Moscow’s lofts and ex-factories: which ones are worth of you precious time?

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Expansive reinvention of industrial structures in USA after the great depression got repeated in Russian big cities in the early 21st century.  Former industrial buildings and old warehouses turned into co-working offices, exhibition spaces, loft restaurants and hotels, time cafes and creative spaces.

Design Center ARTPLAY was among the pioneering lofts in Moscow and it still one of the most visited ones

The wave of reinvented factories and plants has flooded both Moscow and St. Petersburg, turning deserted structures of once lavish and then bankrupt enterprises into the heart of social and cultural life. Some of these re-born spaces have great value for tourists and travelers, being witnesses of economic rise & falls as well as a birth place of contemporary Russian pop culture. Here we put the most curious ones that are definitely worth being included in your cultural Russian trip.

Former colossus of Russian confectionary production “Krasny Oktyabr” became Moscow’s Mecca for trendy youngsters and start-ups

Krasny Oktyabr on Bersenevskay Quay used to be the largest confectionery factory in the USSR, now became a multi functional cultural space in downtown Moscow. The factory’s old red brick building was a stones throw away from Kremlin.  The challenge was on to transform this old factory into a creative  art venue that would become a new cultural landmark of Moscow. In record time they did it. Now Krasny Oktyabr became home for Strelka Institute for Media, Architecture and Design; The Lumiere Brothers Gallery, co-working space for designers and artists, anti-cinema “Kino House”, exhibition space Fine Art Club Red October, legendary night club Icon and many other galleries, studios, restaurants and cafés.

One the most interesting residents of this former factory is the Center of non-contemporary art “Na Strelke”.

“Na Strelke” center’s allusive exhibition space brings together modern day boheme and art amateurs

This venue merged the art space and vintage markets where you can buy things made during the 19th and 20th centuries. It occupies more than 1,000 m2. The project’s developers managed to create a perfect venue for design and art aficionados cooperation. Despite that the name specifically states non-contemporary, the center hosts quite up to date sharp exhibitions and events. One of the exhibition halls alludes to the works of Russian avant-garde artists, such as Kandinsky and Petrov-Vodkin. The other exhibition space eye pleasing antique furnishings, red brick walls with  the spirit of good old England of the 19th century.

Address: Bersenevskaya nab., d. 8 Metro Kropotkinskaya

Design Factory “Flacon”

Flacon occupies an immense once-industrial site previously owned by French businessman Frederic Dutta.  From the 19th century till the revolution, the factory produced bottles for fine perfumes.  During the Soviet period the plant was redesigned for crystal production. Nowadays the industrial cluster hosts artistic, cultural and educational projects without national or thematic boundaries. The motto of “Flacon” is “Do whatever you want!” and it’s been operating like this for almost a decade.  It was one of the first creative clusters in Moscow and it became a favorite among local Boheme and hipsters instantly. It houses more than 200 designer showrooms, publishing houses, craft shops, restaurants, art cafés, as well as concert venues for performances and diverse events.

Address: Bolshaya Novodmitrovskaya str., 36/4 Metro Dmitrovskaya

Design Center ARTPLAY

Opened in 2008, it was Russia’s first creative cluster. Today ARTPLAY became a well-established brand. It is located on the land of gauge factory, that operated in the vicinity for more than a century. It’s a spacious facility with large windows that was turned into studios and offices. Mainly the companies that occupy the cluster work in design, architecture and art. The highlight of this art center is the rooftop café, where you can watch the passing trains. The rooftop also is a concert venue that hosts multiple music festivals during summer. Among ARTPLAY’s events include exhibitions, parties, educational programs, lectures and seminars.

Address: Nizhnyaya Syromyatnicheskaya, d. 10, Metro Kurskaya, Chkalovskaya

Center of modern art “Vinzavod”

The history of this former Moscow winery spans more than two hundred years, during which the factory used to be both brewery and distillery. Now this industrial cluster is one of the largest exhibition venues of Moscow.

The idea of turning this abandoned winery into an art venue was born thanks to the graffitis on its walls. An immense space with seven old industrial pavilions was perfect for art galleries. Originally the halls were used only for art, architecture, design and other exhibitions.

Soon this large facility attracted companies and businesses with creative backgrounds as well as. Now it became a popular social getaway for youngsters, designers, architects, event managers, photographers and everybody who craves for creativity, socialization, personal and professional development. You will love its rebellious spirit, its sense of new and youth in the air.

Address: 4-Y Syromyatnicheskiy Pereulok, 1/8 bld 6, Metro Metro Kurskaya, Chkalovskaya

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