Nomad artists Jasmina Cibic, Igor Eskinja, Zlatan Vehabovic, Zizic/Kozul collaborated with Studio 3LHD on renovation of Hotel Adriatic in Rovinj, and their works are featured on the exhibition at the Museum of Contemporary Art Zagreb.
Even though it is dedicated to the work of an architecture and urban planning studio, 3LHD studio’s exhibition at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Zagreb is organized as a group exhibition. Instead of offering a traditional focus on individual architectural works, the exhibition aims to use different types of interactions and projects realized by the studio to explain to explain 3LHD’s practice: their methodology and manners of collaboration within the office itself, the studio’s collaborations with experts and creative professionals from various fields of expertise, and the relationship between architectural practice and social reality. 3LHD’s very first projects were realized through the mutual collaboration of four partners, who have since been joined by a growing number of coauthors and associates.
The office’s non-personal name distinctly signals that its practice departs from the tradition of emphasizing ‘’the author’s personality’’. Instead, the studio favours the horizontal organization of the working process, actively engages all the participants in the development of a project and readily accepts outside influences stemming from different sources. The studio’s openness and focus on what’s current also affect their explorations of aesthetics and concepts, both of which change depending on their projects and are a result of different interactions inside and outside the office. This is why the exhibition is organized into three mutually related segments, each dealing with a different circle of interactions: Office, Collaborations and Public.
The first segment concerns interactions within the office itself. Instead of concentrating on a ‘’signature style’’, 3LHD works on developing an organizational and conceptual platform for design and construction. This platform provides basic architectural expertise: clear attitudes concerning urban planning, the skills necessary for precise project management and the ability to communicate and negotiate with different parties in the course of the process of architectural production. This platform, which functions as an ‘’expert knowledge base’’, presents the basis for the development of specificities in the studio’s projects. This enables 3LHD to linearly transform ideas into reality, which is why the studio’s evocative computer simulations bear a startling resemblance to their technically excellent project realizations. The second segment of the exhibition maps out the studio’s collaboration network of associates who participated in the studio’s work. This network encompasses an autonomous group of leading Croatian and international artists, designers, architects, engineers and other experts, regardless of their chosen ‘’type’’ or ‘’medium’’ of creativity. A great number of 3LHD projects owe both their concepts and their final form to interdisciplinary collaborations with creative professionals whose contributions enhanced the platform provided by the office. In certain cases, the openness towards collaborations goes so far that it is impossible – unnecessary, even – to draw boundaries between 3LHD designer decisions and the ideas which were contributed by coauthors and associates.
The interior of Hotel Lone in Rovinj is a paradigmatic example of this type of collaboration. The hotel’s interior design was conceived by means of a synergic collaboration with the designer studio Numen/For Use, while a number of artists, including Ivana Franke, Silvio Vujičić, textile designers I-Gle and others, contributed their ideas to the project.
The third segment of the exhibition concerns media debates, expert reviews and public reception of the studio’s project performance. Notable projects and realizations by 3LHD are in the focus of public attention. They exert considerable influence over urban identities and city physionomies, so objects such as the Split waterfront or the Croatian Homeland War Veterans’ Bridge in Rijeka have attracted considerable attention. These particular projects either sparked heated and often contradictory reactions both from experts and the wider public, or they became symbols of local identities and sources of pride for smaller communities, such as the Bale sports hall.
The exhibition setup represents a reaction to the current condition of the Museum of Contemporary Art’s space intended for temporary exhibitions. Remnants of previous exhibitions are to be cleared and the space is to be returned to its ‘’previous condition’’. It becomes home to a non-hierarchical field composed of points which give basic information on the 250 projects 3LHD has completed so far. Fifteen voids with thematic units dedicated to different types of interactions are placed within the field. Each subunit is to form a separate ambiance whose character is determined according to its content. These ambiances will form an interior urbanism – an ‘’exhibition city’’ which is equally populated by partners and studio employees, creative professionals who collaborated with the studio on different projects, users and designer mediators.
The exhibition setup is based on simple modular construction elements which accommodate original artefacts, prints, models and all other content elements. The exhibition Interactions was accorded the status of a regular 3LHD project, filed under the corresponding number 250, and it is treated like a collaborative architectural project.
Maroje Mrduljaš, Antun Sevšek
Jasmina Cibic, work in progress in Hotel Adriatic
Photographed by Ognjen Maravić
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