The “Unfinished Theatre” is the name which the inhabitants of Lublin nicknamed the old building that has occupied the city centre for more than 40 years. With construction starting in 1960, promoted by communist authorities, it was set to be Europe’s largest opera palace. Funding problems at the start, together with the economic crisis of the 1980s and then political changes, left the unfinished building as a metaphor for a society that went down in history.
After an intervention from the Stelmach Partnerzy architectural studio, the new Centrum Spotkania Kultur (Centre for the Meeting of Cultures) was created to convey a single idea: Lublin is part of the Europe of XXI century. The Centre’s programme is composed of high quality artistic events and the building has been adapted to its new uses. To be highlighted is the great central avenue – the Avenue of Culture – that runs through the building and that takes in various public institutions, art galleries, charity areas, cafés, multimedia rooms, and that acts as an internal communication channel between the areas.
The other functions of the building are composed of a large auditorium, a conference room, a multi-purpose room, a cinema screen, seminar rooms, a media room, a library, galleries for local artists, the Club Room, a musical theatre and an administrative zone.
The Architectural Project
The objective of the architectural studio has been to highlight the unfinished features of the building, maintaining unfinished structures and bare walls, as a reminder of its construction process. All the new components of the building such as walls, acoustic finishes, floors, suspended ceilings, have been introduced in such a way that they do not hide the old structures. This “Raw” style is combined with elements of high technology, throughout the building. The structure of the old building has been covered with a perimeter as a protection. In the east and west façades, thanks to prefabricated elements of white cement and steel. The south façade displays a double layer with photovoltaic cells, while the north façade has been covered with Corian® plaques which are used to project images onto the building and illuminate it in different shades of colour.
Challenge and the supplied product
There are two rooms in the Centrum Spotkania Kultur that needed a unique, high range product for two specific functions. Firstly, the Centre has a multi-purpose room in which events are performed for small audiences. The Centre required a seat that could serve as a hard wearing yet comfortable chair, and that would offer a unique attractive look to the room. For this reason, they opted for the beautiful Bonamusa seat, a Figueras classic designed by Antoni Bonamusa, which in addition to its robustness and design can also be stacked to clear the room and leave it unobstructed. Upholstered in purple leather, the room has ended up being named after the colour: The Purple Room.
For the room dedicated to showing films, the Centre chose the original Rhombus Excellence, basically for its exclusivity. Having space and guided in the search for a distinctive seat, the directors of the Centre decided to furnish this room with the Rhombus Excellence seat, which has a wooden and leather effect finish. Thanks to the diamond shaped upholstery in the back, the seat is extremely comfortable.