As Mammals and friends of Studio Savec celebrate its 6th birthday on Friday, 17 November, they also celebrate the journey of the collective to this point.
Antonín (Tonda) Malý founded Studio Savec in 2011. A Prague native, Tonda left the city after getting married and returned when he and his wife were expecting their first child. Looking for a home base to expand his passion for photography, Tonda happened upon the third-floor space at Rijna 28. As the studio was being refurnished, Tonda realized the potential of the space to host artistic exhibitions, and so the concept for Studio Savec was born.
For nearly a year, Tonda built and expanded both the physical space and the Savec community. However, the first priority was the physical studio itself. He wanted it to be a friendly environment to people of all walks of life, including children, artists, and friends. He installed specific equipment for art exhibitions, the wooden bar for hosting events, and of course, the mammal for everyone to enjoy.
The Savec community expanded naturally. Friends invited friends who invited friends, and the small circle of artists eventually grew into a family. Savec gave the artists, who over time, became the collective, an opportunity to professionalize their services. However, Tonda prioritized keeping the concept of Savec independent and keeping the studio creative.
Having maintained the space and growing the studio for nearly five years, in 2016, Tonda had the opportunity to expand Savec into the second floor of the building. Here, he was finally able to realize his dream of establishing his own photo studio with a photostage. In addition to finally setting up a permanent home for his photography service, the expansion allowed Savec’s community to expand as well. More space allowed for a greater circulation of people and events to come through Savec’s doors, and allowed even more artists to have a place for their creative output.
The name “Savec,” which means “mammal” in Czech, was inspired by Tonda’s children, but ultimately came from the realization that at the end of the day we are all mammals in this space. SAVEC was originally an acronym that stood for “Studio for Art and Vertical Education Concepts,” but the Savec slogan was later changed to “A Creative Space for Creative People.”
Tonda established Savec with the intention of it being a long-term project. Having founded the third-floor part of the studio while expecting his daughter, and the expansion to the second floor coinciding with the birth of his son, Tonda realized that he wants Savec to be a place where they can someday realize their own dreams, just as he was able to realize his.
While the physical space and community of Savec has changed over the last six years, one thing that has remained constant is the familial environment it has fostered. Savec is more than a physical space, it is built on the dreams of the people who inhabit it.