author: Ivana Hainz location: Ljubljana, Slovenia type: residential architecture year built: 2015 built area: 152.95m2 energy consumption: 13 (kWh/(m2a)/year investor: MONTAZA SKERJANEC D.O.O. photography: Janez Marolt
The somewhat small plot sits on a sleepy hillside and is only accessible from its highest point. This position however provides incredible views of the surrounding landscape and stunning mountains. The architect was approached by the investors to design two separate single-family houses on the outskirts of Slovenia’s capital, intended directly for the realty market.
The basic concept of the project was to take advantage of the sloping hill, positioning the driveways, parking spaces and entrances at the up-most part of the plot while still acknowledging the natural orientation, physical limitations and the proximity of the nearby buildings. Within these restrictions the architect focused on maximizing the use of natural light and framing the spectacular views far above the neighbouring roofs.
Defining the entry level itself helped determine the final layouts as well as the exterior of the project. You enter each house on the upper floor, serving as the living areas, with their northern facades bringing as little attention to them as possible. When approaching the houses by car they pretend to be small and single-leveled, trying hard to appear humble, neutral and almost underwhelming in their surroundings.
However, the rest of each house opens up as much as possible - massive windows lead onto a wooden terrace that embraces two sides of the open-plan living space, letting in as much natural light as possible. The sleeping quarters follow in the partially submerged level bellow. The three bedrooms with full-height windows share the external wooden patio, extending the children’s playing area into the continuing garden. The use of wood continues from the outside into the house itself and also as an element of the south-facing facade, a leitmotif blurring the lines between exterior and interior, not only inviting nature into spaces but also reflecting it.
The exterior of each house was roughly outlined by following the legislative rules and specifications of local authorities. That has been playfully reinterpreted - as they represent only the outer-most limits of the overhung roof, the deep cornices now provide shade and protection. Additional shading is provided with built-in canopies, hidden away when not needed. The more extroverted southern facade is adorned with wooden cladding of different dimensions, playing with an array of depths of shadows, augmenting a three-dimensional effect of irregular patterns.
When we say that these houses do not entirely blend into the quirky, Slovenia-specific mix of rural and urban, we know they do it deliberately and for the right reasons. While the wooden finishes give each house a warm rustic feel, echoing the forest in the lush country background, the houses look and feel modern, fresh and very urban without overpowering the neighboring structures or the existing unspoiled nature.
The new old Apartment
author: Ivana Hainz location: Ljubljana, Slovenia type: residential architecture year: 2011 area: 110m2 photography: Luka Kaše
Like many an old apartment in Ljubljana’s historical centre, this one was in dire need of an overhaul with a loving, if modern touch. It came with many advantages and original features, but has lost the bit of the bourgeois heritage that used to give it an extra gilded punch.
Keeping the load-bearing walls nearly intact and strategically adding some partitioning ones restored the scheme of this residence to the original layout, where the rooms consecutively follow each other in a circular manner. The high ceilings were lowered just enough to allow the architects to build in some subtle light fixtures, and the walls were sanded down and re-plastered in white.
Even though the architect wanted to keep as many original features as possible, the original robust wooden floor was unfortunately too damaged to do so. Luckily some of the massive doors survived and received a new coat of paint. As most of the new furnishings were to come in white, the architect chose the new floor in a darker wood for a stark contrast.
The decision to keep the apartment as neutral and unassuming color-wise was not just a stylistic choice - the walls and furnishing also serve as a calm and quiet backdrop for the art on display. The hallway became an intimate gallery and not just a space of absent-minded transit, with works that feature prominently and vividly and not just as decorum per se. A custom made bookcase became a wall diving the living and dining area and showcases a collection of prints as well as additional works of art.
As much as the fittings in the hallway, the custom kitchen is white, sleek and unobtrusive - trying to hide itself in plain view while not overwhelming the rest of the space. The individual rooms are big, bright and generous in size, a clean white setting for the carefully selected trinkets and beloved possessions.
Restoring the residence to its primary plan of open flux gave the old frame of the apartment a new breath of life, with the architect’s modern reinterpretation of the the way things were, an attentive throwback to it’s golden days.
House B - interior Residences on the Hill
author: Ivana Hainz location: Ljubljana, Slovenia type: residential architecture year: 2015 photography: Janez Marolt
The interiors of both houses (of the Residences on the Hill)were already taking form in the architects’ head even in the earliest stages of the project. It is practically impossible to separate the close interweave between form (architecture) and functionality (living) in residential projects, especially when designing an inviting place to live. The rooms and spaces outlined in the planning phase of the project became more and more detailed and they finally came to life when the architect was approached by the buyers of the property, inviting her to turn their house into a home.
