manifattura tabacchi bangs patricia urquiola & q-bic to convert florence cigar factory into residences
manifattura tabacchi residences by 2023
In Florence, the former Manifattura Tabacchi cigar factory is being transformed into spacious and bright apartments with industrial-inspired lofts by the designer Patricia Urquiola and the q-bic studio, scheduled for completion in December 2023. The residential project is part of Manifattura Tabacchi’s redevelopment plan that will renovate the historic industrial lot into commercial and executive spaces, cultural and training spaces, residential neighborhoods, hospitality and public green spaces by 2026. The 16 native buildings of the lot along with the four new ones are protected by the Cultural Heritage Authority and have an area of 110,000 square meters in total. Manifattura Tabacchi envisions a complex full of residents seeking a green lifestyle who will live in an area that doubles as a center for contemporary art, culture and fashion, a complement to Florence’s historic center.
Prior to the residences, the Manifattura Tabacchi factory had already been revived by Florence-based architecture and design firm q-bic which was unveiled in April 2021. Inside the restored factory, 4 buildings and 5 are home to workspaces designed for companies, professionals and creatives who want to grow their businesses. Each building has three floors whose monumental volumes, double-height ceilings, concrete structures, exposed light fixtures and vast glazing combine rationalist style and modern functionality. Open workspaces underscore the character of the new design that celebrates the industrial heritage of the cigar factory while maintaining its industrial appeal in the heart of Florence. Ex-factory, the combined design styles of Urquiola and q-bic grace Buildings 7 and 12 respectively, the spaces that will house a total of 45 housing units. The Residences aim to offer a new lifestyle concept to historic Florence designed to house residents seeking spaces where contemporary design flows alongside the city’s famous architecture.
Luca Baldini & Marco Baldini from q-bic with Patricia Urquiola | image © designboom
Manifattura Tabacchi model | image © designboom
Manifattura Tabacchi, in its 10,000 square meters, highlights design and art for historical and social renewal. In the immense spaces of Manifattura Tabacchi we can find workshops, or rather studios of architects, designers, artists who confront and stimulate each other. A school, Poli.Moda, of young talents who give life to new ideas and projects, in search of different and more sustainable materials and in the creation of new fashion models.
Michelangelo Giombini, Head of Product Development and CEO of Manifattura Tabacchi | image © designboom
Anille by Patricia Urquiola
Feminine grace becomes the underlying force that animates Patricia Urquiolafor Anilla, or Building 7, seeing the main facade which features a large bas-relief of an allegorical depiction of heroic working mothers. From the outset, Urquiola’s presence resonates as she merges the existing floors and the exposed structure of beams and posts on the ground floor of the building, intended to serve as commercial space. The distinctive finishes of the two main halls reflect the interior of the apartments upstairs, a prelude to the design elements that mark the style of Urquiola.
Going up, 21 apartments wait for their residents to live with Urquiola’s vision. The first floor includes units with terraces, while the second and third floors house three duplexes with verandas that allow natural light from large windows to flood inside. Two top-floor penthouses, with large terraces and interior gardens, are located in the new structure that has been added on the roof of the existing building.
lobby in Anilla | make by Tecma Solutions
The bricks covering the architectural elements continue the historical vernacular of the cigar factory, resulting in a visual continuity that winds from the ground to the roofs. These brick walls appear and disappear a little at a time through the screens that maintain their volumes and bring light to the penthouses. Large windows, terraces and verandas form a seamless transition between indoors and outdoors, bringing into the space glimpses of the Piazza dell’Orologio and Piazza del Teatro that sit on residents’ view .
Furnishings and finishes by Anilla
The furnishings and finishes inside Anilla’s apartments convey an interplay of playful tones and a calming atmosphere. Urquiola designs the kitchen of each unit as different from the next, making the personalized and tailor-made approach unique. Upon entering the living room, a new narrative unfolds. Some have a curvilinear space while others have an open, flowing corner that sits close to the large windows.
images courtesy of Manifattura Tabacchi (unless otherwise stated) | photos of Valentina Sommemariva (unless otherwise stated)
Urquiola wants these spaces to become the heart of the home, a place to burrow, gather loved ones, or simply enjoy the moment with a modern, vibrant aesthetic. The history of Manifattura Tabacchi is underlined by the silver, gold and platinum finishes, which can be customized from a range of materials chosen by Urquiola. Small spheres of granite, marble and cement powder dot the public spaces and apartment interiors, and parquet floors, woodwork and soft colors reflect the Manifattura palette, creating warm and welcoming interiors in contrast to the industrial exterior.
kitchen in Anilla | image © designboom
living room in Anilla | | rendered by Tecma Solutions
Puro by q-bic
Studio q bic takes over building 12, formerly the headquarters for the production and packaging of finished tobacco products. The oldest building in the complex is called Puro, after the Spanish word for cigar. q-bic maintains and renovates Puro’s clean, industrial look, starting with the open, undivided interior and the use of original materials, finishes and windows. On the first floor, 24 open-plan lofts benefit from high ceilings, exposed beams and covered outdoor spaces. Due to their size, the apartments then relish natural sunlight from south-facing windows dominated by the massive metal trusses that support the hipped roof.
Like Urquiola, q-bic opts for open living spaces to retain the character of double-height ceilings that create volumes and a new level for a bedroom or pocket terraces cut into the roofline . The result is that the living and sleeping areas are clearly separated, with the mezzanines, for example, overlooking the living room. The natural light entering through the large restored tripartite windows is amplified by the openings created on the roof: pocket terraces and skylights generously illuminate even the spaces under the roof.
To accentuate the distinction and the dialogue between the original style and the new design, the new structures are made of steel, inspired by the industrial spirit of the Manifattura. The metal balcony which gives access to the accommodation on the first floor evokes the suspended iron footbridges which connected the machines of the thermal power plant overhead, while the glass partitions and the raw iron cladding suggest the design of the guardhouses distributed almost everywhere. in buildings.