Sgraffito mandala in Clayworks clay plasters

Traditional skills meet contemporary art

Slovakian villa: Walls by Eliska Turanska

Slovakian architect Eliska Turanska, in collaboration with Clayworks, has completed all of the walls of a luxury private villa in Presov with unfired clay plasters and has crafted a breath-taking feature wall using the naturally pigmented soft colours of this earthen finish.

The private villa has been designed on vastu shastra principles. Vastu shastra is a traditional hindu system of architecture which literally translates to ‘science of architecture’, where designs are intended to integrate architecture with nature. It is a set of ideas and concepts that are models for the organisation of space and form within a building and it considers a house to have a living soul.

Vastru shastra is about creating a visceral emotional connection to our place. Eliska, who recently returned home from 10 years working in Greece, explained why she was commissioned: ‘The client, a family with two children, contacted me because they heard about me as a clay plaster specialist and because my work has an artistic and contemporary feeling. ‘Creating a clay plaster wall means craft, patience, skill and all the creative disciplines: art, sculpture, craft and architecture. It means something really, really contemporary and really traditional’ she added.


The Mandala

The family wanted a feature wall at the entrance next to the staircase and their brief was a design that respected this spiritual context. Eliska experimented with a number of ideas before settling on the mandala as a suitable shape. ‘The most important value in the life of my clients is their family’, explained Eliska and they wanted their slogan in latin expressing this value.


Sgraffito is a technique produced by applying layers of unfired clay plasters pigmented in contrasting colours, to a wall surface and then scratching it so as to reveal parts of the underlying layer. Eliska said that she was unable to resist the temptation of using the under layer of the basic clay plaster ‘as it has such a beautiful dark brown colour’. And ‘so I used sgraffito – the technique where the dark plaster appears in the scratched lines’. This way, the design is full of fine details and reminds me of lace’, she added.

See more pictures in our gallery.