Getting to know the clients, their needs and their wishes is essential in the architects’ work process. Her heartfelt need to provide not only a stylish and comfortable habitat, but one that also respects the clients’ specific habits and lifestyles is reflected in this modern interior that is warm, cosy and welcoming, but at the same time generous and spacious.
The owners are an active family with three young kids that lead a healthy and sports-filled lifestyle and are deeply connected to nature. The decision to use warm, earthy tones with a balanced combination of whites and grays came naturally. The wooden flooring and a mutual agreement to skip designer pieces in favor of familiarity and warmth led to a modern, bright but genuinely comfortable home. Vast floor-to-ceiling windows make up for most of the southern facades on both floors, filling the rooms with airiness and natural light.
In the upper level, where we find the open plan living room, kitchen and dining area, the carefully positioned windows frame the views so that only nature and the mountainous landscape is visible from a sitting position. The wooden-clad interior then spills onto the veranda that becomes a makeshift lounge, offering even more spectacular views.
The master bedroom and the kids’ rooms are found on the ground floor. Each of them opens onto the wooden patio, extending the play area outwards and further into the garden. The white-tiled bathrooms follow in the inconspicuous manner of the house - clear simple shapes, monochromatic backdrop, a wooden detail here and there.
Connecting the levels is an unassuming staircase with a twist - another frame if you will - a glass wall in the foyer, allowing you to see who comes and who’s going, what’s happening downstairs or above, again letting natural light permeate the interior. At night, a pendant chandelier by Mooi creates an intricate web of shadows in the stairwell. Elsewhere, the different heights gave a perfect opportunity to layer the lightning and break the monotony; Tom Dixon’s reflective and pompous Mirror Ball hangs above the custom designed kitchen like a solar system model straight out of Barbarella. The kitchen itself is a testament to functionality and utility, right down to choosing a smooth black table and plastic chairs due to better resistance to stains and kid’s handprints.
The finished project is a bright, spacious and comfortable home, executed with carefully selected complementing materials in a rich and soothing color scheme. It resulted in a space filled not only with good ideas and quality furnishing, but reflecting a mutual understanding and respect between client, architect and - nature itself.
A Contemporary Sanctuary
author: Ivana Hainz location: Ljubljana, Slovenia type: interior design year: 2016 area: 78m2 photography: Janez Marolt
High above the city, a luminous home provides a contemporary sanctuary behind the dark facade of a modern skyscraper. Gray tones were chosen to compliment the mostly white interior, with vivid yellow details to liven up this elegant residence. A big part of the furniture was custom made and the rest was filled with bold designer pieces, befitting the modern urban lifestyle of the clients.
The living area, consisting of the living room, kitchen, dinning area and a covered loggia is encompassed by a wooden clad balcony, screened with dark perforated metal elements of the facade. The Bristol Poliform sofa in gray is adorned with golden throw pillows that complement the color of the Poliform armchair. The opposite wall proved a bit of a challenge, since it holds a big part of the ventilation system that came with an unbecoming opening. The existing nook was thus filled with a storage element, hiding away the heating unit and doubling as a work desk.
A line of wall cabinets above the kitchen counter and an adjacent full height element take maximal advantage of the space. A washable, gray concrete-like backsplash breaks the all-whiteness of this custom made, handle-free kitchen. The simplistic metallic Kristalia dinning table has a laminated board and can be expanded to a full three square meters for entertaining. It is surrounded with classic Eames Eiffel chairs in deep black, with a modern oversized half-moon pendant chandelier hanging above it.
The long hallway is lined with a white wardrobe and a bench, upholstered in gray, with vertical elements that continue onto the ceiling, hiding built-in indirect lightning. A mirrored wall makes the area seem bigger. A modern graphic in deep hues of black adorns the wall next to the door leading to the master bedroom, where a divider was added to separate the walk-in closet. Gray wallpaper lines the wall above the bed and low-hung black lights playfully break the setting with a vertical intervention.
The bathroom was completely redone and basic elements were replaced for an overall modern feel. A suspended mirrored cabinet hangs above the mirror clad alcove, enlarging the room.
New architectural materials & application for residential building
The purpose of this BA thesis is to analyze and establish which of the newly emerging materials in architecture show the widest range of applications, and how they have affected construction, the living environment and urban quality of life. The focus is not only on the particular way these materials are applied but also on identifying specific issues arising from architectural design and proposing which of the new materials are best suited to solve them.
