Growing up in the highlands of Western Slovenia, away from all the distractions of city life, Manca (not unlike Heidi), expressed her creativity through the handcrafts present in the daily life of the farm.
From her parents and grandparents she learned everything from crochet and knitting to basket weaving and carpentry. During her primary school years she also attended the Lace School in Žiri, which is, with its 110 years of operation, one of the main centers of lacemaking in the region. Later, while studying product design and architecture in Ljubljana and Barcelona, she moved away from traditional crafts, directing her focus towards contemporary, computer driven methods of design. Besides architectural design she also created virtual environments for a number of architectural offices, private clients, and museums.
After years of successful collaborations in architecture, during which she won numerous awards, Manca grew increasingly interested in the connection between architectural space and lace, especially its structural, material, and functional possibilities. Her latest spatial lace installations have received international acclaim and been publicized worldwide. Now based in New York, Manca explores the intersection between traditional craft and contemporary design through her brand Mantzalin. She moves easily through several levels of scale in her fabrications, from jewelry pieces and lighting fixtures to large scale architectural installations. In addition to a number of functional installations in hospitality projects, museums, and galleries, her largest project to date is a three story interactive installation at the Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh called Gymlacium. Visitors can climb through, explore, and chill in a space filled with large interconnected lace elements, all made by Manca by hand.
Everything is curiously interconnected.