What does the production process involve?
The manufacturing of one of these crystal glass sculptures takes three to four days. They are manufactured by the prestigious Czech glassmaking company Lasvit in Nový Bor and require great craftsmanship. Around nine people are involved in total – from the designer to glass experts to glass-blowers.
After what is known as the melting stage, the glass is processed at 900-1300 degrees Celsius. I find the glass-blowing stage that comes next particularly exciting: I learnt how to do it myself because glass and its production have fascinated me for a long time. After moving to Prague, I really wanted to see how the Czech Republic’s world-famous crystal glass is produced. I created designs which I hoped could be produced by a glass manufacturer but when I showed the guys my ideas, they just laughed. They then explained to me that glass is completely different to other materials. It has specific properties that must be taken into account during production and even at the design stage.
What happens next?
The unworked molten glass is hand-blown into the wooden moulds. At this point they still weigh around ten kilograms. The glass-blower shapes them to the desired shape using the 1.5-metre-long glass-blowing pipe – this work demands a lot of strength, great delicacy and plenty of experience. The glass is then hand-cut and embellished. Last year, for example, we used small, sparkling crystals to do this, which enhanced its lustrous appearance.
Each of the finished glass sculptures is 60 centimetres tall, weighs four kilograms and features the same design. This is because the winners of each of the Tour de France’s four categories all deserve equal admiration. The only exception is the trophy for the best sprinter, which is made of green glass. The reason for this is as follows: ŠKODA AUTO is the sponsor of the green jersey at this year’s Tour de France, as was the case in 2015.
Have you met any of the cycling stars in person?
Yes, I had the pleasure of meeting Peter Sagan. He’s from Slovakia, like me, and is very popular in my home country as reigning world champion and five-time winner of the green jersey. Since then I have become a real fan of his.