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UNIVERSUM PLEČNIK: Between Workshop and Myth

Temporary Exhibition Design, Museum of Architecture and Design - MAO

24. 11. 2022—21. 5. 2023, Ljubljana, Slovenia

The exhibition reflects on the selected design approaches of the architect and thematizes the complex relationship between teacher and students, showcasing the rich legacy of Jože Plečnik.

The conceptual basis for the exhibition design comes from a reinterpretation of Plečnik's design approaches and his interventions in public space where through adding, subtracting, opening, closing, symmetry, asymmetry, flexibility of scale, repetition, and hidden symbolism, he skilfully connects existing and added architectural elements into a new whole. 

The space of the architectural museum became a field of spatial interventions, where newly inserted architectures take advantage of the spatial conditions and limitations of the castle complex, symbolically connecting them with the content of the exhibition, which is designed around four research themes that are conceptually related but visually separate in four rooms: Ritual Hall, Public Space, Common Roof, and Myth.

The first room is marked by a "colonnade of columns," which indicates a symbolic axis that visually connects the adjacent exhibition rooms and forms a new sub-space - the RITUAL HALL, where Plečnik's sacral architecture is revealed through models and drawings, positioned on a long table made of plumbing pipes - a paraphrase of the gallery fence of the National University library reading room.


The PUBLIC SPACE room is conceived as a "parkour with a viewpoint," partially raised and placed between the two existing pillars, which enable visitors' views to all sides of the room - Plečnik's Ljubljana is represented by large photographs by Adam Štěcha, showing the atmosphere and details of Plečnik's interventions.

The lighting fixture of the Triple Bridge connects the public space to the "THE COMMON ROOF" room, where two rows of steel formwork support the existing wooden ceiling, creating a "room within a room" (a paraphrase of Plečnik's lesser-known residential project for Ljubljana "Under the municipal roof" from 1944), under which various sub-themes are displayed on stacks of building materials.

The last exhibition room – MYTH is designed as a memorial room, containing a "ziggurat" made up of wooden boxes with models of Plečnik's works and surrounded by "bekleidung" that represents the emotional background, the collective memory of the nation, Plečnik's students, testimonies, and numerous positive and negative writings about the master.

With the thought of sustainability of exhibition layouts in mind, all interventions in the exhibition rooms are designed so that they can be completely dismantled, moved to another location, or reused, repurposed.

Location: Ljubljana, Slovenia

Project date: 2022

Area: 500 m2

Type: educational/public

Client: MAO - Museum of Architecture and Design

Curators: dr. Miloš Kosec, Natalija Lapajne, Tomaž Štoka, dr. Bogo Zupančič

Exhibition design: SVET VMES – Ana Kreč, Jure Hrovat, Marko Kavčič, Amadej Mravlak

Graphic Design: AA – Anja Delbello, Aljaž Vesel, Blaž Rojs

Exhibition Photography: Klemen Ilovar

Project Manager: Nikola Pongrac


Valvasorjeva nagrada za enkratne dosežke 2024 / Valvasor Award 2024

Brumen Award for the Exhibition Catalogue Universum Plečnik: Between Workshop and Myth

Related articles and mentions:

Universum Plečnik Exhibition Catalogue 

MAO - Museum of Architecture and Design


TV Ambienti

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