Lombergar’s Doors Turn A Few Heads

Although making a debut at the biggest construction show in the region, two doors crafted by glass designer Ales Lombergar and featured at Alukomen’s stand, did succeed to turn quite a few heads at last year’s Big 5 show, literally opening the doors for the small Slovenian firm into one of the world’s fastest growing economies.

Lombergar’s passion for the art took shape way back in 1984, when as a young boy he was fascinated by the chemical formula that was used by craftsmen centuries ago. In a span of a little over two decades, Lombergar has become one of the few artisans in Europe, who continue with the ancient art and craft of glass acid etching that flourished in the late 19th century. Decorations are applied with resin resists by hand and then exposed to acid baths, with no machinery used.

“I was always more interested in the past than in the present, so even today I hardly pass by a medieval building without stopping to admire it. My wish is to bring the forgotten ornaments back to life and glass is only a medium,” says Lombergar.

Today, Lombergar’s work adorns a variety of locations, ranging from Europe’s biggest casino near Vienna through to many European cultural institutions and private mansions to one of the biggest cruisers, the Chrystal Symphony.

“Many believe that what I aspire for is luxury – rather I am for uniqueness. You simply don’t find products like mine either in the US or in China and patrons want to have my works no matter the price,” he explains.

Explaining the work that went into the creation of the doors that were displayed at the Big 5, he says: “My quest for something that truly depicted Arabia took me back to the library. Glass with the Arabesque embellishments was etched in a way that was meant especially for this piece of work and was never used before. Two symmetrically-etched glass panes were then gilded and laminated together so that it appears that there is a golden arabesque cast in the glass that is floating free without touching the wooden door frame. The arabesque ornaments are hollow and this unique masterpiece was created by Lombergar especially for this exhibition.

“The arabesque ornament itself was from the 16th century and was not created by a Muslim artist as one would expect, but by an European Renaissance artist, the German engraver Peter Floetner.

“The golden arabesque could not yet technically have been made in a size big enough to cover all the doors, so I enlisted the help one of the best sculptors in wood – Marko Crtanec – to make a door frame. His masterpiece – made of small nutwood stars that are put together – created a similarity in transparency and blended well with the ornamented glass, making the end-product even more fascinating. Such doors could certainly not be equipped with any of the standard door handles on the market so I called upon another sculptor Jozef Vrscaj to create a transparent door handle with a hollow form partially filled with mercury – which, when lowered, causes liquid silver to flow from one side of the door handle to the other. Such doors could only be used in a palace – not because of the price but because of the craftsmanship and dedication that has gone into it.”

The second door at the Big 5 show depicts an etched map of Arabia drawn by a Venetian mapmaker in 1563. The adaptation of the map from paper onto glass in such a large dimension gives the impression of monumentality, especially as the space beyond it is blurred to the vision.

“My creations aim at perfect beauty. They give the interior a complete new dimension, whether it is a door, window or glass wall – modern or ancient,” explains Lombergar,

Apart from the doors of Lombergar, Alukomen also used the show to promote three of the company’s systems:

– Logo metal counterframes for sliding doors and wing doors;
– Exclusive door panels combining wood and acid-etched glass, which are custom-designed to clients requirements; and
– Vertical shelving systems called Patter Noster, which are automated rotating retrieval storage systems that can be used both in offices and in warehouses.”
Alukomen, which has a 50-year history behind it, claims to be one of only five European manufacturers specialising in acid-etched doors and was at the Big 5 to set up agencies in the Gulf and create awareness of its expertise.

Using the pomegranate – a symbol of fertility and business prosperity – as its talisman, the company has grown beyond the confines of the Slovenian market to take on the global markets, says Alen Tibljas, general manager.