Riddle solved! Empik will be operating in the Cepelia pavilion!

At the beginning of the year, we reported on the start of work to renovate a famous building in the centre of Warsaw. Now we have learned what will be created in this place. The Cepelia pavilion will house an Empik! The work is expected to be completed by the turn of the year.

The renovation works supervised by the conservation officer are to ensure that the building regains its original appearance. The characteristic elements of the façade and interior are to be preserved. The modernist pavilion will once again be visually light and heavily glazed, and the interior will feature lots of plants.

The entire building structure and its roof are being renovated. The lighting is to look as it did originally, including the façade cladding and the characteristic lamella windows with decorations. The blue ceramic cladding by Stanislaw Kucharski of hand-fired tiles will be renewed. When the work is completed, a three-storey Empik will operate here. The Bernatek Architekci studio is responsible for the project to revitalise the Cepelia pavilion.

Warsaw has a special place in our over 75-year history – it was here that we took our first steps, and today we are present in as many as several dozen different locations. However, this store will be unique – the most modern, flagship Empik in the historic Cepelia building will become the flagship of our brand,” says Ewa Szmidt, CEO of Empik Group.

The Cepelia Pavilion is one of the icons of Warsaw’s modernism. The building’s situation changed at the end of January this year, when the building was imperceptibly fenced off and the dismantling of all the clutter and advertisements that had blurred the pavilion’s former qualities began. Previously, there had been a plan to convert the building into a fast-food outlet, but the conservation officer vetoed it on the grounds that it would “significantly interfere with the historic fabric of the monument”. This is because the recommendations state that only commercial premises can be located in Cepelia. The building could not, therefore, serve a catering function. At the end of January 2024, however, there was a breakthrough. The Mazovian Provincial Conservator of Monuments ordered the company Sienna 111, which owns the building, to immediately carry out conservation and construction works due to its terrible technical condition.

The Cepelia pavilion after the removal of the secondary cladding. Photo: Michał Trawiński/Tubyło, tu stać

Remont Cepelii

The building was erected in 1966 to a design by architect Zygmunt Stępiński, in collaboration with Andrzej Milewski and engineer Aleksander Haweman, in the vicinity of the Marszałkowska Street housing and commercial development under construction at the same time. The three-storey building was constructed using a steel-aluminium structure and large expanses of glazing. The unglazed part of the façade, now visible from the Metropol Hotel, was covered with hand-fired ceramic tiles in turquoise by Stanisław Kucharski. The building housed the main exhibition and trade showroom of Cepelia in Warsaw. It is worth recalling that during the communist era, Cepelia (Centrala Przemysłu Ludowego i Artystycznego) was a central association of handicraft cooperatives, which ran trading outlets selling goods produced in associated cooperatives, made or inspired by the work of Polish folk artists. It existed between 1949 and 1990.

Cepelia in 1966 and 2023. Source: Collections – bonczek/hydroforgroup and whiteMAD/Mateusz Markowski

1967 and 2023: View of Marszałkowska Street from behind the Cepelia building. Photo from the book “Warsaw. Landscape and architecture”, published by Arkady 1970. Source: fotopolska.eu/Krzysiek99 i whiteMAD/Mateusz Markowski

The Empik store at Marszałkowska 99/101 is expected to open at the turn of 2024 and 2025.

Source: ABC Warszawy(facebook, instagram) warszawa.naszemiasto.pl, muratorplus.pl

Read also: Modernism | Warsaw | Architecture in Poland | Facade| Curiosities| whiteMAD on Instagram

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