This weekend (1st-2nd December) a highly anticipated opening of “Zodiak” in Wiech Passage. We will see a big “Cosmos” mosaic and the “Futurama Warszawa” exhibition curated by Jakub Szczęsny. It will be the Warsaw centre of architecture, a place where we will talk about new buildings, public space, and the quality of life in Warsaw. A host of the building will be the City of Warsaw, and the Warsaw Branch of the Association of Polish Architects will be responsible for the programme. Representatives of the Economic Development Department will meet here with future investors and entrepreneurs.
The “Zodiak” Pavilion – an element of the urban run of the Eastern Wall – was demolished and reconstructed. The new “Zodiak” is designed by the Kalata Architects studio which won a tender organised by the city. It refers to the pavilion of the “Zodiak” gastronomical complex from 1968 designed by Jan Bogusławski and Bohdan Gniewiewski.
It is only a part of the original building (in the bar section there is currently Starbucks, KFC and Pizza Hut) which in the 60s was one of the biggest gastronomical complexes in Warsaw. There used to be a cafe with a capacity of 300 persons and a huge self-service bar, with 8,000 visitors a day, also a flower shop, liquor and confectionery shop and the directorate of the Warsaw fast service bars.
The pavilion was decorated with some exquisite neons, for example, the famous “Zodiak” neon at the front of the building was featured at numerous postcards. The walls of a terrace were decorated with Maria Leszczyńska’s mosaics.
MARLENA HAPPACH – a Chief Architect for Warsaw, the Director of Architecture and Spatial Planning in Warsaw:
I watched the cities with their own architecture pavilions like Amsterdam, and I envied them. Zodiak seems to be a perfect solution. This is a pavilion in a new form. The building kept its style. However, it got the first floor and is supposed to have a new function. The architects, Eliza and Szymon Kalata, kept the spirit of the architecture and place: raw concrete, large glazing, terrazzo floors. We recreated a neon designed by Jan Bogusławski, a former creator of Zodiak.
What are our plans? It will be a place for lectures, workshops, walks, discussions, and exhibitions. We want to create this place in cooperation with architects, architecture enthusiasts, and residents. The main partner is SARP. However, anyone with some ideas for activity set in urban space is more than welcome. We will inaugurate the opening of “Zodiak” with the “Futurama Warszawa” exhibition.
MAGDALENA ŁAPIŃSKA-ROZENBAUM – an author of a mosaic “Cosmos” inside the Warsaw Architecture Pavilion “Zodiak“:
From the very beginning, I wanted this project to be a continuation of the Warsaw mosaic tradition. Before getting down to work, I dug the archives of such distinguished artists as Hanna and Gabriel Rechowicz or Wojciech Fangor.
For “Cosmos” I used only recycled materials. I managed to salvage a part of glass elements from the original mosaic by Maria Leszczyńska from the 60s (taken from the Zodiak cafe’s terrace). The rest is made of damaged plates from the Kristoff factory in Wałbrzych. Recycling of materials was very popular among the artists decorating buildings in the 60s.
text: Agnieszka Kowalska
photos: Filip Marek Klimaszewski and Max Zieliński (a mosaik“Cosmos”)