Mesto Oblikovanja – City of Design, Ljubljana, Slovenia

mesto oblikovanja city of design slovenia ljubljanaHave you ever thought about sleeping in a factory? I bet no. How about to have a whole city for yourself for one night? Sweet deal, right? If it is a design city, it is even better! Mesto Oblikovanja literally translates as City of Design and it is a contemporary conceptual design place in Ljubljana, Slovenia. We would have never guessed that we could end up there. One of these rare occasions where you don’t ask many questions and you are nicely surprised when you arrive at the final destination. The team at Big Berry camping had a cunning plan for us when we arrived in Slovenia. They told us we are going to explore Ljubljana and sleep in a very hip innovative Airbnb space. And they had not deluded us! Albeit this place may not be everybody’s cup of tea, for the adventurers who are fascinated with design it’s a highly recommended venue.

An abandoned printing house with a new future

The space used to be a printing factory which now has been turned into a creative design hub full of design objects mostly made of cardboard. The City of Design is currently a working and event area but with a very selective network. Do not imagine one of the many co-working spaces because the concept here is to go slower and choose the partner organisations very carefully. There are lots of design and architectural events held there with the biggest one being the annual month of design where many local and foreign designers and artists exhibit their collections. When we arrived there was an architectural conference focusing on the mobile wooden houses. International architectural studios presented their take on sustainable accommodation considering the global trend of people being more and more mobile in their everyday life and vacations.

A vision for Slovenia – modern wood solutions

So what is the City of Design exactly? We were lucky to catch the owner Zmago Novak for a long chat about the place and its future development. What started as almost a design experiment – how a modern sustainable city would look like if creatives had the chance to plan and construct it, has elevated in a much bigger sense. Slovenia is still building its identity and the overall concept of Mesto Oblikovanja is to show the rest of the world how beautiful and vibrant it is, to change the outside perception of the country by placing it on the design map among the Western European nations and establish Ljubljan as a creative capital as well. Building Mesto Oblikovanja was a way to explore the problems and challenges that modern society experience in the busy urban setting and a humble attempt to answer what is the city itself and what does it mean for the people living in the cities.
Another activity of the City of Design is promoting local wood production. The wooden houses could be an icon of Slovenia or a trademark of sorts. There are producers with a rich experience and traditions in the wood industry but lacking the modern design and ideas that can win the society. On the other hand many young designers don’t have the skills and experience to bring their ideas to life in the best sustainable way. Bringing creatives and producers together, the conceptual City of Design gives innovative ideas for small spaces and lots of creative furniture and product solutions.

City within a city – accommodation available

So far the City of Design has streets, bar, working spaces, gallery exhibiting architectural prototypes and products including 3D printer and printed models, a square of sorts – where people meet and gather to socialize, a stage for events, a library with design magazines, bicycles, playground with swings and probably much more. The natural line of thought is to also have a hotel or a type of accommodation that will allow you to stay longer in the city.
The new CMYK camp was organically born due to the owner’s desire to develop the city more and more, taking it a step further each year. It’s now live on Airbnb – one of the biggest platforms for booking accommodation. We were flattered to be the first guests that could experience it. Now you can be a part of it too!location


Mesto Oblikovanja really is a city within a city. The premises are huge and you would need more than a day to explore everything. The interior, as you can see from the pictures, is organised in cardboard – very versatile method that allows an easy way to rearrange the space for different events and needs. Creative objects such as chairs are also built from cardboard on the outside.
The facilities are great for a coworking space, although pretty basic for an Airbnb accommodation spot. But as we stated above this is not your typical place to stay. There are 4 shared bathroom and two showers (if memory serves us well). They are rather small but enough for your needs. The bar that serves drinks during events is available to you if you want to make breakfast or cook something for dinner. We didn’t need it at the time but from what we’ve seen it is equipped with the most essential tools for cooking.
A big terrace is open during the day and in the evening it’s perfect for summer night cocktails or just to enjoy your coffee or fresh juice in the morning.
The swing is not a facility itself but it is part of the interior and we just have to mention it as it turned to be one of our favourite things there.
There is always a need for transportation in every city, right? And the City of design makes no difference. The space is quite big so if you are lazy to walk you can get one of the bikes or skateboards to move from one side to the other. We are not gonna lie, walking around this building in your pyjama in the morning and hoping on the first bike we saw just to go to bathroom (not that we didn’t have another one close by) was actually pretty awesome! Gotta make the best of this design building after all. It is probably every kid’s dream to be able to bike around the apartment. Now you can have it!
There are design magazines lying around everywhere! And we mean tons of them! Hope you speak Slovenian, so you can enjoy them fully, but even if you don’t the visual content is just as appealing.

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IMG_7535roomsThese are prototypes of rooms designed to be suitable for modern camping, mobile houses or to fit small spaces such as cabins or even campers. You will find 2 beds inside with clean bed linen, towels and hangers. The bed mattresses were surprisingly comfortable considering they looked quite hard at first sight and we had a very good night sleep.
The creative name CMYK camp comes from the four color model used in printing. The model also describes the actual printing process -CMYK refers to the four basic inks used in some color printing: cyan, magenta, yellow and key (black). Considering that the building used to be a printing factory, we’d say it is quite suitable!pricesThe CMYK camp is now open to the public and available for booking at AirbnbCyan, Magenta, Yellow, Key. Prices are between 29 – 39 euros per room per night and the minimum stay is 2 nights. Smoking is not allowed but the place is pets friendly.


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Note: We were guests of Mesto Oblikovanja but that does not affect anything we’ve written. As always all opinions, recommendations and photos are our own.