Winner of a 2014 National Design Award for Best Interior of the Year, this showroom design by RIBA ARHITEKTI (Janja Brodar and Goran Rupnik), transforms an otherwise drab factory corridor into a surprisingly engaging space through the innovative re-use of materials. Tasked with converting part of an unused hallway into a showroom, the client’s expectations were initially quite modest and called for re-painting and designing presentation posters. However, while inspecting the production units in the factory, the architects began to imagine using the freely available materials in the building to create a more engaging visual narrative about the company itself.
The design of the ETI showroom was a small-scale project which operated on a limited budget of € 2,500 including lighting and presentation boards, and within a confined space: a 3x4 meter portion of a hallway. Based in the small industrial town of Izlake in Eastern Slovenia, the company itself manufactures ceramic products that protect electrical devices and employs approximately 1,000 people.
RIBA ARHITEKTI created an abstract, yet somewhat figurative mosaic, made from leftover ceramic tubes of various diameters. In this three-dimensional mosaic, shadows create dramatic impressions reminiscent of the steep and rough landscapes of the surrounding Zasavje region. This brought a sense of familiarity to the design and appeals to everyone from workers on the production line to business partners. The room also features one of the company’s very first pieces of equipment, an impressive black machine that appropriately complements the fine structure of the background ceramic tube mosaic.