Monday, 21 August 2017

Sklada: The Space that Stores and Showcases Contemporary Design

Alternative Cultural Guide to Sofia*   
Its short manifesto, called “The diary of a Sofia neo-nihilist,” reads: “In reference to Sofia, nobody can claim anymore that it is a place of underdeveloped primates isolated from the world. Sklada turned all that around…”

The city finally has a place dedicated entirely to the hottest meeting point between life and art – design. It is located in the former printing house Madara on 11 Benkovski Street and, in spite of the claustrophobic entrance and the old industrial lift, when you reach the third and fourth floors, you will find yourself in the middle of a space that is untypically open and light for Sofia. Here, in a head-spinning, 3D symphony, furniture (or maybe objects, or maybe installations?) is arranged, with unexpected forms, functions, colours and relation to space.

The inspiration of Sklada – literally meaning ‘the storage space’, comes from minimalist and modernist architecture. In each of the displayed objects, there is an idea that breaks up the white surfaces and the perfect edges. For example, Bulo’s Easy Rider chair, which looks like a giant red baby-walker, is a king’s armchair from one side, which momentarily turns into a mobile desk if you sit on the other side; оr the three-person hammock from synthetic materials Headdemock, which looks like a shuttle with which you could launch into space from your own living room.

Actually, Sklada is a showroom that represents the best known brands in contemporary furniture, interior and product design, such as Tom Dixon, Establised & Sons, Cassina, Bulo and De Padova. What’s more, Sklada is a space for the sake of space, which recognizes this space’s ability to create various conditions. That is why the third and fourth floor of the Madara printing house aren’t just places for shopping and gawking, they are also places that create experiences.

Quite naturally, Sklada takes part in the yearly Sofia Architecture Week and Sofia Design Week events. In the last edition of the latter, the space organized a Vincenzo De Cotiis exhibition. In it, it brought over, insured and returned the pieces in the same way an art gallery would. Another of its exhibitions was that of the proposals of young architects from the Vienna University of Technology for the transformation of the Women’s Market into “a Sofia version of Soho.”

The area, which used to be the city’s old Jewish quarter and now houses Sklada, has been undergoing a transformation with the appearance of a dozen unique places like this one. This development is especially favoured by many Sofia intellectuals, who believe it will preserve and even partially restore the original spirit and architecture of the place.

* This story is part of the Alternative Cultural Guide to Sofia. The guide was created by students from Sofia University St Kliment Ohridski. Initiated by associate professor Alexander Kiossev, it was supported by the Sofia University’s Academic Research Fund. The texts, published in Bulgarian by the student magazine Piron, were edited by Lyuboslava Ruseva, and translated into English by




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