The second part of the thesis addresses the specifics of living in a particular urban space, looking at spatial characteristics to formulate an approach that serves as a blueprint for upgrading the quality of life in the given neighbourhood. Analysis of spatial characteristics forms the foundation of an efficient residential scheme, as well as showing which public programmes could best contribute to furthering the quality of the living space.
Constructing hybrid residential buildings supported by public programmes appears to be a sustainable way to incorporate new architecture into the existing structural fabric, enhancing the surroundings and the living space with new possibilities for interaction as well as providing efficient residential areas.
Office building renovation
author: Ivana Hainz graphic design: Jaro Jelovac (Newf0rm) location: Ljubljana, Slovenia type: interior design, renovation year: 2015 area: 880m2 photography: Janez Marolt
The office building needed a freshening up before new tenants moved in, so this project was executed in a particularly tight time schedule. From the sketches and the planning, right down to the construction and the finishing touches, this exterior and interior architectural intervention had to be finished in less than a year.
The external sheet metal panels were replaced with facade cladding by FunderMax. One of the clients’ wishes was to tint the facade in at least two colors. Since the deep set windows were already renovated, the horizontal ribbon of panels around them was chosen to match the new white window frames. Above and beyond them lines in a dark gray imitation of concrete - chosen for its resistance and ease to camouflage dirt accumulating over time - fully embrace the building, unifying it in a refined simplicity. The covered entrance as well as the lettering were redesigned with the help of Newf0rm.
The internal layout was adjusted to suit the needs of the tenants, while also making sure the working areas get as much natural light as possible. A distinctively wide central hallway not only connects the adjacent offices, but provides enough space for additional workspace and a reception area. Offices run parallel on both sides, glazed in floor-to-ceiling windows for an especially bright and lofty feel.
Blink Blink Exhibition Stand
author: Ivana Hainz location: Ljubljana, Slovenia type: industrial design year: 2016 area: 90m2 photography: Janez Marolt
Blink Blink is a Slovenian company specializing in window blinds and shade providers in different forms and sizes. They approached the architect to design an exhibition stand, showcasing their many products in a limited allotted area as a part of a greater trade fair.
Trying to differentiate yourself and stand out in a crowd of others is in itself a challenge. Staying true to the company’s directives, reputation and corporate imagery while meeting their demands is another one. The architect drew from their graphic outlines and color schemes to design an exhibition stand using the company’s existing choices of grays and charcoals. Some elements and furniture used in previous exhibitions and fairs were re-purposed and painted in a deep, matte black.
The individual pieces now came together in a unified form with a distinctly modern flair. The layout of the stand itself was simple, rectangular and logical, with certain subdivisions used to represent different segments of the company. The additional components and fine details brought an elegant aspect to the finished booth. A sail used as shading was ordered in rich black, lightning was dimmed and sensual and different colors and textures were used to create depth and substance.
A Sophisticated Splendor
author: Ivana Hainz location: Maribor, Slovenia type: renovation, interior design year: 2011 area: 120m2 photography: Andrej Trnkoczy
This centrally located apartment with high ceilings was initially made up of smaller, cramped rooms that needed to see a few walls come down in order to open up the space. A generous, open plan living area with plenty of natural light was determined, leaving enough space for a master bedroom and a children's room as well. An all-white color scheme was chosen to accentuate the new, uncluttered spaces, while the carefully chosen furniture is an eclectic mix of modern and traditional and a nod to the dwelling’s history.
Exceptionally high ceilings and natural wooden floor in white-bleached oak help create a lofty, airy feel and a warm, cozy ambiance. The modern, custom made kitchen occupies one corner of the area, while an oversized corner sofa sits invitingly in the other. Between them, a modern interpretation of a traditional set of dining table and chairs bathes in abundant sunshine.
The modestly sized bathroom was visually enlarged with the choice of white ceramic tiling. A rain shower is hidden in the suspended ceiling, while an array of colorful LED lights illuminate the space in changing colors. A wall of decorated tiles was added for an extra bit of luxury, and a few wooden elements for a warmer touch.
The architect stripped the original space to an empty shell, only to fill it with a sophisticated selection of styles and comfortable but rich textures. The all-white interior became a beautiful, timeless backdrop for the young family to enjoy their splendor, adding their own little quirks and details as time goes by.
The architect stripped the original space to an empty shell, only to fill it with a sophisticated selection of styles and comfortable but rich textures. The all-white interior became a beautiful, timeless backdrop for the young family to enjoy their splendor, adding their own little quirks and details as days go by.
