Petra Zakrajšek

Founder, CEO and leading architect at GAO architects, Slovenia

Petra Zakrajšek

Founder, CEO and leading architect at GAO architects, Slovenia


Among the most prominent awards are certainly the London International Property Awards, received in 2018/2019 and 2020/2021, both in the category of Best Residential Interior Private Residence Slovenia. London certainly has a special place in the more than twenty-year-old history of the office due to the long lasting friendship with London based developer Mike Jenkins and the collaboration with architectural firm Squire & Partners from London. GAO architects were also recognized at the New York’s Luxury Lifestyle Awards, where the “Pine Tree Villa” project received the title “Best Luxury Residential Interior Design award in 2021, Slovenia”, and on the domestic design sphere with the award for interior of the year (2021) for the apartment named “Spatial reflections”.

Petra sees interior design as a river of life. She adores people and, upon meeting with them, sets their different lifestyles and perceptions of space as well as aesthetics as her biggest inspiration. The space itself leads her as she always approaches design with a certain intuition. She is interested in everything – the paths, views, light, functions and that intangible balance in a space that defines all emotions. These feelings settled in her already during her stay in Japan and mark the Asian part of her, which is also constantly present in the studio and its design stories. After the first feelings and the given concept of the story of each individual interior, the team steps in shifting all of their common ideas into the right context and functionality. The style they add and hone at the end of the process is always a cherry on top of the glamorous volumes and the result of a story that changes an apartment to a home or a bar to a pleasant place for socializing. Petra is extremely proud of her team as all of the members breathe the same dynamics, lifestyles, functionalities and artistic approaches to interior design. The merging of generations, youth and experience matures and forms in such a way that the whole team really enjoys working for GAO. Petra believes that the leading architect must be a creator with an integrated approach showing the extent of understanding of society and the changes in the environment and space. Leading designers need to use all of this as inspiration for their work and only then they are able to grow in the creativity and develop as creators. Her greatest inspiration has always been and will be art in all its forms and diversity – from dancing and painting to sculpture and all kinds of graphic and industrial designs. When this spills over into her work, something truly unique is always born.

Awards of the speaker:
Archello’s Best Projects of 2021
Project: Splendour in the city

Winner 2021
Best Luxury Residential Interior Design, Slovenia
Projekt: Pine Tree Villa

Award Winner 2020-2021
Residential Interior Private Residence, Slovenia
Project: Pine tree villa
★★★★★ Five Star Winner 2020-2021
Best Residential Interior Private Residence, Slovenia

Award Winner 2018-2019
Interior Design Private Residence, Slovenia
★★★★★ Five Star Winner 2018-2019
Best Interior Design, Private Residence, Slovenia

Big See Interior Design Award Winner 2022 / Big See Interior Design Award Winner 2020
Projects: Apartment in Izlake / Bar London22, Asian restaurant Han
Categories: Residential / Hospitality

Interior of the year – Private interior
Project: Spatial reflections

The internationally acclaimed interior design studio GAO architects was founded in Ljubljana in 1999 by Petra Zakrajšek, who continues to serve as its CEO and leading architect. One of our defining features is our openness to different ways of life and perceptions of the function and aesthetics of spaces. Each project offers us unique challenges that—as we combine the clients’ wishes with our professional expertise—always paves the way for the creation of light, furniture, colours, textures, materials and the indispensable visual image of the spaces. The implementation of each project is based on sincerity, trust and a deepened relationship with the client. Our mission is to create a unique story about a space, breathe new character into it, and find a connecting thread that transforms it into something grander—an apartment into a warm shelter, a business space into a company’s individual identity or a ballroom into one’s second home.