Sunday, March 7, 2010

Czech Republic: How Zlin kept its groove

During my recent trip to Central Europe, I was able to revisit Zlin, the "model city" created in the early 20th century by the self-made Czechoslovak shoe tycoon, Tomas Bata. The provincial town in Czech Moravia is something of a pilgrimage site for enthusiasts of prewar industrial design, as Bata built nearly the entire place from scratch via a central, standardized plan. Along the way he created the world's largest shoe company, and exported the model just about everywhere else.

As you can read in my story now up over at The Christian Science Monitor, his legacy lived on in the Zlin region even during the Communist Era and many credit his (self-aggrandizing) social engineering with the city's relative prosperity and entrepreneurial spirit. (New to me was the tale of a Bata-inspired collective farm that managed to conduct a surprisingly capitalistic operation in the midst of the dour Brezhnev-era Warsaw Pact.) And his brother's famous office-in-an-elevator is still there, restored along with the Bata skyscraper to its 1930s glory.

Photo (c) 2010 Colin Woodard. All rights reserved.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for sharing...i really good to see this post.nice article.