Square of traditional crafts in Varazdin

By engaging all senses to define the experience and stories of space, a unique project was being established. The urban solution, approach and contemporary designed modular kiosks in the Baroque historic city in Varaždin, ought to emphasize and preserve the identity on-site, and at the same time promote sustainability and local craftsman production.

The project aims to highlight a new design, for an existing public square in the historical fabric of the city; while formating a functional and inspiring gathering point for tourists and strengthening the educational character. "The square of traditional crafts", a public space that is part of the historic centre of Varaždin. Over the years, this area has undergone a transformation and has become an important craftsman location. In order to emphasize its purpose and attractiveness, it needed a redesign on the visual identity, defining the functional zones and elements of urban equipment. The newly designed solution offers a sensitive approach that would nurture and preserve the current spatial identity. Still offering new possibilities, better presentation space for the local craftsmen, and public space that is flexible and adaptive to various occasions and events.

Main design criteria, as observed: the relation between the space with the environment, the spatial and form qualities, the modern expression opposing the historical ambient values and most important rationality in the concept and the solution. The urban concept enhances the relationship between the square as a free space and the periphery positioned modular kiosks for local craftsmen, which retain the character of the environment and blend seamlessly into it. Public area for presentation, educational sessions, and at the same time open free space for pedestrians, was created. The module itself is designed to be opened on three sides. Each module has a platform. An external extension with a corresponding height that forms the whole, and emphasizes the linearity of the composition on modules. The central space is freed up and offers numerous spatial constellations depending on the needed space. As a gathering point, the open space of the square is enriched by the placement of medium-height trees, and additional wall greenery, which will create shade for the seating areas and give users a comfortable experience.

The project’s program demanded to create an adaptable urban solution, and flexible modular kiosks. When designing the module, the pointed issue was that the products and craftsmen who will use the kiosks are changeable, not permanent. Proposing a design solution including minimal light steel for construction, wooden facade on the exterior, perforated plywood wall panels for shelving that are adjustable in the interior, and movable furniture to offer deferent configuration for any future user that there will be. For overall space flexibility, the additional urban furniture and movable elements on the square, allow the place to be created according to the user’s needs. The kiosks set up different atmospheres in different periods during the day and night. Once opened, a minimalistic design with natural plywood finish is visible, to make the products stand out. When closed and unused, the outer vivid pink material on the wooden board facade blends into the surrounding. By adopting sustainable practices, in this case on small scale, but with a significant impact in the long run for the users and the craftsmanship in the historic city centre in Varaždin.