Industrial Heritage of St Petersburg: tourist guide of city’s lofts & plants

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Continuing previous post on refurbished industrial locations worth visiting in Moscow, we are sharing the very same type of locales in St Petersburg. St Petersburg’s lofts are quite unique: majority of them are situated in the historical centre in the amazing neighborhood.

In summer rooftop of centrally located Loft Project “Etazhii’ hosts music festival

Moreover, Northern Capital literally experienced a boom of of lofts. More than 20 creative clusters opened in less than 3 years, and the numbers continue to grow! New creative lofts in former industrial spaces are blossoming here. Read on to know what else makes St Petersburg’s reinvented industrial spaces so special.

  1. Art space “New Holland”

Take a walk along Moika embankment away from Nevsky. You will see the island with its tall red brick walls.

The arch of New Holland island that used to serve as a gateway for cargo ships with woods

It was created in 1719 by Peter the Great who meant to make a dry dock for Russian ships. During the following years the island belonged to the Russian Admiralty and was used as as a shipyard, warehouse for woods and a naval prison. During the Great Patriotic war (WWII) the buildings were badly damaged and were no longer used. For over 60 years they were not restored and simply stayed empty. Now “New Holland” became an immense historic art object in downtown St Petersburg.

Bird-eye view over the island with its famous historical structure: naval prison “a bottle”

The focal point on the island is a former naval prison, popularly called “a bottle” for its shape. The restoration of “the bottle” took almost 2 years and now it is home for creative businesses. The ground floor is occupied by cafes and restaurants, the first floor is Mecca for bookworms, kids and design-addicts, and finally the second floor hosts a beauty salon for females and barbershop for males. The renovated structure is truly worthy of a visit: your Instagram followers will like original loft style brickwork as well as Art Deco style elevators.

Address: Admiralteysky canal embankment, Metro Admiralteiskaya

  1. Loft Project ETAGI

One of the pioneers of its kind, the “ETAGI” project hasn’t lost its popularity among local hipsters for over 10 years. It is conveniently located on 15 min walk from Moscow railway station. The structures on Ligovsky avenue, 74 used to belong to a big bakery. Now it brings together designer clothing stores, crafts workshops, exhibition spaces, cafeterias, bars and even a hostel. It hosts exhibitions, lectures, film festivals, flea markets & garage sales as well as roof concerts. The viewpoint on the roof and the art terrace of the Green Room coffee shop have become ETAGI’s trump card.

The entrance to the roof is free of charge every day from 9 to 11 am.

Address: Ligovsky Avenue, 74 Metro Ligovsky Prospect

  1. Creative space “Tkachi”

It is another project that embraced the loft design philosophy, though its residents focus mainly on business development rather than art. This structure was developed in the mid-nineteenth century as a classic English factory. The ground floor hosts shops and showrooms, on the upper floors are offices and workshops, and finally on the top of the building you will find art space and cafés. It regularly hosts plays, performances, lectures and exhibitions.

Noteworthy that in 2013 the  “Tkachi” center was awarded as the most improved monument of history and culture in the city.

Address: Obvodny Canal embankment, 60, Metro Obvodny Kanal

  1. Art space “Fligel'”

This centrally located creative space is not a classy loft, as there was never a factory here and the district is far from being industrial. Its main facility is an exhibition hall and photo school “FotoDepartament”, where lovers of vintage may find analog photo equipment with dark room, and shop for some vintage vinyl. It also features shops with apparel by Russian designers and American classic street fashion brands.

There is some entertainment for foodies as well.  Sip a cup of strong coffee in Coffee_miru, taste some barbecue in Do Immigration bar and experience Russian wines at the “Garagist” wine bar. You will be surprised how much space this courtyard has, as it even managed to fit in a hostel “Cultura”. Fligel’s courtyard also becomes a venue for many educational activities and food festivals in summer.

Address: Vosstaniya str., 24 Metro Chernyshevskaya

  1. Creative cluster ArtMuza

It is one of the largest art centers in St. Petersburg. This former factory of musical instruments “Muzdetal” was turned into a museum of modern art in 2013. ArtMuza is an exquisite merging of industrial loft and art museum. All seven gallery’s halls will both please and surprise even the most sophisticated visitor by its diverse exhibits.

Apart from exhibitions the center regularly holds workshops and lectures on art, poetry and music. You will undoubtedly love an immense 1500 m2 rooftop lounge  “SolntseSprava” which offers incredible view on the roofs of Vasilievsky island. Admission to ArtMuza is free of charge.

Address: 13 Liniya, Vasilevsky Island 70-72, Metro Vasileostrovskaya

  1. Golitsyn loft

This is another example of downtown creative space, without industrial heritage behind. “Golitsyn Loft” occupies five buildings and a courtyard on Fontanka. The pearl of this creative space is an ancient 18th century mansion, which used to belong to the Minister of Peoples Education, Alexander Golitsyn. Restaurants and bars dominate the courtyard. Don’t miss the chance to try local delicatessen, famous shaverma – St. Petersburg kebab.  Almost every bar here serves it.  Locals particularly love the anti-cafe “Cyberborg”, which operates here as well. 

Here classic alabaster moldings coexist with modest mid-century arm chairs, fancy lanterns illuminate wall paintings, and alarm clocks are counting the minutes of your stay. That is because you will not be paying for your coffee and cookies. Only the amount of time spent here matters at the end.

Address: Fontanka embankment, 20, Metro Gostiny Dvor

  1. Creative space “Lumiere Hall”

The district where this cluster settled used to be the edge of the city.  Therefore it became part of an industrial ring of St Petersburg. “Lumiere Hall” occupies one of the 19th century gas holders which makes it authentic industrial venue. This project focuses on modern and interactive technologies and hosts multimedia exhibitions showing the works of great artists “live”, accompanied my music and light.

Innovative view on art is represented at “Canvas Live” exhibition

It also hosts the recently opened Planetarium #1, the largest planetarium in the world (the one we wrote about some time ago). If you prefer classic forms of art you are welcome to visit the art gallery on the first floor.

Address: Obvodny Canal Embankment, 74A Metro Frunzenskaya

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