Prestigious project of designing the Slovenian national pavilion for Expo 2020 Dubai
Robert Klun is a man of many titles and wearer of just as many hats: award-winning architect and designer, ex president and member of the board of Design Association of Slovenia, CEO of his family company Klun Ambienti, world traveller, avid golfer and an all-around cool and creative individual. Most recently he headed the architectural team that was awarded the prestigious project of designing the Slovenian national pavilion for Expo 2020 Dubai.
We recently dropped by the Magnet Design studio in Ljubljana to lounge around on some exceedingly comfortable and ergonomic furniture and pick Robert’s brain about architecture and design culture in Slovenia, his family’s long history of design, his work and travels in the Arab world, his favourite places to golf and more. We also learned a bit about how the award-winning proposal for the pavilion came about and what we can expect when we visit it in person in Dubai. To see more of his diverse design work and architectural projects, check out www.magnet-design.si and www.klun.si.
Robert Klun interview
CONGRATULATIONS ON BEING AWARDED THE DESIGN OF SLOVENIA’S PAVILION FOR EXPO 2020 IN DUBAI! WHAT’S THE STORY BEHIND IT?
Slovenia Expo 2020 Pavilion is so simple and unique. It is architecture, a poem that is singing
about our culture, nature and people. People are our treasure, nature is our home, culture is our luxury and to live in the safest and most unique place is poetry. The SMART GREEN CLOUD project is a work of the amazing team of Magnet Design, including the architect Sandi Pirš and myself. We are developing most functional place you can imagine to express Slovenia. We are humble, but without borders. We are modest, but colourful like a rainbow. Architecture and design are our language to talk, to express who Slovenia is, what our economy can offer and our secret is in the details!
AS LONG TIME PRESIDENT OF SLOVENIAN DESIGN ASSOCIATION, WHAT DESIGN
PRODUCTS REPRESENT SLOVENIA BEST?
Slovenia should be a proud nation regarding design and focused on developing and supporting new ideas, which architects and designers are creating today and tomorrow. Slovenia should be open towards new ideas, towards discovering. Support from thegovernment and the support of the public should be on a much higher level for ideas than it is now. Only with frank and strong ideas we can find segments that represents us, represent our identity, culture and functionality. Sustainability and ecology are in our roots, we should follow this message and create amazing future designs.
AS A PASSIONATE GOLFER WHAT ARE YOUR FAVOURITE PLACES?
Yes, golf is my relaxation and escape towards a fresh mind. Besides wild nature and the active sports aspect, golf is the game, life actually. The most beautiful place to golf in Slovenia, and region, is Royal Bled course for sure. Amazing landscape amazing fairways, infrastructure. But honestly I like all demanding courses. I like to play Otočec, the most creative course, Arboretum with narrow fairways and shorter holes, Austrian courses during the summer, Italian ones during wintertime. And yes, when I travel I always try to find golf courses and a few minutes for myself.
WHAT WOULD BE THE BEST GIFTS FOR BUSINESS PARTNERS FROM ARABIC WORLD?
Interesting question. Slovenians are very simple, and to be honest, being humble and proud is the best approach for the frank culture of Arabs. For gifts, I always bring Slovenian honey, Adriatic salt, chocolate from amazing small boutiques, and design pillows from Klun family company for sure.
EVEN BILL CLINTON HAS USED YOUR KLUN DESIGN CHAIR. WHAT IS THE SECRET FOR YOUR FAMILY COMPANY?
It‘s actually not a secret, only our professional sincere attitude for over 40 years. We are trying to be creative, best quality is always there, and we always say Yes! I am really proud of my amazing teams in the Klun family company and Magnet Design studio. I am proud we are trying to be better day after day. It is hard, since the economy is small in Slovenia, especially in furniture segment, but the projects we are developing with our clients who believe in our products, are really amazing. And yes Klun furniture is really unique and best.
AS AN ARCHITECT, WHAT ARE YOUR RECOMMENDED ARCHITECTURAL SIGHTS AND ARCHITECTS OF SLOVENIA?
For me, Slovenia = heaven on earth. We must be proud of our heritage, of our wooden designs, functionality in architecture like the Kozolec (hay rack). We must be proud of our classicism style in Ljubljana, about our concrete projects from the modern period all over Slovenia. And yes, some very interesting projects have been done by my colleagues in recent decades. I recommend visiting all regions in Slovenia to all my partners from abroad. And all of them are impressed and happy to come back. We should do much more to take some basic steps towards being a top world destination. With this, we would build our economy again, and next year, with the Expo 2020 Pavilion, we have an amazing opportunity. Maybe this time we will open our hands for professionals and I am promising: Slovenia will start a new era!
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