Opened in September 2021, the Cukrarna Gallery is multidisciplinary, interactive space, which offers to the Slovenian capital the possibility of displaying and creating contemporary art in an inspiring environment. The presentation of artworks within exhibitions or special events is just a part of Cukrarna Gallery’s programme, whose social mission is to become a multicultural hub based on solid ethic, humanistic and educational values with a critical eye on modern society.
The historic building of Cukrarna dates back to 1828 when it was erected as a sugar refinery and soon became the largest sugar production factory in the Austro-Hungarian empire. In 1858 a devastating fire put an end to this profitable business as there was no economic possibility to restore it to its previous status. During the following decades, the crumbling structure was lived in by soldiers, factory workers, and also writers, later on linked to the Slovenian modernism. Living conditions were far from adequate and remained brutal even in the 20th century, with the result that by the 1980s Cukrarna was regarded as a decadent and infamous site.
Arcadia Lightwear arcadialightwear.com
Pictures: Miran Kambič mirankambic.com
An important cultural symbol
In 2008 the City of Ljubljana purchased the building and its grounds, later implementing a restoration programme conceived by the architecture studio Scapelab. As an historical and cultural monument, the building was renovated following a very conservative approach, which aimed at preserving its external appearance, while totally emptying out its interiors to generate a modern, welcoming exhibition concept.
As part of this reconditioning work, a steel
truss was attached to the roof of the empty building to support four white geometric structures of different shape and dimension. Wrapped up in a perforated, sleek metal cover, this framework creates an impressive visual space, offering unusual and creative architectural perspectives. In the past appreciated only for its overwhelming dimensions (5679sqm), now Cukrarna is finally regarded as an interesting architectural achievement.
The lighting project
The lighting renovation of Cukrarna was probably one of the biggest challenges that our commercial partner in Slovenia, the company Arcadia Lightwear, had to face in its professional career. For 30 years, Arcadia Lightwear has been providing sophisticated lighting solutions to the most renowned and successful Slovenian architects and designers, offering a highly qualified support service.
According to the selected lighting scheme, an even wall grazing effect had to emphasize the new interior layout and its tridimensional spatial volumes. Owing to an array of PARADE L-3 linear bars in RGBW colour configuration with elliptical wide optics installed on the ceiling, the emitted light perfectly reflects on the internal surfaces delivering an unexpected WOW effect. An eye-catching colour changing game catches the visitors’ attention involving them in a pleasant, relaxing atmosphere.
As the many windows are a tangible link to the past identity of the building, their enhancement was considered fundamental for the completion of the lighting scheme. Our Eklipse in RGBW with elliptical wide optics were therefore chosen to beautifully enlighten the wide and deep intrados of the 318 windows of the building. Internally, they now result perfectly enhanced by soft or intense colour hues, which can either match or contrast with the general interiors shades. Externally, they deliver a peculiar character to the building accentuating in bright, coloured light the glass windows, now visible from far away.
Cukrarna Gallery represents now a new revolutionary space in the cultural milieu of Ljubljana, a multifunctional hub at the edge of the city center, regenerating with a new lease of life the formerly derelict city area.
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