghai residents to visit Prague,” he says.
The first stimulus for the prestigious project was last year’s visit by Chinese politicians and entrepreneurs to Prague and the way they were charmed by the local architecture. The investor, Mr. Tu Haiming of Shanghai Hodoor Real Estate Development, wanted to bring a new quality to the Chinese metropolis and continue in the tradition of building European “national” quarters (the city already has its French and German areas).
Doubner likes art, and gets involved by creating an opportunity for artists, who exhibit their works in an extensive gallery that is part of his architecture office. Just as the Asians were inspired by Prague, he too has found inspiration in the Orient. He discovered that in India people wear different colors to feel good. He tried out the custom and says it works – it helps him deal with stress and fatigue. He also relaxes while roller blading, meditating, and studying about cathedrals. The latter is related to another of his great wishes for the future – to build a cathedral in Shanghai.
Photo: Tomáš Kubeš
Jiří T. Kotalík : Guardian of the family silver
A BOHEMIAN IN BLACK, Jiří T. Kotalík (52) has been the general director of the National Trust Institute, which every investor realizing new construction or reconstruction in protected landmark areas must deal with. The author of over eighty professional publications on the history of architecture, art, and the protection of cultural heritage and the organizer of many domestic and foreign exhibitions (including the highly successful Ten Centuries of Architecture cycle) came to the institute from an institution of no less prestige – the Academy of Fine Arts, of which he was the director for six years. As his employees claim, he has brought a breath of fresh air to the medieval masonry of the feared office, as well as an openness to new influences and experiments. He took the job as a challenge – his greatest endeavor is to ensure greater prestige for conservationists in society, and to spread awareness that cultural landmarks also play an economic role.
Kotalík is no tedious official who would most like to preserve the status quo. This is one reason he became the curator of the “Karlín-Zone A” project, the creation of the iconoclastic artist Jiří Sozanský. During the event’s ten months, Karlín will be the venue of exhibitions, concerts, and presentations of works of art in public spaces. “The project should pay tribute to the neighborhood of the city that was worst afflicted by last year’s flooding,” says this man who has passed his love of history on to his son. His wife, an art historian, also works in the landmark preservation field.
When he finds the time, Kotalík visits theaters, goes to movies, and attends concerts. He also rides his bicycle or splits wood at his cottage in the Lužické mountains. But he likes cross-country skiing best of all. “There’s nothing more beautiful than following the trails in new-fallen snow and touring our lovely Czech countryside,” he says dreamily.