Architects in ChargeAleš Gabrijelčič, Kaja Todorovič
Text description provided by the architects. The small urban apartment is located in one of the famous skyscrapers designed by the renowned Slovenian architect Edvard Ravnikar. These were built all across Ljubljana in the early 1960s, reflecting the tendency to fill the gaps in the city centre and the desire to build as many flats as possible. The construction of these skyscrapers brought a new, “metropolitan” way of life to the city centre, while simultaneously making use of the available town space. The apartments were built according to the highest living standards and are distinguished by their rationally designed centralized floor plan. This kind of layout allows more daylight to enter the living space and ensures a good communication between the individual parts of the flat.
The authors of refurbishment, who are also the investors in this project, wanted to preserve and restore the spirit of Ravnikar’s modernist design and fuse it with their recent experience of living and working in Madrid. La Movida Madrileña, the legendary Madrid countercultural movement, influenced the design of the relaxed, partly even hedonistic, placement of furniture within the strict, rationalistic design of the flat.
Our goal was to preserve the basic floor plan of this 50 m2 flat, which connects the central meeting space with other living spaces – the kitchen, the bedroom and the study At the same time, we wanted to move all the service and utilitarian elements – such as the water heater, washing machine, and wardrobe – to the narrow space dividing the flat into two halves – the public and the private. The service space relieves the living quarters of additional storage surfaces, thus creating open and light ambients.
Design-wise, some of the Ravnikar’s original furniture pieces have been restored and highlighted, for example the unique cast-iron vertical radiators, the herringbone oak parquet, and the wide terrazzo shelf in the dining room. Pure-white furniture pieces, in the form of doors and closets, have been introduced with an almost surgical accuracy to this historic and modernistic ambient. In parts, they are playfully softened with elements honouring the memory of Madrid and furniture pieces by local designers, e. g. the Rex chair by Niko Kralj and the Alone in Kyoto stool by Matej Štefanac.
In the kitchen and the dining room, the furniture ambience is purposely distinct from the remaining setting of the flat. It wants to catch the visitor’s attention by introducing stainless steel as the main material and in this manner remind them that they are situated in the heart of the flat. The absence of standard living room is intentional, as the life of investors revolves around cooking and socializing in the dinning area.With its bright neon sign and together with the leading material, which is most frequently found in restaurants and bars, it also introduces them to the essence of the vibrant and cosmopolitan Madrid’s social life.