Some parts of Prague are untouched by globalization. You need a sharp eye if you’re walking on Milady Horákovej street in art district Letná (Prague 7). Among the varied mixture of shops, stop at the toy shop with the catchy name Hugo Chodí Bos (Hugo walks barefoot). The local brand offers toys as they were designed before 1989.
The toys are authentic copies of originals and have a very strong Czechoslovak visual identity. The color combination, the unique shape and the choice of material capture the aesthetic of the past exactly. Most of these popular toys were in every household. Generations of adults are usually really excited to see them again. I like to visit the shop for two reasons. The first is that it is hard to believe that these wonderful new editions still exist. You will feel as if you came out of a time machine. The next one is logical: when I travel abroad, I prefer buying original gifts.
They are made by the most talented designers are timeless and could serve as interesting objects to own. Not only as toys: I would recommend the inflatable toys by renowned toy designer Libuše Rochová (1934-1981), one of Czechoslovakia’s most important toy designers during the 1960s and ’70s. She was revolutionary and technologically innovative. The shop Hugo Chodí Bos sells her iconic inflatable animals: giraffe (see photo), buffalo, elephant, pony and caterpillar. No wonder the particular work was recently presented in an exhibition at MoMA in New York or at the London Design Festival.