Cankarjev Dom gets Alma Karlin hall

Ljubljana, 14 April - A new venue named after writer and globetrotter Alma Karlin (1889-1950) was inaugurated at the Cankarjev Dom arts and congress centre on Thursday evening. The new 400-square-metre hall with panoramic views of Ljubljana will be intended for art events, small theatre events, concerts and literary evenings, said director general Uršula Cetinski.

Inauguration ceremony for a new venue in Cankarjev Dom, Slovenia's largest arts centre.
Photo: Katja Kodba/STA

Cankarjev Dom, Slovenia's biggest arts and culture centre.
Photo: Bor Slana/STA
File photo

The project, which cost more than half a million euro without the equipment, was seven years in the making, mainly due to the raising of funds. Originally, the space was a terrace that was closed with windows in 2008, Cetinski told the STA ahead of the ceremony.

"A year ago, this was an empty space, with no wiring, no heating and no equipment for sound, video, light, so the project was not really renovation, but actually construction," she said.

The new addition increases the number of stages in the 36,000-square-metre Cankarjev Dom, Slovenia's largest arts and cultural centre, to seven, and it is the first hall in the centre to have been built in an environmentally friendly way, Cetinski said.

Architecturally it was inspired by the original ideas of Edvard Ravnikar, who designed Cankarjev Dom, which was finished in 1982. Architect Petar Vidanoski picked only sustainable and environmentally friendly materials and elements for the new hall. The chairs are, for example, made out of recycled plastic bottles.

The hall opens up into a modern interpretation of the agora, which together with the round stage pays tribute to antiquity and theatre of ancient Greece.

Cetinski said the new hall would primarily host art events, small theatre events, concerts and literary evenings, but it may also be used for congress or commercial events. One of the first events it will host will be a sound installation as part of the Sonica international festival of experimental electronic music.

The opening event was attended by President Nataša Pirc Musar and Culture Minister Asta Vrečko. Both of them lauded the choice to name the hall after a woman.

Pirc Musar noted Karlin's fascinating life story and her achievements. An admirer of different cultures and opponent of totalitarian ideologies, Karlin was the first woman to travel alone and see a great deal of the world at the beginning of the 20th century, the president said as she recalled that the author and researcher had penned more than 20 books depicting her travels.

© STA, 2023