Forbidden Vernaculars:

BIO27 Production Platform

Despite the ecological renaissance which places sustainability at the heart of public ethics, the administrative frameworks still seem to restrain the proliferation of sustainable material cultures. All though Krater become a European model for creative work and regenerative practices, the use of natural materials in Slovenia is greatly challenged by outdated laws and costly certification processes which prevent these very resources from being widely applied. Materials such as clay, wood or straw bales are either imported from abroad or built into the buildings illegally. As the legislation currently stands, local landscapes have become forbidden vernaculars. 

In dialogue with Atelier LUMA and BC Architects, the interdisciplinary team of designers, architects, ecologists, permaculturists and journalists posed an important question: Could a dormant construction site reclaimed by the collective become a landscape-based forum to discuss the accessibility of locally sourced materials in Slovenia?

The rich resources of the rewilded site enabled material experimentation with wild clay, invasive plants and gravel as construction materials - to create a tea pavilion that could generate discussion on the legislative and administrative restraints of building with local natural materials. The foundations for the pavilion were built during an international summer workshop for building with rammed earth (gravel and clay) and with cob (fibers and clay). All materials were sourced from Krater itself, showcasing the use of local materials in architecture and design. 

The final BIO27 project space hosted assemblies with both practitioners and decision-makers who experienced a performative tea ceremony with the herbal tea in wild clay vessels sourced from the urban site. Discussing the legal, social and ecological implications of designing with local materials, the aim was to generate a fresh start in making these forbidden practices part of the vernacular again.

Watch the discussion on Youtube.

Contributing authors: Gaja Mežnarić Osole, Rok Oblak, Andrej Koruza, Altan Jurca Avci, Primož Turnšek, Sebastjan Kovač, Gaja Pegan Nahtigal 

The 27th Biennial of Design, Ljubljana, BIO27 Super Vernaculars – Design for a Regenerative Future, curated by Jane Withers, explored a growing and ambitious movement that takes inspiration from vernacular architecture and design traditions to shape a more resilient and equitable future. More at:

Forbidden Vernaculars tea set 

The Forbidden Vernaculars tea set was designed with the aim to continue the discussion about the inaccessibility of locally obtained materials - in other settings, outside the location of the Krater. It consists of a cup made of wild clay, packaging made of mycelium and tea from the Japanese knotweed rhizomes, products made of materials and ingredients that cannot be produced for commercial purposes due to existing legislative frameworks, expensive certification procedures or patent barriers. Read more.