Room dividers, sliding walls, assembly halls and smart insulation systems; the LIKO-S family company does much more. In the first part of the series on how ancestral tieswere transformed into the current European leader in the area of healthy and pleasant buildings, we delve into the roots of the Musil family and find out what traditions remain in their present-day business.

The story of LIKO-S is so engaging and the ideas of its people are so interesting that we have decided to introduce this likeable family of enthusiasts in more detail. We travelled to Slavkov u Brna where the company is based to hear from the founder and father of the company. Libor Musil told us how it all began, how they invented natural thermal insulation and how their buildings can cool their surroundings.

Roots in an innovative and environmental approach

Our family has been working with nature since ancient times. Our ancestors were farmers who had to be in tune with nature and tried to know its laws, comparing what was and what is while drawing conclusions from it. The farmer is still thinking about how their work affects the surroundings and what their actions are about, letting nature dictate its needs and work together withit in harmony.

My great-grandfather BedřichMusil started to work in the industrial field in 1909. He set up a trade repairer for agricultural machinery repairs, laying the foundations for our family business. The era of Communism interrupted it but my family and I went into business right after its fall.

A representative of LIKO-S took part in the second “business session”, a breakfast debate organized by CBRE.

We started from scratch, with my wife and father-in-law in January 1990. We gradually succeeded in building a company that is one of the best in Europe from an old sheet metal hall in the collapsing Slavkov sugar factory. How did the transition from a garage business to an elite one succeed? I’m convinced that it’s in the nearly daily innovations we made. Gradually they have become our daily bread and they’ve become part of the DNA of our company since we have been constantly innovating from the beginning.

Innovation is based on an error

An error is something that goes beyond the rules. This means that first we need to know the rules by which things work and then either start changing oneself or change that rules.

By implementing common routines and attentive and careful monitoring of the impact of our environment on our business, we have come to this understanding: we endeavour to assert that a person fundamentally influences the temperature of his surroundings.

The heat that we’ve experienced in recent years in the summer and the increased temperature that has destroyed our icy winters and created temperature fluctuations that have led, among other things, to reducing the harvest, are forcing us to think about whether we can do something about it. We started to consider,research and look into it. And as it happens, a coincidence played a major role in it − a coincidence that we had to come up with.

Creating a unique building means breaking the rules

We’vebeen in the process ofpassing on our family business to our children, gradually handing more and more work over to them and transferring the responsibility that this entails. My daughter has takenover the responsibility for our people from my wife and I handed over our biggest building division to my son and son-in-law.

It’s all covered by our corporate philosophy and is based on our long-standing experience originating from the life we have lived together with our children and co-workers.

It just so happened that my son Jan began to think about how to improve our innovations in the area of room dividers and thought it would help create a place where our people would feel goodand the ideas just spun off from there.

Our company has designed, manufactured and assembled room dividers for the best offices throughout Europe for years, working with recognized architects, investors and users of office space. We built a nice office building and everything we havedone is according to the principle that the most important element in our company is a satisfied person. We’ve built hundreds of buildings that were human-centred and we call them “living constructions”.

In the next part we will focus on specific examples of how LIKO-S works on its construction.

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