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Slovenian Designer Brings Lace Tradition To US

New York – Slovenian architect and designer Manca Ahlin has brought Slovenia’s famous lace tradition across the pond, as her fascinating lace designs have drawn considerable attention from various companies in the US.

Ahlin caught the attention of media and design experts after designing a lace wall made of 1.2 kilometers of hemp rope, for Stix Restaurant, a New York City Mediterranean restaurant. “The revolution of using lace-making as a form of expression in contemporary design was probably started by Marcel Wanders with his acclaimed chair made from lace. When you go out into the world, you see that lace is not only typically Slovenian. Slovenians just have their own style, which is one of many in the global college,” Ahlin said. She also decorated the Slovenian Church of Saint Cyril in New York City as well as the New York-based offices of Etsy, an e-commerce website for niche artisan goods.

Etsy’s main interior designer asked Ahlin to collaborate on the renovation of the offices after the company moved to a new location in Brooklyn. The renovation had an eco-friendly concept as recycled materials were used. “There are no individual offices in the building, only the main directors had glass walls. As they did not want to work in an aquarium, they used my designs to get a feeling of privacy,” said Ahlin.

The designer was also invited by the Slovenian Embassy in Washington D.C. to participate in an exhibition of Idrija bobbin lace, hosted by the embassy. She showcased a light in the shape of a red flower made from lace. Ahlin is still an architect but is planning to continue her lace-making. She has discovered, however, that she is not alone in this field. She said several lace-making festivals take place in the US and that the Metropolitan Museum of Art has more than 3,000 bobbin lace works, including some from Slovenia.

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