Renovation of Veleblagovnica Maximarket - Maximarket Department Store

I. IDENTIFICATION
  • Investor (key institution): Poslovni system Mercator d.d. Ljubljana
  • Contact person: Prof. Dr. Irena Ograjenšek, irena.ograjensek@ef.uni-lj.si
  • Year of implementation: 2011
  • Implementation venue

  • Country: Slovenia
  • Region: Osrednjeslovenska regija
  • Town: Ljubljana
  • Size of area: 22500 m2
  • Impact: local

    Total costs: 6000000 EUR

    Source per every institution

    • other: 6000000 EUR
    II. TYPOLOGY
    1. Improved provision of local cultural and social events.
    2. Improved support for the development of small business operators in the area of blocks of flats.
    III. DESCRIPTION
    1. What forms of cooperation were used as new approaches in the field of rehabilitation and conversion of urban functional areas?
    2. Veleblagovnica Maximarket, one of the Slovenian oldest deparment stores, was designed by the architects Edvard Ravnikar, Anton Pibernik and Vladislav Sedej. For the first time it opened its doors to the public on November 23rd, 1971. From the very first day it represented a cosmopolitan lifestyle with goods being on display and sold from all parts of the world. After being acquired by the largest Slovenian retail chain Mercator, the department store was given a major overhaul in 2011. It reopened in October 2011 and is now again up to speed with regard to the latest trends in retailing both from the viewpoint of space utilization and goods display.

    3. Was the building or the space between buildings) identified as a valuable socialist heritage?
    4. Maximarket has been registered as immobile cultural heritage with the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Slovenia since 2005.

    5. What criteria were applied to make this judgment?
    6. It’s a prime real estate in the city centre of Ljubljana, directly opposite the building of the Slovenian National Assembly; not only an architectural landmark but also a symbol of cosmopolitan lifestyle both in the socialist times and now.

    7. Was the building or space between buildings) important to local communities and how were they involved in decision-making process about its rehabilitation or conversion?
    8. The department store is frequented by the locals and tourists alike; however, none of the groups were consulted about the renovation.

    9. Were attempts made to improve territorial cohesion within the city/town/district? And, if so, how was success on this front gauged?
    10. No attempts to this effect were necessary – territorial cohesion in this part of the city has been achieved a long time ago.

    11. Were there attempts to reduced disparities between districts within cities/towns achieved reduced? And, if so, how was success on this front gauged?
    12. Yes, but not in the framework of this initiative. However, the retail chain Mercator has been investing heavily in other districts within Ljubljana, thus creating important new jobs.

    13. Other important facts and comments, e.g. critical review.
    14. The story of Maximarket can be compared to that of West Berlin’s „Kaufhaus des Westens“: its primary function was to serve as a display area for the successes of a given (in case of Maximarket socialist) political system. Contrary to similar stores selling famous Western brands in the former USSR to tourists and political functionarities only, local population was always shopping in Maximarket without limitations, meeting in the famous Maximarket restaurant or coffee shop, visiting fashion shows and other events staged in the underground passage, etc. With the 2011 renovation, the legend of Maximarket got a new push; so did the famous advertising slogan ‚Meet me in Maxi‘ which has been used for decades and is a firm part of the locals‘ vocabulary.

    IV. SUPPLEMENT

    Web site: www.maxi.si