By continuing to use the site you agree to our Privacy & Cookies policy

LITTLE HARMONIES

Maybe there's a continuum from Ple. cnik the designer of furniture and monumental staircases, to Ple. cnik the renovator of Prague Castle, to Ple. cnik making interventions in the streets and squares of Ljubljana, writes Robert Harbison. These are usually small-scale and subtle adjustments, which work best for pedestrians.

They may be markers at the end of vistas, rows of busts on simple stalks making a kind of avenue, or small memorials like a sketch of a domed interior.

The form is that of Mannerist adaptations of an old Classical vocabulary but the feeling is different from that of any imperial Roman predecessor. Ple. cnik's monuments, if we can call them that, establish a formal decorum, but they are never grand, never bombastic. Their fondest wish appears to be to make the outside into the inside, to civilise the outdoors by turning it into a room. So he particularly favours pavilions, giving the idea, more than the reality, of enclosure.

At Prague Castle he appears to have a lavish budget; in Ljubljana forms are refined but materials are spartan, setting an example that could be taken up by others. It is hard to tell whether this has happened, but I often wonder if a bit of discreet ordering of the cityscape was a Ple. cnik detail or something later. Or whether it was there at all - has he just made you more alert to little harmonies in the environment which arose who knows how?

Robert Harbison is a professor at London Metropolitan University

Have your say

You must sign in to make a comment.

The searchable digital buildings archive with drawings from more than 1,500 projects

AJ newsletters