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Presentation Centre Rijeka 2020

On Thursday, March 10, Mali salon at Korzo 24 becomes the presentation and information centre for Rijeka 2020 – candidate city for ECoC 2020


This interactive exhibition opens on March 10 at 6 PM and its co-authors are Ida Križaj Leko and Idis Turato. The aim is to visualise, as creative as possible, the entire bidding process including the bid book and the working materials (graphs, brainstorm meetings, mail correspondence, …).

The interior of the Mali salon will pull you in and lead you through the bid book and all of its programme points. All of the walls, the ceiling and the floor tell the story of Rijeka as a European Capital of Culture.

The exhibition will remain open by the end of March while the Croatian city to hold the title of the European Capital of Culture in 2020 is expected to be announced on March 24.

Ida Križaj Leko, recently listed as one of the best Croatian architects under 35, shared with us her comments on the event.

Our first aim was to create a space where the visitor could „enter“ into the bid book as if it was a living organism. Ande ECoC project is a living organism, both spatially and in terms of its programme.

The first room of the Mali Salon functions as the introductory part of the bid book, making the visitors more familiar with the process of working on the bid. It is also a space for presentations, workshops or just getting together.

The next room is a Room of Flagships, where we step onto the big map of the County of Primorje and Gorski Kotar, represented as a net of connected nods where the projects happen.

What is Important?

It is important to understand that the project was not “created” by the city administration but a large group of people who all contributed to the final vision. While the existing specific identity points were accentuated, new ones were introduced and incorporated into the project through contemporary vision. If I may comment as an outsider, compared to other cities, Rijeka has not invented and imposed its concept; Rijeka’s project concept is inherent and organic to the city, and we will try to show this at the exhibition.

And finally, the third room; it’s the room of emotions where pieces of moments and projects can be physically experienced. There is a path through the exhibition leading us to some very pragmatic moments of bid preparation, some very emotional moments and back….


Temporary living room

As a counterpart to this very intense visual and textual material, the visitors are invited to sit down and rest, to have a coffee with us and to exchange thoughts and comments with their neighbour in this pop-up city living room. During the period of the exhibition, they will also be able to get all information about the project and its further development, meet members of the bid team, and attend other micro-events.

Since Ida comes from Zagreb, we asked about her perception of Rijeka.

Ida Križaj Leko
Ida Križaj Leko

I’ve always wanted to be asked this question, especially in the context of tolerance and stands towards minorities. Honestly, I think that an outsider’s view is much more objective than the insider’s one. In the same time, as much as I try to learn about this city, I like this inimitable atmosphere of Rijeka, but more on everyday level than in the ECoC project.

Imagine that you’ve been in a city for seven years, you discover its dichotomies that make you crazy and yet you constantly and repeatedly listen the same old story about a port city. And of course, I see the Port from my window. In Zagreb I lived in a high-rise, so that I found a same situation here. Most people wonder why I moved to Rijeka from Zagreb, and even more why do I want to stay here.

Together with Idis Turato, world-renowned architect from Rijeka, Ida participated in the conceptualisation of the flagship Sweet & Salt, which deals with the spatial re-thinking of a part of Rijeka, area along the River leading towards the sea line.

Half of the area encompassed by the Sweet & Salt flagship is taken by derelict and abandoned industrial spaces, that can now be interpreted as infrastructure for new contents. This can be regarded as a very serious infrastructural project! But not in the sense of building new, but re-defining the existing space that used to be the major source of income for the city. How to create and find space for sustainable cultural programme? How to make Rijeka more attractive to its own citizens as well as newcomers? What are the new forms of housing, contemporary food production etc?  – these are the key questions for this area.

In the last ten years there have been a number of articulations of ideas and projects for the area along the river Rje?ina, at the location of the former paper factory Hartera, as well as on the water break known as Molo Longo. Let’s finally make them happen! I think we’ve spent enough time criticizing and commenting on social networks. This is the right moment to implement the best ideas and to include all citizens  in it!