Slovenia House at the Winter Olympic Games in PyeongChang

Olympic Games offer business opportunities

At the Winter Olympic Games in South Korea, Slovenia has a strong representation not just in the tournament, but also in the areas of business and tourism.

The interior walls are furnished with large-format photographs showing some of the most typical and attractive features of Slovenia. They show Ljubljana and its dragon (a creature of special power in Asia), Bled sheathed in winter and ice, and a landscape with a kozolec hay rack.

The Olympic Games are the biggest sports event in the world, and bring together almost all the countries on the planet. While the athletes at the Olympic Games usually aspire to perfect performances and the best results, this event has long outgrown the confines of sports. The activities that take place alongside the games are just as important as those taking place in the sports arenas.

An integral part of Slovenia’s presence at the Winter Olympic Games in PyeongChang will once again be the Sloveniaa House, after a hiatus of eight years. Alongside the outstanding results of Slovenia’s sports men and women, who now traditionally return from the largest tournaments with medals, a broader representation is also important for promoting the country. The Slovenia House is therefore a meeting place for athletes, the main representatives of different sports, Olympic committees, business people and of course random visitors who thereby have the chance to get to know Slovenia.

Project partners

The project has drawn the participation of the company Kolektor and the Slovenian state as the main partners (SPIRIT, Slovenia Tourist Board, Government Communication Office and the Ministry of Economic Development and Technology), while partnerships have also been successfully concluded with some other prominent Slovenian companies, such as ELAN, Alpina, Hosekra and Jezeršek Catering. Foreign partners of the House participating in the project are Panasonic, which is providing screens, and Coca-Cola, which has contributed all the non-alcoholic beverages on offer at the site. The national broadcasting corporation RTV Slovenija also has its own Olympics studio in the Slovenia House.

In the Slovenia House in PyeongChang, South Korea, Elan will be showcasing a selection of innovative skis for various skiing experiences. Elan manufactures skiing products in the Slovenian Alps. It has more than 70 years of experience in manufacturing the best skis in the world for those who love the sport, who enjoy the skier’s lifestyle, and who like to treat themselves to fun in the mountains. For decades Elan has been developing innovations with a single purpose – to provide a better skiing experience for everyone, from beginner to expert. Through decades of constant expansion of the design constraints, they have been continuously faced with the challenge of designing the best-performing, highest-quality, state-of-the-art products for skiing enthusiasts, so they can enjoy great days on the snow.  

Alongside Elan, another company showcasing its products in the Slovenia House is Alpina, which is Slovenia’s leading producer and marketer of fashion and sports footwear. It is a development-oriented company with a 70-year tradition and globally established brand. Its main advantage is added value, for ever since 1947 it has been discovering new technologies and researching innovative materials. The company’s mission is to develop, manufacture and sell high-quality products that provide a complete experience of movement, while also exceeding user expectations. As experts in footwear, they support their business units in the areas of manufacture, sales and distribution of footwear. The company has manufacturing operations in Slovenia and in subsidiaries abroad. In Southeast Europe, Alpina operates a network of more than a hundred sales outlets, and in

The Slovenia House is set up in Alpensia, right next to the mountain Olympic Village and sports venues for ski jumping, biathlon, cross-country skiing and Alpine technical disciplines. The Slovenia House is a centre of sports, tourism and commercial events, while at the same time the House team will provide regular information about Slovenia to Korean and international audiences. Nor have we neglected the fact that the Olympic Games are a fine opportunity for enhancing already established economic ties, and an excellent platform for forging new ones.

Slovenia House concept

The concept, architecture and interior design of the Slovenia House are provided by architects GregorcVrhovec, led by Aleš Vrhovec and Vanja Gregorc, while the graphic design is the work of the ArnoldVuga agency, headed by Nataša Vuga. The Slovenian Olympic Committee selected these firms based on projects they had already completed, but primarily owing to the design of the award-winning Slovenian Olympic Education Centre. Their creative work earned them the Design Achievement 2017 award.

The Olympic Games are an event of exceptional importance. In the context of the Winter Olympic Games Slovenia is equal to the most successful countries in the world. To be lined up at the start with Austria, Switzerland, Italy, Germany, Sweden and the USA is no small feat. And this will also be the case at the Winter Olympic Games in South Korea. The company is good, and opportunity is extraordinary!

The Slovenia House is located in an exceptional and effectively strategic position at the entrance to the Alpensia Winter Centre, in an existing golf club building. We decided to set up a partition structure, a kind of kozolec hay rack, which divides the space into different functional areas. Putting up new wooden walls makes the spatial experience more concentrated. Elements that could impede use have been removed. At the same time a new archetypal space of different ambiences has been established with traditional “antique” wooden details.

The overall design has the ambition of merging the Slovenian tradition of construction (hay rack) and socialising (inn) along with the Korean tradition of recording wishes on lanterns. Moreover it ties together an awareness of the archaic origin of the Slovenian environment and current high-technology achievements, while we have also successfully combined handicrafts and technology, sport and business, Europe and Asia.

The space will be used at the same time by sports people, the media, business people and visitors. The desire is for everyone at any moment to have access to several different spaces in the House, where they can rest, concentrate, talk, socialise, get information and carry out media-related activities. Each of these ambiences will have a specific mood, and they will be connected by the wood of the hay rack, screens, large prints on the walls and furnishings.


House construction

The bearing construction is provided by upper and lower beams and columns set 2.4 m apart and 2.55 m high. The construction wood is connected to the diagonals that serve as a design link to traditional Slovenian rural architecture, while at the same time they are set up in such a way that they form a silhouette of Triglav, a play on the Slovenian Olympic Committee’s logo. Attached to these elements is panelling on which is set exhibition material. The wood is a natural colour, rough-finished with a brush, authentic in its massiveness yet at the same time a material that evokes feelings of warmth and homeliness.

The wooden construction is made of spruce, a tree that is one of the three most common in Slovenia. The Hosekra company needed over three weeks to prepare and make the wooden structures. Boštjan Hostej, company CEO, says that the company is greatly honoured to be part of the Olympics, and he is certain that the Slovenian Olympic Committee selected his firm specifically due to the very successful international project BIG BERRY. The internationally oriented creative team, which numbers 11 people of different nationalities, will work through their dynamic BIG BERRY brand to seek new opportunities within the Slovenia House.

The Slovenia House is set up in Alpensia, right next to the mountain Olympic Village and sports venues for ski jumping, biathlon, cross-country skiing and Alpine technical disciplines. The Slovenia House is a centre of sports, tourism and commercial events, while at the same time the House team will provide regular information about Slovenia to Korean and international audiences. Nor have we neglected the fact that the Olympic Games are a fine opportunity for enhancing already established economic ties, and an excellent platform for forging new ones.

Text by: Alja Pahor

Spatial layout and interior design: GregorcVrhovec architects;
design: arnoldvuga+

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