The start of lessons marks the completion of the recovery and transformation of the new Polimoda building, the first within an ambitious urban regeneration project in Italy.
After the opening of a temporary location in October of last year, on the occasion of the Pitti Immagine Uomo 97 event, the monumental spaces of the former cigar factory—which hosted some of the most evocative fashion events in Florence, including Gucci, Hugo Boss and the Polimoda Fashion Show—is once again full of young talents who will take their first steps towards a professional career in the fashion world.
Polimoda's new location inside Manifattura Tabacchi
"It is a gift we are pleased to give to our 2300 students, a group of young people from 70 different countries, hyper-connected and looking for a real future. Therefore, it is also a gift we give to Florence, allowing our city to give life to a new Renaissance in which familiarity with technology, education and creativity may become the new currency for trade."
The third Polimoda location spreads over 6700 square meters and four levels, in addition to a basement and a 360° panoramic terrace overlooking Florence. Thanks to a conservative renovation and an ad-hoc reorganization of the spaces, the building houses clothes-making and knitwear laboratories, photography studios, IT laboratories, as well as drawing and theory classrooms and a 250-seat Auditorium to accommodate a total of about 800 students hailing from all over the world, as well as teaching personnel and staff.
A view inside Manifattura Tabacchi's iconic complex
"Polimoda starts 2020 with the first day of school in Manifattura," announces Polimoda’s Director Danilo Venturi. "It is a gift we are pleased to give to our 2300 students, a group of young people from 70 different countries, hyper-connected and looking for a real future. Therefore, it is also a gift we give to Florence, allowing our city to give life to a new Renaissance in which familiarity with technology, education and creativity may become the new currency for trade."
One of the many fashion design laboratories
This new Polimoda facility is equipped with latest-generation professional equipment to allow students to work in an environment faithfully reproducing the reality of the fashion field: 12 workshops, including 10 tailoring and 2 knitwear workshops, and an entire open space floor dedicated to the tailoring and study of the graduating students’ collections, equipped with cutting stations and sewing machines, and specific machines for tailoring, as well as ironing boards in each workshop, knitting and linking machines and tailoring mannequins of different sizes and types.
Student working in the new knitting lab
The first floor of the building houses the IT labs, equipped with 200 computers, digital tablets, instruments and software used in the fashion field to create a modern design laboratory, in line with the professional standards of the sector, in addition to a photography and recording studio that will promote the development of fashion styling, art direction and communication courses. Lastly, a specialized shop provides students with all the materials and tools of the trade. All the environments were designed to promote teamwork, with large laboratories designed to accommodate multidisciplinary study and work teams.
Student in the new knitting lab
The Polimoda building was designed by Concrete Architectural Associates in cooperation with Q-bic, the Florence-based architectural studio founded by Luca and Marco Baldini, who supervised its implementation. The project focused on the recovery of contemporary style spaces and the configuration of functional areas for teaching and practice. The original architecture of the building was enhanced, preserving the industrial charm and the unique character of Manifattura, a place where the refinement of the Italian rationalist architecture of the early twentieth century gives shape to a manufacturing company. By giving new life to the Polimoda building, architectural proportions were preserved and characteristic elements were reused.
One of the many computer labs at the new location
The opening of Polimoda inside the Manifattura Tabacchi building is the first portion of a wider urban regeneration project aimed at returning a strategic area in terms of size and location to the city, through the recovery of industrial buildings amounting to a total of about 100000 square meters and their functional conversion.