A sign of continuity and confidence in the future: this is the spirit with which the new building site will be launched by September 2022, transforming the Manifattura Tabacchi – the former Florentine cigar factory closed down in March 2001 after more than seventy years of activity – into an innovative city district dedicated to sustainable creativity. The Factory, the beating heart of tomorrow’s Manifattura, will become an avant-garde creative and productive centre, open to all and connected with the world: a destination capable of attracting the international community of professionals and creative people who want to work and live in Florence, amidst culture, fashion, art and craftsmanship. The gates that isolated the Factory will be opened and the walls removed to open the new complex to the city and the world, 24/7.
The rebirth of the Factory is part of an ambitious 250-million-euro redevelopment project that envisages the recovery of the historic industrial area made up of 16 buildings totalling some 110,000 square metres by 2026. Promoting what is set to be the largest urban regeneration project in Italy is the joint venture set up in 2016 by the real estate company of the Cassa Depositi e Prestiti Group and PW Real Estate Fund III LP, a fund managed by Aermont Capital. MTDM Manifattura Tabacchi Development Management Srl is the development and project management company that manages the entire process. One of the first to bet on the success of the real estate redevelopment operation was Polimoda: the prestigious school has in fact recently finalised the acquisition of building 6 of Manifattura Tabacchi, which from January 2020 will house its third headquarters in the city, with over 800 international students.
The architectural design of the Factory is by the Florentine studio Q-bic of Luca and Marco Baldini, assisted by landscape architect Antonio Perazzi; the execution was entrusted to the firm Setten Genesio, which specialises in the restoration of historic buildings. On the first floor of building 4 and the specular building 5 will host the new management and co-working spaces; the ground floor will be dedicated to commercial activities with shops, ateliers and restaurants, forming a new meeting and exchange centre inspired by the workshops that once flourished around the city’s central squares. This will be the new home of Manifattura Tabacchi’s makers, a stable community of creative people who enhance the art of making – from tailoring to ceramics, from hats to restoration – and innovate tradition.
In the heart of the Factory, building 11 will host NAM-Not a Museum, a place dedicated to production, research and experimentation in contemporary arts. The roof of the building will host the landmark of the entire Masterplan: the Officina Botanica, a roof garden open to the public, designed by landscape architect Antonio Perazzi, with over 100 trees and 1300 shrubs, perennials and herbs. The green project celebrates the ability of plants to improve the environment and proposes a scientific and cultural meeting of mutual understanding between plants and man. The Factory will be bordered by two pedestrian streets: Maker Street, which will be overlooked by laboratories and workshops displaying their products; the Boulevard, the new pedestrian and bicycle pathway that will cross Manifattura from north to south, connecting the Novoli university district with the Parco delle Cascine at the stop of the new T4 tramway.
The renovation of the Factory is part of Manifattura Tabacchi’s wider Masterplan, which envisages a complex functional mix of renovated original buildings and new construction. The ambitious plan was developed by world-famous designers: with an original and sensitive approach, Sanaa (2010 Pritzker Prize winner) in collaboration with Studio Mumbai elaborated the meticulous functional programme initially proposed by Concrete Architectural Associates. The development of the Masterplan was then entrusted to Studio Q-bic, Studio Antonio Perazzi and the award-winning Piuarch for the new building. The progress of the construction site and the commissioning of the temporary spaces marked the beginning of an ongoing dialogue with Florence’s Soprintendenza dei Beni Culturali and international experts in restoration and conservation, green design and environmental sustainability. For more information, visit www.manifatturatabacchi.com.
PHOTO CREDIT 1. Image by Jacopo Rosati Cover, 2, 3, 4, 5 Rendering 6, 7. Photos by Serena Gallorini 8, 9. Photos by Andrea Martiradonna