Jewellery – the architecture of eternity

A dialogue with Plečnik

Silver, Plečnik pyramid, ring by Jure Kodre

An exhibition of jewellery is currently on display at the Feniks sales gallery on Tavčarjeva Ulica in Ljubljana. Its creators sought inspiration in the works of architect Jože Plečnik: in the Triple Bridge, in the colourful façade and the rough structure of the stone used on the front of the National and University Library, in its entrance door knobs, adorned with heads of the winged horse Pegasus, in the Courtyard of Hell in Križanke and the baptistery in the church of St. George in Nevlje, in the Cathedral of Freedom, in his pillars, fences, candelabra, pyramids, stairs of the Emona walls, and in the chalices, chairs and various symbols and ornaments that he designed into his works.

The relationship between jewellery and architecture and how the concept of architectural jewellery can be understood were the questions contemplated by the modern jewellery artists, designers and goldsmiths. In particular, they were interested in the idea that architecture is a space where the body exists along with its jewellery.  Thus they sought inspiration in Plečnik’s architecture, each seeking out their own way of expressing it. Some of the pieces have been designed in such a way that the particular symbol is clear, while in others it is hidden in a content that needs to be explored. The materials used include precious metals, semi-precious stones, glass, concrete, brick, plush, plastic mass, cement, brass and glass: in short, the artists have left no stone unturned, so to speak, including innovative technologies.


Silver, gold rhodolite, Keum Boo technique and etching, belt buckle with motifs of Plečnik’s sketches by Christop Steidl Porenta.

Jewellery is often seen as small-scale sculpture, so architectural jewellery could even be labelled micro-architecture! Rather than being a literal transfer of architectural norms into another mode, though, this is creation with architectural motifs depicted in the artistic language of jewellery.

Jože Plečnik, the 145th anniversary of whose birth and 60th anniversary of whose death we commemorated this year, was a great architect, committed to his vision of architecture. His artistic style was classical, but at the same time he was also in a very real sense a modernist. His works are distinguished by the originality of the modifications and combinations he came up with, and these are referenced in many different ways in the jewellery on display at this exhibition. Such jewellery can thus be understood as a kind of internal dialogue between the architect and the artists represented here.

The exhibition features the works of: Aleksandra Atanasovski, Petra Bole, Nataša Druškovič, Nataša Grandovec, Aleš Hočevar, Jure Kodre, Sandra Kocjančič, Olga Košica, Martina Lončar, Srečko Molk, Martina Obid Mlakar, Uršula Rihtar, Christoph Steidl Porenta, Dalija Sega, Huberto Široka, Rok Široka, Žare Ognjenovič and Neža Žehelj. The curators of the exhibition are Karin Košak Arzenšek and Neža Žehelj.

Text by: Vesna Žarkovič

Photo: Karin Košak Arzenšek