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06 October 2014 12:49


When award winning UK design company Rokos was struggling to find an appropriate manufacturer for its iconic Gauge Vase, it reached out to the Enterprise Europe Network office at UCL in London for help.

Rokos wanted to experiment producing this borosilicate glass vase in crystal, which would allow the company to produce at a lower cost and expand its market reach. But few manufacturers had the exceptional craftsmanship needed to produce high quality glass to its challenging technical specifications.

Aware of the Czech Republic's distinguished glassmaking tradition, Enterprise Europe Network London contacted their Czech counterparts with a detailed brief of the technical specifications and quality required. Enterprise Europe Network colleagues in Prague then used their local knowledge and contacts to identify the most promising leads.

As a result, Glassworks Harrachov - the Czech Republic's oldest glass manufacturer - was given the opportunity to demonstrate its potential to Rokos, produce prototypes, and secure a deal to manufacture one of the three sizes of the vase.

While product quality has been maintained, the new technology introduced by the Czech company has lower production costs. Both sides are really pleased with the contact made and are looking to work on other products.

British designer Jim Rokos said: "I know how incredibly difficult it is to find the right manufacturer and I can only imagine it must have taken a lot of work and brilliance. All my thanks to the Enterprise Europe Network."

“We only needed 200 pieces,” Jim says. So, it was very challenging to find a manufacturer who was willing to take us a small order, and also a manufacturer who could meet the very high standards of the luxury market.”

It was in the Giant Mountains in Bohemia where Jim found his ideal partner. It is one of the oldest and most highly regarded glass factories in the world.

This happy union was all down to the matchmaking skills of the Enterprise Europe Network in London and Prague, with their thousands of contacts, entrepreneur profiles and crucial local knowledge.

The factory offered high quality production at competitive rates, and there were benefits for both sides, general manager Petr Novosad explains: “Working with modern designers can sometimes be very difficult and challenging. However, it brings new ideas to our production and brings attractiveness to our glass factory.”

In just a few months Jim and Petr became close collaborators. After sample pieces were judged a success they launched into commercial production.

“Petr is going ahead with production and already we are thinking about the next project we are going work on together, which is going to be a wine decanter,” says Jim.

From the factory’s perspective, Petr is more than satisfied with his collaboration with the Enterprise Europe Network. As his business needed to diversify to survive he appreciated that the Network could bring new business opportunities.

“Working with the Enterprise Europe Network provided a direct link between us and our new customer,” says Petr. “We were sure that the customer is serious about his business, and all the services from the EEN were free of charge.”

For more details about the vase - the only flower vase in the world to dance - see here:

For images, please visit: Vase

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Playful, sculptural objects that behave in unexpected ways.

Head designer Jim Rokos explores the physical properties of materials to generate aesthetic, intriguing concepts. Rokos creates products of exceptional quality, made without compromise at any stage of the process, from design to manufacture.

Rokos won the prestigious 2012 Reddot award for the 13° 60° 104° Wine Decanter and the Enterprise Europe Network Award 2014 for the Gauge vase.

Jim is a multi-award winning designer, including a 2012 Faces of Design award. In 2008, he won an RSA Design Directions award.

Jim's innovative cat-food bowl won BBC’s Tomorrow’s World's Best Inventions pilot in 2001. His Blindspot series is Design Parade selected (2007). Whilst studying, D&AD; included his work in their competition’s book (2006).

Originally he trained as a model-maker in the film and television industry (working on The Muppet Treasure Island, Band of Brothers, Tomb Raider,Victoria and Albert). Jim then went on to teach at a special needs school in London before completing a Master’s degree (2006) in Industrial Design at Central Saint Martins College of Art & Design (part of London’s University of the Arts).

Working from his studio in London, Jim is passionate to explore materials to create original and visually beautiful, refined concepts. He enjoys every stage of the design process. New creative techniques are sought to generate original ideas.

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