Black Box of Light

architect Dragomir Vlahović
project Black House III, Samobor, Croatia
written by Vera Grimmer


The art critic Pierre Restany called Yves Klein’s blue monochrome paintings “a moment of truth”. According to the architect Vlahović, the author of the black and blue monochrome houses (the Raubar house from 1986-1990 and an indigo house from 1995-1997, respectively), Klein’s opus has influenced his own considerations about architecture. Authenticity reveals itself as an ethical category in Vlahović’s latest black house located in Giznik near Samobor, an environment densely built with older, unsigned family houses but also with the most recent nouveau riche imitations.


The house is placed on the upper edge of the plot’s southern slope and in its abstract blackness does not dominate the landscape, but blends in with the background, becoming practically invisible. By the duality between its rationale and a certain detachment from it, the building clearly states its urbanity in more suburban than country surroundings. Its tent-like roof would have been the only reflection of regional architecture, had it not in fact been a tribute to Planić’s villa in the neighbourhood, as suggested by the author himself.