coffee, art and flowers : Zagreb

September 22, 2011  in inspiring places, interior styling

This is one of my very favourite café-bar-galleries – Velvet –  on a quiet side street in the middle of the city of Zagreb. We stopped in on the way home from holiday last month for a light lunch after visiting my grandmother and before we hopped on the plane back to London. I was very kindly allowed to take a few pictures inside and wanted to share them here. The interior is the vision of the talented Croatian contemporary artist and florist Saša Šekoranja. I met Saša briefly a couple of years ago when I had visited the original smaller café and gallery with my mother and had bought a book of his drawings as a gift for my husband. He also owns a florists near by which is like an art gallery, exhibiting the most amazing floral creations combined with his artworks.

Velvet’s decor is filled with creativity, style and quirky details. I love the contrast in the centre of the room for example – a stack of ornate chandeliers boxed in plain, untreated wood resting on a big table, making an unexpected sculptural centrepiece.

The café-bar has now expanded next door with a darker, more vintage feel and a delightful terrace outside. Saša’s artworks are everywhere and are beautiful, expressive, decisive and I just love his mark making – it makes the interior so individual. The smaller café’s walls are covered in frames, some filled with drawings and some left empty, ready for new pictures that he draws when he visits. He uses a lot of aesthetic techniques that I love – simple line drawing, painted graphics, patina, texture. monochrome and subtle colour. It’s probably why I love it so much!

An exhibition of handmade ceramics displayed against a chalkboard wall with simple white chalk drawings mirror the geometric, monochrome paintings on other walls.

I love the use of classic black bentwood chairs, each one uniquely customised with a simple, expressive daub of red paint or the end of one chair leg dipped to match. The vintage tables too have been numbered with large simple stencils all adding to the graphic effect.

I love the details. Vintage books, tied in bundles as displays and placed individually on each table with the menu stuck inside.

Vintage metal containers used as planters and up-ended as side tables with an old mirror and bench are typical examples of the quirky but sophisticated decor. Our lunch was simple, fresh and delicious – fresh tomato and mozzarella and Caesar salads with homemade lemonade. It’s also a great spot for people-watching, with lots of stylish locals passing by or chatting over coffee or a glass of wine. I know I’ll be stopping in again next time I am in Zagreb.

By coincidence I had been flicking through August’s Croatian Elle Decoration magazine a few days before and a four page spread immediately stood out and grabbed my eye. I then realised it was Saša’s work. Simple, natural, expressive. Just lovely.

If you ever find yourself in Zagreb then I highly recommend stopping in at the florist gallery on Ilica (No. 82) then on to Velvet, just round the corner on Dezmanova Ulica. See the Velvet website for more details.

Food, family, friends, art and flowers in a fabulous setting – what better way to spend some time?


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  1. Zdravo says:

    I so want to go! Looks absolutely amazing.

  2. geisslein says:

    These pictures are sooo great, the style is so beautiful and exactly me, be shure i will visit this, if I have the chance to visit Zagreb one day! Thank you for this reference! Have a great start in a beautiful weekend. sunny greetings from germany, geisslein

  3. Jo says:

    Wow! I love it. I’ve never really thought of going to Zagreb but it will have to go on my city break destination list now if it has places like this. Thank you for sharing it ! Jo x

  4. Sanja says:

    Wow, I’ve been watching his window for the past month or so during my tram commute 🙂 Small world.

  5. Could spend all day looking at his work, Thank you for sharing Sania,
    Btw, I have your book and have finally found a very large lamp shade which Im hoping to customise with felt. I’lll share the photos with you when Im finished.

    all the best from Ireland


  6. Sophie says:

    Just a wonderfull series of pictures.These ceramics on the blackboard with the very refined chalk drawing.Are these the work of the artist owner of the café?Can we get this work through the gallery?
    Thanx for sharing.

  7. I love the cafe interior so much. The combination of the wall color, industrial furniture and a chalk board look alike wall decal makes the place really special.

  8. Pikoupane's says:

    De la sérénité rien qu’à regarder !!
    Trés beau…

  9. Anita says:

    Lovely! Waooo!! Zagreb, Saša Šekoranja, I love his work! I am so proud you talk about this, because I am from Croatia, and I just suddenly came to this blog! By the way I love your craft ideas! Best regards from Croatia!

  10. Jaylin Goble says:

    Thanks again for the blog post.Much thanks again.

  11. Elaine says:

    This is such a lovely review of one of my favorite places in Zagreb. Your photos are beautiful. I’m planning on eventually writing a bit about Velvet on my blog about living in Zagreb. Might I link to this post?

  12. Tod Joles says:

    I just want to mention I am just all new to blogs and certainly enjoyed your web site. Probably I’m planning to bookmark your blog post . You actually come with remarkable stories. Thanks a lot for sharing your webpage.

  13. Argyro Levendi says:

    I have been there,it is my favorite place when i am in Zagreb

  14. […] wall. This clever ideas is from Velvet, a cafe in Croatia designed by owner Saša Šekoranja that Sania Pell photographed recently for her […]

  15. […] Velvet: We love Velvet! It’s a wonderfully decorated café, with great vibe, lovely street terrace, and an excellent choice of coffee, tea, cakes, and fresh juices. Jutro: Hidden in a courtyard off Teslina Street, Jutro is an artistic and unique coffee shop with a bohemian vibe. The cafe is smoking-free (rare in Croatia), and besides a great selection of coffee and tea, cafe also features various crafts for sale. U Dvoristu: Another local hot spot when it comes to coffee, cafe bar U Dvoristu (literal translation In the courtyard) is hidden away in one of many Zagreb courtyards. This place is cozy and warm, making you feel at home, in your own living room. Here you can taste real Ethiopian coffee, but it’s also an occasional place to buy fresh, organic produce, as they organize a green market from time to time. Eliscaffe: Run by Croatia’s famed barman, Nik Orosi, Eliscaffe goes under the motto “no logo, just taste”. This is a great place for true coffee lovers, ones that can make that subtle difference between different roasts of quality coffee. You’ll find here coffee from all over the world. […]

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Sania Pell freelance interior stylist London.

Sania Pell is a freelance interior stylist, creative director and consultant based in London. She is a Contributing Stylist at Elle Decoration magazine, with whom she has worked for over 18 years, and is known for bringing a unique aspect to photographic shoots for national publications, leading international brands and retailers as well as style consultancy for top architecture practices and property development companies. She is the author of best-selling book The Homemade Home and The Homemade Home for Children. A trained, former textile designer, Sania is also involved in many multi-disciplinary creative projects.

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