Challenge # 6
Challenge # 2

Challenge #1: Old Structures, New Functions

Most libraries are designed according to stand-ards from the time when computers and Inter-net access were not yet widely available. Since then, they have experienced numerous trans-formations in their functional concept and common perception as institutions and public spaces as well.

The National and University Library (NUK) challenged the participants to redesign the old structures and propose new spatial solutions, organizational forms and services that will facilitate the transmission of infor-mation to the modern library user.

Serendipity Searcher

Serendipity Searcher is a visual atlas and a physical search engine that generates unexpected pathways to the valuable archive of the National and University Library (NUK). It brings together a spatial installation, machine learning, and human agency to physically reveal, select, and search for visual relations among the library’s holdings. The result is an ever-changing atlas of items that might otherwise never meet. The installation consists of a large light panel and transparent filters that can magically reveal images when placed within its frame. Visitors are invited to interact and physically move the filters to explore visual connections or generate new ones by highlighting any two images of interest. Inspired by the architectural ideals of Jože Plečnik, the project seeks to present an array of stories to a public curious enough to search for them.

Group - Old Structures, New Functions

Thomas Hügin (Germany) is an engineer and designer. He has a BE degree in product engineering from Furtwangen University of Applied Sciences and an MA in product design from the University of Edinburgh. He works as a mechanical design engineer and is the founder of Design Studio Platypus.

Maja Kolar (Croatia) is an independent designer, researcher, and educator. She has an MFA degree from Konstfack University of Arts, Crafts and Design in Stockholm. Kolar acts as a creative director, head designer, and researcher in the Oaza design collective in Zagreb, which she cofounded.

Yuxi Liu (China) is a multidisciplinary designer and researcher with backgrounds in Industrial Design, Design Informatics, and Interaction Design. Her work examines social, cultural, and ethical implications of emerging technologies through critical, philosophical, and ecological lenses. Her recent research focuses on designing with machine intelligence from a more-than-human-centered perspective.

Boris Smeenk (Netherlands) studied Digital Craft in Willem de Kooning Academy. With Arthur Boer, he started a practice based in Rotterdam, focusing on the contemporary digital culture (artificial intelligence, computer vision and human-machine dynamics). At the centre of their research, led by technological experimentbat, is the relation between algorithmic statistics and the human imagination.

Project manager:

Špela Pavli Perko (Slovenia) is an artist, the curator of the new media festival Speculum Artium, and the head of interdisciplinary projects in contemporary visual and intermedia art and the economy. She is currently working as an independent entrepreneur in project management and graphic design. Currently employed as director of the public institute for culture, Delavski dom Trbovlje.

Commonplace Studio
Commonplace Studio

Commonplace Studio is the Amsterdam-based practice of designer Jon Stam (born in 1984 in Canada) and hardware/software engineer Simon de Bakker (born in 1979 in the Netherlands). The studio develops projects around the notion of autobiographical and social memory. Their work often explores ways to frame digital content by distilling the power of meaningful digital or intangible things and transforming them into material interactions. The studio was awarded the Designers of the Future Award at Design Miami/Basel, and since then it has been collaborating with international museums, contemporary art centers, and Victor Hunt’s Belgian design gallery.

Commonplace Studio

Žiga Cerkvenik and Irena Eiselt
Žiga Cerkvenik and Irena Eiselt

Žiga Cerkvenik is responsible for coordinating international activities at NUK, for the library's website and social media, and for organizing and coordinating guided tours, events, and various promotional activities. His work includes preparing exhibitions, online exhibitions, and short documentary and promotional videos. Since 2017, he has represented the Slovenian library association in the global discussion on the future of libraries launched by the international association IFLA.

Irena Eiselt is the head of the Special Collections Division and the head of the Serials Collection at NUK. Her primary research focuses on the history of Slovenian photography and historical newspapers. Her primary fields of activity within the Serials Collection are coordinating work in the acquisition and processing of serial publications and providing serials and bibliographic information to users. She is engaged in developing new organizational and conceptual models of physical space for users at NUK.

Janko Klasinc

Janko Klasinc serves as the head of the Digital Library Office at NUK. His primary fields of activity include coordinating and developing library material digitization processes, long-term preservation of digital resources, collecting and archiving Slovenian online publications (including websites), management of the Digital Library of Slovenia ( portal, and development of advanced solutions for accessing and using written cultural heritage in an online environment.

The National and University Library (NUK) collects, documents, preserves, and archives the written cultural and scientific heritage of the Slovenian nation. It provides access to the knowledge and culture of Slovenian generations. In collaboration with national and international libraries, it offers access to the world’s written cultural and scientific heritage. In the process of creating new knowledge, it helps its users search, select, evaluate, and use information resources in various formats, forms, and languages. Its collections and services support scholarly and research work at the University of Ljubljana and other higher education institutions. The library is a center of knowledge aimed at lifelong education of the Slovenian people, and at raising their cultural and educational level and information literacy skills. Through research, development, and educational activities, NUK is helping shape the Slovenian library system, and it is making significant contributions to theoretical and practical knowledge of library and information science.