Visitors flock to Croatia for its historic architecture, from the magnificent towers of Diocletian’s Palace to the medieval city centre in Dubrovnik. Yet the country boasts no shortage of modern treasures as well. Art installations take place regularly, delighting all ages with avant-garde features. The Lighting Giants in Pula is one recent example, with Dean Skira creating a light show in 2014 illuminating the cranes in the Uljanik shipyard with colour and motion. Here are some more designs to look at.
Sea Organ & Greeting to the Sun
Some perfect examples of contemporary public art can be found in Zadar. Approach from the sea to see some of the most famous – book a cheap ferry to Croatia with Ok-ferry to see the Sea Organ. Thispopular installation’s staircase plunges into the sea. There are five rows of organ pipes tucked beneath these stairs, creating music that varies with the elements as the sea waves crash over them. If you follow along the promenade, the Greeting to the Sun installation showcases a circle made from solar cells which soak in energy throughout the day in order to provide a nightly light show.
Croatia’s Neanderthal Museum brings ancient history to life in a unique modern building. It’s set into a space between two hills, just 40km to Zagreb’s north. To enter the exhibition area, you follow a spiral path outlining the history of Neanderthal evolution. Film projections and hands-on exhibits get visitors involved, in what looks like an unassuming concrete space.
Another new modernist masterpiece in architecture is the Hotel Lone in Rovinj, opened in 2011. Its seven stories resemble a cross between a multi-tiered cake and an old-fashioned ocean liner, with bold circles of black and white. The interior is similarly sleek, designed by local fashion designers I-GLE and artists like Ivana Franke.
Private housing in Croatia is often designed to blend into the countryside, but the Gumno House stands out immediately for its irregular angles and modernist style. Two storeys in height, it has windows facing in all direction and has a protruding front porch leaning over the hill it’s perched upon. The house wouldn’t be out of place in a classic James Bond film, making it a highly desirable piece of design.
As Croatia’s stature as a tourist destination only grows, designers are leaping at the chance to continue providing innovative new works of art and architecture to admire.