1st Central-European Architectural Magazine for the Culture of the Environment

Interior and design by Tina Rugelj

Photo: Miran Kambič

Design / Piranesi 48/49

Interior and design by Tina Rugelj

Tina Rugelj

The balance between the architectural and design aspects of work

by Mateja Panter

Functional fibre cement products create a balance between the architectural and design aspects of work.

At a time when architects in Slovenia were turning back to visible concrete, a material much prized by the modernists, Tina Rugelj set her own course and took a decisive step: she devoted herself to fibre cement. She understood the much-praised visible concrete differently, innovatively, playfully, intimately. Her long-standing ambition was to design her own furniture, which would blend well with her professional work. Concrete creates a perfect balance between the architectural and design aspects of her work. While searching for the thinnest form of concrete she discovered fibre cement, a material patented in Switzerland and produced in Slovenia. She was seduced and fascinated by the material and spent years working with it. During this time she became thoroughly familiar with its characteristics.

Photo: Miran Kambič

It has been 11 years since Rugelj started down this path and created the Concrete Garden collection, which responds to the need to create intricate furniture with the aesthetic qualities of concrete. The Concrete Garden products present concrete from a different angle, as Tina Rugelj’s skill and knowledge of the material’s characteristics have helped her transform this often cold material into elegant shapes and thin objects into statically strong elements. With her excellent design choices, the architect has given a poetic dimension to an otherwise rough material.

Photo: Klemen Razinger

Fibre cement is a composite which, like any material, has its own characteristics.  As the Finnish interior designer Stefan Lindfors said about becoming familiar with it when he was the guest of the Big Centre for Creative Economy of Southeast Europe in Ljubljana back in 2006: “I usually hate the material, as it always has problems.” In choosing to work with it, Tina Rugelj thus ventured into a relatively empty niche, as there were not many functional design objects made of this material on the market at the time. As she says of its attractive properties: “Fibre cement is great for outdoor use as it requires no special maintenance, it can be easily shaped before it dries, and once it has dried, it is very stable and resistant to all weather conditions.”

Photo: Miran Kambič

Photo: Miran Kambič

Project Data

Concrete Garden SeaterDesigned In 2013
Dimensions (one module) 80x70x63 cm
Thickness 16 mm
Weight 37 kg
Photo by Klemen Razinger

Concrete Garden Cat HouseDesigned In 2017
Dimensions 45×43,5×49 cm
Thickness 8mm
Weight 13kg

Concrete Garden Concrete SinkDesigned In 2012
Dimensions 40x40x70 cm
Thickness 12mm
Weight 7kg

Zoofa Shop, Ljubljana, Slovenia, 2021Interior: Tina Rugelj
Associates: Metka Janko, Iza Šentjurc, Urška Škrap
Photo: Miran Kambič

Concrete Garden Big LampDesigned In 2017
Dimensions 120×49,5 cm
Thickness 10mm
Weight 15,6kg