A department store that has redeemed and neutralised itself

The Renovated Bazar in Novi Sad: Autonomy of Architecture within the Confines of the Socialist and Capitalist Ideologies.

Stoteks 2016; photo: Andrej Strehovec

The Yugoslav Stoteks department store (also known as the Novi Sad Bazar), designed by Milan Mihelič in 1972 and currently known as “Zara” after the brand occupying part of the building, has redeemed itself through several processes.

It has redeemed itself in the sense of a metamorphosis of contradictory confrontations, or in the sense of theoretician Malraux and his explanation of the intellectualisation of the attitude towards art, Malraux being one of the conceptual references of the regime-controlled creative practice in Yugoslavia’s republics and regions.

An abstract ideological redemption would mean a realisation of the potential of ideological architecture. This potential was brought to life through the communist-socialist regime and coincided with its ideology through the architecture of functionalism. This can be seen in the lucid aesthetics of constructivist engineering and the accomplished technical ornamentation of details. In terms of urban planning, the location is efficient. With its inventively expanding, self-reproducing façade made of stone, the “ship” definitely looks structuralist, as a progressive counterweight to the later tendencies of postmodernism.

Photo: Janez Kališnik (Milan Mihelič archive)

The complete article is published in Summer 2016 issue of Piranesi No. 38/Vol. 24.

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