|Floor area||32000 m²|
|Program||Office, Restaurants, Retail, Culutural functions|
The former Vodka Monopoly Plant is a grand architectural premise, consisting of seven buildings erected according to a design by Franciszek Chełmiński. The complex is highly impressive, even in today’s altered urban landscape, and in the minds of the locals the main building functions as an exceptional flagship for the city. It is one of the three largest post-factory structures in Łódź which testify to the city’s past wealth and development. The creation of the Monopolis has presented an opportunity to restore the former grandeur of this site. Transforming industrial buildings for the various functions envisaged in the programme assumptions is intended first and foremost to enliven the now abandoned buildings, so that everyone can make use of the remaining cultural heritage. Unlike many similar objects where only the shell of the building remained, here most of the supporting structure has been included and subjected to renovation. The main project assumption consisted of retaining as much as possible of the remaining appearance of the building and the atmosphere reigning here. The spirit of the place is formed not only from its rich architectural details and splendid artisanship of a degree no longer to be found, but also, and perhaps especially, what remains as signs of passing history: industrial machinery, photographs and other reminders of the people who worked here, and elements of the arrangement which change with each passing decade. As designers, we assume along with the investor that what is most important in the modernisation process is bring out the prevailing genius loci and transport it through time to the revitalised premises.
The complex will be complemented by the historical factory interior with restaurants, cafés, a wine bar, boutiques, an art gallery, artists’ studios, a museum of vodka production and a theatre, as well as such leisure venues as a pool, spa and gym. A range of services have been designed at Monopolis to meet the needs of the people working here,including a kindergarten, laundrette, hairdresser and concierge. The complex has a two-storey underground garage with over 420 parking spaces and special spaces for bicycles. The essential intention is an open public space with meeting places, the opportunity to rest and relax, aimed at integrating the previously closed complex with the rest of the city.
The vision of the project was inspired by the history of the Łódź vodka factories, and the limitations resulting from the complicated layout of the plot of land became a factor which ultimately shaped the bodies of the new buildings and the space between them. The priority of the conceptual assumption was for the form of the new buildings to serve as a background for the historical monuments, while at the same time forming a distinctive architectural complex along with them. The new buildings were to mingle between and above the historic ones like a delicate mist, complementing the existing narrow alleyways winding through the terrain, or creating little urban squares at their ends. Top class historic monuments determine the expectations with regard to the quality of the new construction. The shape of the building, each line forming its body, thus require exceptionally thorough work to create a form satisfying those assumptions. The innovativeness and splendour of the early 20th century monuments is juxtaposed with state of the art modern technologies and approach in the design of architecture.