Author: Barbara Palladino
Translation by Michelle Nebiolo
Manifattura Tabacchi is a rationalist industrial complex inaugurated in 1940, opposite the Parco delle Cascine (Cascine Park) in Florence. Once home to the Italian State Tobacco Monopoly, its modern and dynamic structures were built in reinforced concrete, iron and glass, creating an austere visual impact that ties in with its functionality. Designed by Luigi Nervi, who also owned the company that built it between 1933 and 1940, the complex includes sixteen buildings on a surface of 100,000 square meters, taking up 410,000 cubic meters in a maze of streets, squares and passageways.
The original layout was divided into three areas: tobacco warehouses to the west; manufacturing buildings in the middle, extending on the east-west axis to form a “U” with the spaces dedicated to general services; and, finally, the great curved building where the management offices, female workers’ area and director’s apartment were located. The grand entrance was symmetrically placed at the center of this third part of the complex.
Manifattura Tabacchi was acquired by the Ente Tabacchi Italiani in 1999, and shut down operations in 2001. Today, it is the new headquarters of Polimoda and offers various spaces for artistic performances, exhibitions and cultural initiatives. From 1 to 28 June, it will host “La meraviglia” (“The wonder”), the exhibition tied to the second edition of its Artistic Residency.
In a process of complete redevelopment, Manifatture Tabacchi aims to become a new model of urban hub and a center for contemporary culture: a place for exchange that is integrated with its neighborhood and the city as a whole, in dialog with the worlds of art, culture, architecture and the environment. In 2021, the “Factory” is scheduled to open: a group of four buildings that will turn into concept stores, ateliers, workshops and other spaces for fashion, lifestyle, contemporary craftsmanship and food – all in all, making up a hub ready to welcome and bring together creative professionals from the whole world. The redevelopment plan extends to 2023, by when Manifattura Tabacchi will include 15,300 square meters of ateliers and workshops, 30,000 of artist residences, 24,500 of accommodation and co-living spaces and 28,000 dedicated to training, offices and co-working infrastructures.
Via delle Cascine, 33/35
Photos: press office