Notary office Masa Mazgon
author: Ivana Hainz graphic design: Jaro Jelovac (Newf0rm Design) location: Ljubljana, Slovenia type: renovation, interior design, corporate graphics year: 2014 area: 150m2 photography: Anže Petkovšek
The client needed help revitalizing her workplace as well as the visual graphics of her business. The corporate image and the offices were given a modern face-lift on a limited budget. The renovation started with removing some walls and stripping the spaces to their bare essentials. The architect decided to keep the dark gray terrazzo floor and replaced the old parquet with a deeper, darker wooden flooring, creating an overall contrast to the prominent white walls.
The main office is an elegant bright space, representative in a cool, calm and collected kind of way. Milky off-whites and sultry creamy finishes make for a more relaxed atmosphere in what would otherwise be a very official environment. The glossy geometrics of the Versace wallpaper are a discreet nod to the clients’ personal style and a subtle enrichment to the bright lofty room. Wide, deep set armchairs in a rich charcoal color set a less formal atmosphere in the corner opposite the desk, reminiscent of the more traditional, dusky old-boy tones.
A conference room between the reception and the main office also serves as a buffer zone between the semi-public area and the rest of the offices. A corridor runs along the entire length of the offices, doubling as an archive while connecting all of them together.
The entrance area is where the customers get their first impression. That is one of the reasons why the reception desk is of an ordinary height, allowing for a more personal, eye-to-eye level of communication in such a formal setting. A floating bench is fitted vis-à-vis the reception desk, decorated with a slew of throw pillows for a more comfortable wait. The vast custom made desk, bench and storage units are again finished in an off-white natural wood that softens the sternness of the polished terrazzo floor. The washed-out colors and finishings work well with the sombre floor, creating a practical, functional interior of a balanced mixture of masculine and feminine - where glossy, polished and sleek meets subtle, refined and warm.
This L-shaped, single family house is currently being built in the southwestern countryside of Slovenia, nestled next to a peaceful forested area. The layout is designed so that it allows circular movement from one room to another, creating a fresh, breezy ambiance. It took the clients all but five minutes to fall in love with their new home.
The living room on the ground floor opens onto the centre of the plot and into the forest as well. Big windows let in an abundance of natural light while framing all-round views of the surroundings.
The stairway takes us to the upper floor, where a gallery allows to look onto the kitchen. The master bedroom is connected to a private cabinet, accessible through a walk-in closet. Past the generous bathroom, in front of the children’s rooms, an open playroom let’s the kids enjoy in unrestricted fun.
The exterior facade and the roof all blend into one with the help of black cladding by Fundermax. Using the same material for the whole building creates a dynamic, modern and playful take on the gable roof.
Work in progress
A COLLECTION OF PAST AND PRESENT PROJECTS, FINISHED OR IN PROGRESS, THAT ARE YET TO BE FULLY DOCUMENTED. AMONGST THEM YOU WILL FIND RESIDENTIAL ARCHITECTURE, RENOVATIONS, INTERIOR AND EXTERIOR DESIGNS. MOST FEATURE CUSTOM MADE FURNITURE, DESIGNED TO BEST FIT EACH CUSTOMERS’ NEEDS AND WISHES.
Residence on the hill / House A interior / 2015-2016
notary office renovation / interior / exterior / before & after / 2014
young couple apartment / low budget renovation / 2012
fragments / art collaboration with jaro jelovac / 2015
house renovation / architecture / interior / 2015-2016
author: Ivana Hainz location: Ljubljana, Slovenia type: architecture year: 2016- area: 200m2
The single family house is currently being built in the outskirts of Ljubljana. The project was defined with strict laws and regulations almost from the beginning of planning. Restrictions from the planning office determined the positioning of the building, the outline and dimensions allowed, as well as the angle of the sloping roof and the its’ colour.
Despite the limitations, the architect created a modern house in white, with additional elements in wood adding warmth of natural materials. The basic layout is simple, with the living area on the ground floor and the sleeping quarters on the top.
The ground floor is an open plan living area, with full height windows opening onto the wooden terrace. The stairway and technical rooms are pushed towards the northern wall, allowing rooms to open up towards the southern sun.
The en-suite master bedroom with a walk-in wardrobe and a private sauna is luxurious and a real retreat, meeting all the clients wishes. The children’s rooms are bright and lofty, thanks to the double-height ceiling of the gallery.
Concept for urban housing
author: Ivana Hainz location: Ljubljana, Slovenia type: architecture year: 2013 area: 140m2 photography: Matevž Avbelj
The architect was asked to research a different approach to designing a modern dwelling in a rural surrounding. The countryside proves to be a difficult challenge, since the laws and regulations dictate a specific take on architectural planning and design.
The project wanted to explore the possibilities of contemporary solutions inside the sometimes outdated guidelines within the existing laws and rules. The project aimed at young people wished to