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A Cafe Constructed Entirely Of Plywood Ribs

A young group of Polish architects hope to revitalize a downtrodden neighborhood by designing an alluring venue for cultural events.

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Blobitecture isn’t dead. It’s just crept indoors, transforming rectilinear spaces into rippling, organic forms. Take Zmianatematu, a new café/bar in Łódź, Poland, fitted with ribs of plywood to create a space that resembles a giant wooden dinosaur model. (That’s a good thing.) According to the architects, xm3, the café is a much-needed injection of cutting-edge design into a once prosperous, now blighted neighborhood.

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“With a very small budget we created an outstanding space to host the artistic and culture parties for the creative youth of the city,” writes xm3’s Mateusz Wójcicki. Located on a street filled with similar Neoclassical buildings, the café is a showpiece for computer-generated forms, which the twentysomething-year-old architects modeled with Rhino/Grasshopper software and CNC-milled. (The owners assembled the panels on-site.) A similarly constructed bar juts out from one wall to help to delineate the space into separate sitting areas. Xm3 left the rest of the café intentionally raw: The floor is an epoxy mass, the walls and ceiling are roughcast plaster, and bare bulbs hang from the ceiling by black tubing.

If Zmianatematu looks familiar, that’s because it’s a riff on an earlier design by Office dA: Banq, in Boston’s old Penny Savings Bank. It may not be entirely original, but so what? As we’ve written before, creativity involves a degree of copying what came before.

About the author

A former editor at such publications as WIRED, Bloomberg Businessweek, and Fast Company, Belinda Lanks has also written for The New York Times Magazine, The New York Observer, Interior Design, and ARTnews.

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