Cloaked in a sheath of matt black on the outside, and boasting a wealth of wrought iron and exposed brickwork within, the expensively restored former cavalry stable and textile factory that is the Lauba House(Kuća Lauba), 4km west of the centre, is Zagreb’s leading private art collection – and an increasingly influential player on the contemporary arts scene. It’s the brainchild of Tomislav Kličko (the name “lauba” is local dialect in Kličko’s home village for a circle of tree branches), who systematically bought up the works of Croatia’s leading contemporary artists at a time when few other individuals and institutions were making acquisitions. Unsurprisingly, Kličko ended up with the cream. Occupying centre stage in a regularly rotated collection are the figurative paintings of Lovro Artuković, light installations by Ivana Franke and the glitzy but disturbing sculptures and photographs of Kristian Kožul.
Kličko’s company Filip Trade occupies the same building – and the Lauba House’s idiosyncratic opening hours are partly based on the idea that the building is open for business during office hours, and open for art and leisure in the evening. The Lauba House’s café-bistro (run by Lari i Penati) provides ample reason to stick around.