The office of Blank Architects had stipulated that it wouldn’t make any serious changes to the historical image of the Danilovskaya Manufactory. A desire to emphasize the nobility of the architecture had an influence on the choice of neutral colors for the pavement, the simple geometry of which would not distract attention from the austere dark brick walls of the buildings.
This same guiding principle also affected the landscape design with its unkempt, wild grasses, and bushes which serve to emphasize the male character of both the place and building.
Concept of mindfulness
Let's start from something you said to me earlier. You mentioned the concept of mindfulness.
Oh, yes. That's a key word here. Our firm obviously creates designs for newly constructed spaces — as do practically all architectural firms, but there is a notion of due respect to existing spaces that I think is the responsibility of any architect. Or at least it should be! This includes considering existing buildings around a proposed new construction site, or in this case, being very considerate of the history of an existing site in relation to any proposed redevelopment.
And in this case with the Danilovskaya Manufactory?
We consider this to be a "beautification or reinvigoration project." Before beginning work, Blank Architects had stipulated that it wouldn’t make any serious changes to the historical image of the Danilovskaya Manufactory.
So you were playing the dual role of conservator and architect.
Essentially, yes. And we wanted to heighten the effect of the existing architecture.
Well we had a desire to emphasize the nobility of the existing architecture. This influenced our choice of neutral colors for the pavement, the simple geometry of which would not distract attention from the austere dark-brick walls of the buildings. This same guiding principle also affected the landscape design with its unkempt, wild grasses, and bushes.
Well it's an ex-industrial space, so you've sort of emphasized the masculine character of both the place and building.
What are other aspects that you consider to be key?
Well I'd probably say that an integral part of these sort of modern "beautification" projects are elements of street art or public sculpture. Therefore, while clearing the site of debris prior to beginning the project, we came up with the idea of using the eight meter barrels and cast iron columns which, while simultaneously serving as landmarks and art objects, would also remind people of the historical importance of the Danilovskaya Manufactory development.
And what about that line of granite? It's something that I've been wondering about.
Ah, well that also serves as a navigation point that permeates the main paving throughout the whole area. You know, in pre-revolutionary times the factory was a major producer of gold thread and so we were also striving to pay homage to that throughout the project.