Revisiting Warsaw’s remarkable postwar monuments

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Warsaw’s postwar architecture is fascinating. Its creators were given a near-completely destroyed city and were given a chance to try something new, something important. Such was the birth of massive embodiments of socio-realist doctrine, like the Hotel MDM or the Palace of Culture and Science, that were injected with everything from prewar modernism to Corbusier’s ideas about housing estates.

Poland has only recently started to discuss and preserve the values of socio-modernist architecture, and it is too late to save many of the original iconic buildings of the era. But a new generation of contemporary artists and designers have begun to commemorate this heritage, like Magdalena Estera Lapinska, whose A Dream of Warsaw ceramics collection (pictured below, bottom right) is composed of six ceramic buildings from Communist times.

2.	Built as a part of the Eastern Wall and nicknamed the “General’s Cap,” PKO Rotunda (top) was designed by Jerzy Jakubowicz and completed in 1966. Large parts of the building were destroyed in 1979 in a gas fire. Warszawa Centralna (bottom left) is Warsaw’s primary railway station.

“I wanted to make the citizens of Warsaw reflect on the fact that the city’s symbols could disappear and that maybe we should put up a fight about it,” said Lapinska. The project, which began in 2009, has by now an almost cult status, collected by lovers of Warsaw and tourists alike.

First photo spread: Warszawa-Powisle PKP Station (1962, left) and Warszawa-Ochota PKP Station (1963, right). Second spread, clockwise from top: PKO Rotunda (1966), A Dream of Warsaw miniature, Warszawa Centralna.

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The preceding is excerpted from Warszawa Warsaw, an online and print publication by Autor Rooms, a new boutique hospitality concept founded by the renowned Mamastudio. With just four rooms—each unique and chockablock with the artisanal and eclectic handiwork of Polish artists, architects, designers, curators, and craftsmen—Autor Rooms is the first hospitality concept in Poland built entirely from local products in collaboration with local designers and producers, as well as a key to the creativity that is today’s Warsaw. 

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Wednesday, June 27th, 2018