Beyond Belonging

Crossing a border to discover roots and to recode one’s own knowledge. Inspired by Jože Plečnik, for our first editorial project we have traveled to Ljubljana. The title is Beyond Belonging, implying the feeling of being part of something. Because – as Cristina Celestino, art director of the company, explains – “the sense of belonging transforms boundaries from limits into opportunities.” 

What’s across the border? In geographical terms, for us there is Slovenia. And Ljubljana, with its 20th-century architecture created by Jože Plečnik, who studied in Vienna and Prague before returning to his native city, reinventing its architecture by starting from the tradition.

Beyond Belonging tells the tale of the Billiani chair through the works of architecture of Jože Plečnik and Ivan Vurnik – the national library, the home of the architect, the first indoor sports complex in Slovenia. Three places that reflect the three characters of the collection: one that is more institutional and rigorous, another that is more ironic and fresh, and a third that is warmer, more intimate. 

Slovenia’s first covered sports complex, the Sokolski Dom dates back to the 1920s. On its facade, architect Ivan Vurnik reinterprets Art Deco style in the light of Slovenian tradition, with decorative and geometric elements. Inside there is a vaulted gym and two smaller atria.

The national and university library is a monumental building inspired by Italian architecture and the Medicean Laurenziana library in Florence. In designing this Slovenian palace of knowledge in the 1930s, Jože Plečnik sought ideas and answers in the ancient world to create a new aesthetic, not focused on tradition.

“A tower and a garden”: this is how Jože Plečnik imagined his home before knowing that, after living in Vienna and Prague, in 1921 he would return for good to his city. The architect’s house is still as it was then, an intimate place that groups fragments of his poetics and the desire to find the primary roots of an identity.

Photo by Mattia Balsamini
Text by Lisa Cadamuro