Discovering Manifattura Tabacchi
An incredible multi-purpose urban center to live 24 hours a day with coworking, good food, music and more
*article taken from Firenze made in Tuscany n.54, issued before the coronavirus emergency
To the north of the city centre, close to the Cascine Park, the imposing Manifattura Tabacchi complex is the symbol of a new chapter for Florence, a chapter where modernity goes hand in hand with a contemporary vision which, finally, breaks away from the idea of Renaissance beauty, to which the city is, and will always be, inextricably linked, to take its place in an environment of unparalleled openness and connection.
A centre outside the city centre on the site of the complex that formerly housed Manifattura Tabacchi, a tobacco factory planned by the State Monopoly, but whose elegant, modern architectural lines bear the mark of Pier Luigi Nervi, owner of the construction company which built it between 1933 and 1940. The impressive complex still comprises sixteen buildings in rationalist style, elegantly arranged over a 100,000 square metre area to create a variety of piazzas, streets and passages.
A delightfully sociable place, where young and old, children, Florentines or not, can experience this change for the better 24/7 (or almost). Manifattura Tabacchi is the place to go to eat and drink well (the bistro and a craft beer tasting area are located in an industrial design setting more than the equal of other capitals of style), listen to good music - summer evenings of electronic music outdoors are a must - or simply to explore.
It would be truly difficult to explain the importance of Manifattura Tabacchi for the city which is its home without considering its key concepts of interaction, sociability, sustainability and growth. It is the first Florentine square of the New Millennium, where co-working spaces meet workshops for a new generation of artists, artisans and makers. But who are the main actors in this spectacle of modernity so far?
The recently opened building B6, overlooking Piazza dell’Orologio, houses Polimoda’s third campus with around 800 students from all over the world, as well as the new headquarters of DogHead Animation, Italy’s leading 2D animation studio. Already well known is the community of creatives and contemporary artisans working in the ateliers and workshops located in building B9.
These include absolutely must-visit Florentine enterprises such as Baba Ceramics, Canificio, Duccio Maria Gambi, Mani del Sud, Mòno, SuperDuper Hats, and Birrificio Valdarno Superiore, along with food and drink at Bulli & Balene and Soul Kitchen, Todo Modo bookshop’s new space, Libri E-Lettrici, and Loudlift, Italy’s first token-operated recording booth, located in one of the old goods lifts.
It doesn’t end there, however. Scheduled to open during 2021, the Factory buildings, the very heart of Manifattura, have been designed to accommodate concept stores, ateliers, workshops and exhibition venues - a place where fashion, art and craftsmanship, lifestyle and food will create a one of a kind destination.
By 2023, Manifattura will house 28,000 sq.m. devoted to training, offices and co-working spaces, 30,000 sq.m. of residences. 24,500 sq.m. of hospitality activities and co-living, and 15,300 sq.m. of ateliers and workshops. Manifattura Tabacchi also means ecology. It seems paradoxical, but a former tobacco factory hosts Fabbrica dell’Aria, (Air Factory), the first prototype of an innovative solution which reduces indoor pollution, created specifically for Manifattura Tabacchi and conceived by neurobiologist Stefano Mancuso and PNAT, a collective of designers, architects and biologists.
This device uses and enhances the capacity of plants to absorb and degrade atmospheric pollutants. It is a genuine botanical filtration unit with its own peculiarities and very different from traditional types of filtration. One more reason to explore this new Florentine renaissance. From the wonderful world of modernity, that’s all for now.