Molly Fergus • foto: Jakub Červenka • 6 December 2018

Manifesto Market Reinvented for Holiday Season

The internationally acclaimed Manifesto market has re-opened its doors for the winter edition of the market this Christmas season. Designed to provide a hub for culture and creativity, Manifesto behaves as an urban experiment to bring to life a forgotten part of the city. Located between Masarykovo nádraží (Masaryk Railway Station) and the Florenc bus station, the market’s 27 stalls sit within a container village that has been designed to mimic the typical fabric of a city.

The architectural concept originated with a trio of female students and the whole project was initiated by the Prague-based non-profit reSITE and its founder Martin Barry two years ago. Within these stalls an eclectic selection of cuisines, seasonal hot drinks and artisan products curated by Lemarket, are offered. Dishes by award-winning chefs, heated igloos and upside down Christmas trees, nested in an environment of monochromatic tones, together provide a fresh take on the traditional Czech Christmas market offerings.

One of the unique aspects of the market is its cashless feature: all transactions are made electronically and the organisers regard this as a neoteric move. “We are future-oriented by nature, we always look for solutions which are already quite common in the most dynamic cities and we think that digital payment is the future of payment”, Manifesto’s communications director Radka Ondráčková says on the matter. “Basically all services we use in cities and all the services which make our lives easier in cities will become digital, this will make our lives easier. And we thought that by making it a rule, this is how we can actually test it”.

And how has the experiment worked out?

“Visitors have been reacting positively to it, I think what we need to change in minds is that you don’t need to feel bad if you pay for small amounts by card”.

From coverage from the New York Times to follower interaction of over 40,000 people on the winter market’s facebook page, Manifesto’s re-inventive nature has received widespread media exposure, and reSITE’s Radka Ondráčková says it was positive to receive feedback to their work. “It is an experiment so we are constantly learning and trying to improve it and now the winter market is another experiment, typically these outdoor food markets are seen as a place for the summer, and we decided we would bring a new concept for Christmas markets which is maybe minimalist in the decorations side but focused on getting good design and taste, and new experiences”. The market will feature over 100 different designers and creators over the winter period, “so every two or three days you can find a new selection. So it’s really important to follow our social media to know what’s going on”.

Ondráčková, a Czech literature and French language graduate of Charles University, leads the communications and creative aspect of Manifesto, and more widely, reSITE, the not-for profit initiator of the market. Upon entering Charles University, Ondráčková was granted the chance to live in the city that has gone on to influence her career path in urban space and living,

“What Charles University also gave me is the opportunity to move from a smaller city to Prague, a size I felt comfortable with”. The aim of reSITE, was what inspired Ondráčková to join the organisation “I decided to join to offer my skills and experience because I think the mission is really important, and it is a discussion that is missing here”. Projects initiated by reSITE include global forums, conferences, innovative events, public festivals, connecting the most inspiring thought leaders of our generation, she adds. “We want the new generation to be involved, to be part of the discussion, to care about urban space and about how we can make our cities better places” Ondráčková states.

Manifesto aims to provide a unique meeting spot for the city’s inhabitants, drawn in not only by the food but by the unique atmosphere curated within the market’s boundaries. “We dream of a place for different types of people to meet, businesspeople from offices nearby, commuters, people who just travel from time to time from Florenc station, families with kids and also for foreign visitors”.

And what does it offer to student visitors?

“We have offers for every pocket. Of course we work with high-end chefs who present dishes made of the most, sometimes expensive ingredients, we have fish and we have seafood, but we also have the best fries in Prague and some really affordable meals.

Manifesto Market is also a place for attractive summer jobs and we regularly welcome interns and volunteers to our international team, to joining the digital marketing and design crew”.

For international visitors, students and tourists alike, the market’s site at Florenc is slightly removed from the typical tourist hotspots in Prague, and “gives a more authentic image of the city” according to Ondráčková . English-friendly and multicultural, “this place is unique in Prague as we fit as many as 25 different nationalities working there so I think it’s a friendly place for international guests to hang out”.

Manifesto Winter Market; located on Na Florenci Street, will be open until the 23th of December, Thursday-Sunday from 11am-9pm.

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