If you blink, you will miss it. If you do not turn your gaze upwards, you will not see it. And if you are too busy shopping, you won’t see beyond the windows. Many European cities embraced Art Nouveau or Secession. This is where art blurs architecture and blends with design. In Ljubljana, typical Secession style can be seen on numerous buildings, inspired by nature and geometry. The majority of Secession buildings are within a short stroll from Preseren Square, meaning you don’t have to walk very far.
You can start with the Cooperative Bank building as it attracts attention immediately. The strong coral red colour adorned with a geometric pattern reflects carnation flowers, extensively used in Slovene needlework and depicted on handcrafts. Then there is the Grand Hotel Union, Ljubljana’s first modern hotel. The etched glass is of interest and the hotel exudes that vintage vibe.
Another fascinating and colourful building is right across Presren Square – the Hauptmann House. This is Ljubljana’s flat-iron building. Looking beyond the immediate architectural cues and focus on the green blue and red patterns, it is without a doubt a fine example of secession style.
And just a few steps further down the Čopova street, at Municipal Savings Bank (Mestna hranilnica), you’ll find the same motif as you did earlier – an adorable beehive. It’s adorning the bank’s wrought metal sign, along with many metal petals and roses. This was the first Slovenian banking institution. They don’t put flowers on banks anymore!
A Secession tour of Ljubljana’s city centre is perfect distraction from the medieval charm of the Old Town. But do not hurry as there are many more discrete examples across this small city.