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Have you ever been to a Carol Factory event or heard of the project thus far? Are you familiar with the following industrial buildings: ex Wolf complex, ex Steaua Roșie and currently Hespre S.A.?

Hesper S.A.. is a factory in the southern part of the central area og Bucharest, formerly known as Wolf, then Steaua Roșie (Red Star) Factory. For over two years now, Zeppelin works, in partnership with Hesper, to a model of rehabilitation for these spectacular buildings built in 1887: two years of research right on the site, in the Netherlands, Norway, Germany and Russia about how such a place can be transformed, meetings and discussions, business plans, strategies and not as the least important, action.

But what does the Carol Halls projects aims to be? Our project means a step by step transformation methodology in spaces for creative industries and events, one that would preserve the identity of industrial architecture and the whole historical patina of the place. The project is a cultural initiative and gave a new name to the place, without claiming itself from the previous ones, still being aware and cherishing the place’s history.

What we proposed is to open a meaningful place for the South-Western area of the city (perhaps not the busiest one in activities and options for free time), to build a platform which would bring diversity of programmes and a lively, active cultural content in Carol Park, both to the residents in the area, but also to many of the active groups in the city. A place we want communities be rendered to the place, and a place rendered to these communities.

The former hill with grapevines turned over 100 years ago in the most avant-garde urban place, reflecting ambitions for technological progress and social change of the country. The park built as an international exhibition, the museum of technics, the first railway station in Bucharest, the astronomic observatory and many other places in the area used to make this site be a meeting place, fun and urban dynamics.

Photo: Silviu Dancu, Meta van Drunen

EEA grants:
In 2014, following the participation to the EEA Grants competition, Zeppelin wins a funding for an art and design porject in the spaces of Carol Halls garden spaces. The strategic partner of the project is USF in Bergen (Norway, ), an art centre developing spontaneously and organically, turning a factory into a cultural hub.

Landscape design at Carol Halls

Zeppelin will cooperate in this project with 3 artists and 1 architect in Norway, to create 5 installations in this space, commenting and reflecting the value and the history of the place, the link between the industrial site and the park. We aimed for a common element, to work basically with the wood, a material with a craft tradition in both countries. In the process of creation we aim to explore the opportunities provided by digital platforms.

The first steps of the project already started in Bucharest, with a first common workshop taking place with involved curators, designers, architects, and experts in Romanian industrial architecture.

Evy Sorensen, USF communication director and co-curator of the project spotted from the first moment the opportunity to start an ample social and cultural project here in Bucharest, as it happened a few years ago in USF. She liked the idea and joined it with enthusiasm: “art and culture are activities truly sustainable, as no other thing can be. To imprint a place like this with such a direction is actually the only kind of urban and social reintegration. There is a vocabulary of the place which I invite you to reflect on together: a place of meeting together, civic justice, community spirit, chronology and transition, and diversity.

Photo: Silviu Dancu, Meta van Drunen

Carol Factory represents a pioneering project in Bucharest, a project discussing the issue of industrial spaces as a valuable component for the city and bringing to the front a new type of collaboration between the entrepreneurial sector and the cultural one, a cooperation to be sustainable and effective.

Text: Constantin Goagea
Photo: Silviu Dancu, Meta van Drunen