Future of retro avant-garde

News /
13 December 2012
Future of retro avant-garde

The Hotel Vander Urbani Resort in Ljubljana – relaxation amidst the ambience of a space station: with Hansgrohe's avant-garde PuraVida range in the bathrooms

Amanda and Aleksander Vujadinovic elected to escape the rat race. They quit their old jobs to devote themselves entirely to their new role as hosts – in what was their former home! They discovered the old building on Krojaska Street, in the Slovenian capital of Ljubljana, many years ago while on their first date, and that is also where they searched for a home later on when they were ready to start a family. They both loved the premises, and this soon led to the dream of running their own hotel: they wanted to take their enjoyment of entertaining guests to a whole new level.

Bit by bit they bought up the rooms on the other floors, as well as three of the neighbouring houses, and in the summer of 2012, after eight years of planning, they finally opened the Vander Urbani Resort with its 16 rooms and two suites. Hence, indirectly and unobtrusively, the hotel actually tells the life story of this hotelier couple. Their futuristic establishment is furnished entirely in purple, grey and metallic shades. Fresh white also adorns the bathrooms. So it comes as no surprise that the couple have used combinations of PuraVida white-chrome mixers and showers from Black Forest bathroom specialists Hansgrohe here.

Architecture fit for a space station

However, if you are expecting to find that traditional sugar-coated romanticism typical of the period of the Habsburg Empire inside the hotel, you would be mistaken. Behind the bourgeois façade of the four merged historic residences, grey exposed concrete arches, mirrors and the colour purple all prevail. When you enter the lobby, and also the adjacent restaurant, you immediately find yourself in the presence of contemporary aesthetics. The subtle colours and seemingly sparse material combinations continue throughout the upper floors. The interplay they have with the soft shapes and textiles of the furniture makes them vaguely reminiscent of pieces of scenery from Tarkovsky's 1972 space opera Solaris. Coincidence?

After all, the Sadar + Vuga architectural office is responsible for converting the hotel, and these architects had already attracted attention with their new building for the Cultural Centre of European Space Technologies (KSEVT) in the Slovenian town of Vitanje. The Cultural Centre, which was opened in October this year, was the first specific type of architecture to be modelled on a space station, as described by Herman Potočnik Noordung, an Austro-Hungarian pioneer of astronautics, in the early 20th century in his book The Problem of Space Travel.

Futuristic shapes, the colour purple and lots of metal

The design concept is carried over to the individually-designed rooms and suites, which, with names like River or Zen, convey an atmosphere of comfort and meditative retreat: sometimes with futuristic-looking armchairs from Patricia Urquiola, sometimes with mirrored wardrobes, but always in combination with grey wall upholstery, purple carpeting and metallic details. The bathrooms are separated from the bedroom areas by glazing that extends across the entire room, which in turn is extensively mirrored, so that the room capacity appears to increase at various levels. The space in the bathrooms is dominated by grey natural stone on the walls and floors, wooden washstands and white bathroom items such as wash bowls and bathtubs.

Hansgrohe's PuraVida range carries on the hotel's futuristic design concept. The poetic fusion of purity and clarity was created by Phoenix Design (Stuttgart/Tokyo). Creative pioneers Andrea Haug and Tom Schönherr have developed a new design language for the PuraVida mixers and showers – one that is both sensual and emotive. Since all functions are “invisibly” incorporated into the products, the magical shape dominates the foreground. PuraVida adds a new design dimension to the bathrooms with its white-chrome finish (DualFinish). The dual material principle allows surfaces to seamlessly blend together, while brightening up the room with shimmering chrome and pure white. The PuraVida product range includes mixers for wash basins, bath tubs and bidets, hand, overhead and side showers and accessories.

An insight into the soul

The wood-panelled roof terrace, incorporating a small swimming pool and a bar, offers a wonderful view over the historic old town and, just like the restaurant on the ground floor, is open to the locals as well as the guests. Up there, it's easy to imagine that the Vander Urbani Resort, amidst the medieval streets of Ljubljana, is a camouflaged portal that leads into the future of the “retro avant-garde” and, just like Solaris, offers an insight into the soul – an insight into the soul of Amanda and Aleksander Vujadinovic, perhaps?

Hansgrohe Pty Ltd

Hansgrohe supplies taps and mixers for showers, baths, basins and kitchens, along with other bathroom products, from Axor and Hansgrohe.

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