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The Exhibition Design Post Industry

Under Carol Factory name (the place belongs to Hesper S.A.), Zeppelin Association initiated a methology for a process of transformation of a former industrial site in Bucharest, a place for creative industries and urban culture.

The project addresses the topic of transformation of industrial areas and iconic industrial architecture by proposing some examples for reuse of this factory site thus answering the needs of development of cultural and educational activities and spaces in the southern part of Bucharest.

With the series of events organized in 2015 (from May to October) attention is drawn on the potential of the area to become an urban pole for the city.

Moreover it adds to the intentions of the local authorities to revitalize the Carol Park.

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Gate / Photo credits: Andrei Margulescu
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The Ramp / Photo credits: Andrei Margulescu

Under Carol Factory name (the place belongs to Hesper S.A.), Zeppelin Association initiated a methology for a process of transformation of a former industrial site in Bucharest, a place for creative industries and urban culture. The project addresses the topic of transformation of industrial areas and iconic industrial architecture by proposing some examples for reuse of this factory site thus answering the needs of development of cultural and educational activities and spaces in the southern part of Bucharest. With the series of events organized in 2015 (from May to October) attention is drawn on the potential of the area to become an urban pole for the city.

Moreover it adds to the intentions of the local authorities to revitalize the Carol Park.

This exhibition is the first step of the program in this year, curated in partnership with USF Bergen Art Center and together with Hesper S.A. The exhibition consists of a path with art installations and design in the outdoor spaces of the factory. This route comprises five works, three of which are signed by Norwegian artists Marit Haugen, Erlend Blakstad Haffner, Finn Eirik Modahl & Arne Revheim and the other two by Constantin Goagea & Meta van Drunen.

The urban activation process may have social, economic and cultural impact on the local community. It’s a pilot project in the south side of Bucharest which currently lacks cultural activities and venues. It may open its doors for the neighbourhood that will mean for many a ‘neighbour’ a first acquaintance with industrial heritage and art. Socially and economically it will mean that an important signal will be given that this neighbourhood is being invested in, and not only by tearing down old and develop new buildings, but by maintaining what is good and has historic value.

The project supports the diversity and identity of the creative communities by proposing a comprehensive range of activities in unconventional and emblematic industrial spaces. Today the recovery of such spaces by artistic and cultural communities is an increasingly strong trend.

Each project preparation is an adventure. This time we had one as well, actually we are still in progress with it. A project starts with the tension of the days when we keep writing ideas, looking for partners and thinking of what we would like to do and what is going to happen after that. Sometimes this fervour surprises us, especially when we obtain funding and we read again what we have written a year ago. We ask ourselves what was in our minds, what we thought of that evening when completing the application. And this happens as usual a year or even more after the night we submitted the project. Most of the times, the initial enthusiasm has to be rediscovered and consistently applied like a magic recipe for everlasting youth.

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Jump! / Photo credits: Andrei Margulescu

Let’s start with the name. We have called the series of interventions that you can see here Carol Factory because we needed a title for the application. Afterwards, the name of the project was somehow taken by the place as well. The appellation Carol Factory didn’t exist before us and popped up from nowhere as one may say. It is a combination between the specific of the buildings – some industrial halls with a particular shape – and the name of the park nearby. This is the place of Hesper Factory, former Steaua Roșie and former Wolf. As none of these names belongs to us, only calling well defined industrial activities, we could not use them for our curatorial project, so we simply found something else.

The name Carol Factory is the name of the project we have submited to EEA Grants and we won the financing under this name.

In fact, our project is a place making methodology aiming at a type of revival and transformation process based on events and people’s energy. Place making means branding, marketing, PR, communication, invention through architecture, design and art, all these practices different from the classical architectural restauration made on the order of an investor. The way we have formulated this methodology seemed to have led to a real impact. Before being entirely renovated, before undergoing a restauration process, the empty halls form Hesper S.A. area were temporary occupied this summer by events and by an interested audience.

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Prisms / Photo credits: Andrei Margulescu
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Tusenben / Photo credits: Andrei Margulescu

Now, through the post-industrial garden we intended to open an appealing place for both, the ones presently coming for events and the ones that are going to start here permanent activities like coffee shops, stores or design studios. As one good deed attracts another one, the owners of Hesper S.A. factory have also invested in the quality of the outdoor space and now the entrance looks really good.

The limit has been probably the most tempting game and popular term discussed by the works you may see here. This exhibition talks about the place limits, both, physical – owed to the fence that separates the buildings from the park – and symbolic – referring to what this place could bring to the city in terms of identity, prestige and culture. For example, the ramp rising over the park makes it possible to explore a special area looking like a balcony to the trees. The coloured prisms bring the colours from the park in front of the red brick buildings. The centipede bank, seemingly fallen from the park trees, creates as well a dynamic public space. The springboard for many persons shows the power of a creative community to activate a place. Finally, the gate ending the circuit in the Galvanizing Hall proposes by itself a space where one is constantly concomitantly in interior and exterior.
You are being granted the pleasure to explore, to be part of the project and in the meantime its critics, observers, the ones who will continue to participate and bring good ideas, or simply the energy that we need for a further leap.