Places / Poland

VIENNAFAIR Diary: Lodz In Focus

Last Friday VIENNAFAIR The New Contemporary visited Lodz for a generous event hosted by the real estate investor and developer Warimpex. In short it was a night of art, social excitement, culinary amusement, and architectural discovery. The event was held in Lodz’s andel’s hotel, which is part of the Manufaktura Complex and one of the most inspiring and unexpected destinations in the Eastern Europe.

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Manufaktura is one of Poland’s largest renovation projects since the reconstruction of Warsaw’s Old Town in the 1950s. The history of the site is one of fortunes made and lost, of war, nationalization and destitution. The factory complex was designed by St. Petersburg University graduate Hillary Majewski and constructed in the latter part of the 19th century. The red-brick industrial style strongly reflects the flourishing epoch of Art Nouveau. Manufaktura, as all manufacturing industries in Lodz, enjoyed dynamic growth between 1870 and 1890 – the city grew then into the biggest textile production center in the Russian Empire (following the Third Partition in 1795, Lodz was considered part of Russian Empire).

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After the World Wars and during the Soviet occupation of Poland, Lodz’s textile production collapsed, ebbing the inhabitants’ jobs and source of income with it. The last textile worker left the Manufaktura plant in 1997, which by then was a rundown, half-derelict wreck.
But like the Phoenix, Lodz slowly but surely has been rising from the ashes.

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The textile factory-cum-hotel-shopping-mall-museum-cinema-and-restaurant is representative of Lodz’s spirit.

Sprinkled between the derelict factories are modern development projects. Lodz’s stark contrast between the old and the new is embodied by andel’s hotel, designed by architect Wojciech Poplawski (OP Architekten) who told The New Contemporary that the idea was to keep the industrial look and feel of the factory while turning it into a modern, luxury accommodation. The main office of the OP Architekten is located in Vienna.

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andel’s hotel

andel’s hotel

As VIENNAFAIR’s focus this year is on the East – Eastern Europe and Poland in particular – it was very important to visit Lodz again and to experience this dynamic city with its rich art avant-garde art tradition. The city prides itself with the one of the Poland’s oldest and most important modern and contemporary art institutions, Muzeum Sztuki, who’s director will take part in VIENNAFAIR Talks program.

VIENNA Duet co-curator Klara Czerniewska and Justyna Kowalska, co-owner of BWA Warsawa

VIENNA Duet co-curator Klara Czerniewska and Justyna Kowalska, co-owner of BWA Warsawa

During the evening we had the opportunity to present the special project VIENNA Duet, which will feature two exhibitions from Poland and Georgia during VIENNAFAIR The New Contemporary this year (to read more follow the link http://thenewcontemporary.com/2013/09/05/vienna-duet-poland/).

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We left the city with a strong hunger to experience more, but rumor has it we will be seeing much more of Lodz during next year’s edition of VIENNAFAIR…

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Many thanks to the Warimpex and the andel’s hotel.

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