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Palacký University
06-29-2015, 11:01, Age: 7 y.

UPoint: Centrepoint of the University

By: Pavel Konečný

The fashion collection was designed by graduate Alexandra Monhartová. Photo: Pavel Konečný

Since mid-April the university has a new point: UPoint – a place combining a university information centre with sales of school goods… plus good coffee.

“UPoint has a friendly, very informal atmosphere, because UPoint ought to fulfil the requirement of a relaxation centre for both students and academics. They can borrow or buy books here, and have a cup of coffee,” UP Rector Jaroslav Miller declared at its opening.

But UPoint is not only a shop and a relaxation centre, it is primarily an information centre. For prospective students, for graduates, for friends and well-wishers of the university. It is the extract of the university, a new flavour to add spice to Olomouc’s Upper Square. A similar idea had been kicking around the university for years, but it took UP’s new management to breathe life into it.

First customers

The first customer to cross the UPoint threshold on opening day was a student of molecular and cellular biology, Kateřina Kubáňová, from the Faculty of Science.

“I really liked what I saw: the interior is really well done, and the prices are down to earth,” Kateřina said. Next year she plans to study in the USA, thanks to the Charles Merrill Program, wearing her UP apparel. “I’ve already visited several universities abroad and their shops are always a component of the university. In the USA, where I spent my holidays, students wear university gear exclusively. It’s part of the image,” she observed.

It took Jindřich Švihel, a student of biophysics, only ten minutes to make his first purchase. A T-shirt with the university logo was something he had already viewed on Facebook. “I’ve been looking forward to that,” he admitted. In addition to T-shirts and the fashion collection, which Švihel judged as excellent, he also admired the leather wallets.

Books and fashion

UPoint is the architectural work of the Blažek husband-and-wife team’s Ječmen studio. The terraced space is brought together by a mono-cast floor. “It combines a shop with a reading room and place for sitting. The large, well-lit space and the smaller, darker space are in constant alternation,” as architect Lukáš Blažek described.

Combining books, fashion, and promotional items is the sort of harmony one finds most often at universities abroad. “Perhaps the most important impulse came from my residency at University of St Andrews in Scotland, where I visited the school shop. Everything there was elegant, down to the slightest detail, and everything carried the university logo. On one hand, they are goods; on the other hand, they identify the wearer with the university and spread its good name all over the globe,” said UP Vice-Rector Petr Bilík.

UPoint customers can get their hands on the fashion collection in UP colours, souvenirs, Palacký University Press books, and coffee, in an interestingly compartmentalised area with over 200 m2 of floor space in the Renaissance House of the Black Dog on Olomouc’s Upper Square. The shop is open Monday to Friday from 9 am to 5 pm, Saturdays from 9 am to 12.

For more information visit the UPoint website.

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Last update: 19. 09. 2012, Vladimír Kubák