I recently spent a week in Moscow training a group of journalists. While I was there, I had the chance to explore some innovate new art spaces that are housed in former factories. Moscow is a huge and bustling metropolis, but these spaces feel like urban oases amidst the often overwhelming and frenetic pace of the city.
Red October Chocolate Factory
The Red October Chocolate Factory, as its name would suggest, is a former chocolate factory in central Moscow. Red October’s history dates back almost 150 years (they make the iconic Soviet-era Alenka chocolate bars). In 2007, the factory abandoned its downtown location and moved to the outskirts of the city. Plans to convert the former factory into upscale lofts fell through after the 2008-2009 global financial crisis. Now, the space is used to house galleries, restaurants, and nightclubs.
The post-graduate Strelka Institute for Media, Architecture and Design is housed in the Red October complex, and holds public discussions about urbanism. Strelka is also home to a stylish terrace bar/restaurant with stunning views of the Moskva River and Christ the Savior Cathedral.
Red October is full of hidden surprises–striking architecture, hip lounges, and street art. You can easily spend an afternoon getting lost in a maze of exhibition spaces and chill-out spots.
Winzavod Centre for Contemporary Art
The Winzavod Centre for Contemporary Art is located in a former wine factory–the oldest in Moscow. Like Red October, it’s a labyrinthine space with studios, galleries, and shops.
Winzavod is a great place for lovers of street art–the walls are adorned with gorgeous murals and graffiti.
I didn’t get to visit MSK Eastside during my trip to Moscow, but the Moscow Times reports that this brand new galler, also based in a former factory, opened in June. The mission of MSK Eastside is to support “young, emerging artists.”
What about your city: Are there any examples of industrial buildings that have been converted into community art spaces? Please share in the comments!