An old sugar factory in Żnin has been transformed into a hotel complex with two hotels, a restaurant, and fitness areas
Ever felt like a vacation in a factory? Well, now you can! The old sugar factory in the city of Żnin, north-central Poland, has been redeveloped and returned to the community with a new function. In transforming the factory, Bulak Projekt kept a sharp focus on preserving its history. So, whether you’re staying at one of the hotels - Cukrownia Żnin - or using the conference centers or sports areas, you’re always aware of the building’s former incarnation.
The complex presents a constant dialogue between what was and what is, an interaction between past and present that recounts the centuries-old history of the Żnin sugar factory. This 19th-century factory is located in the north-central Polish city of Żnin, a short distance from the lake Duże Żnińskie. It was fully renovated by Bulak Projekt, returning it to the local and extended community as an accommodation facility with hotels, restaurants, clubs, and sports facilities. With the studio keeping a close eye on preserving the factory’s history, nothing has been lost in the transformation. The underlying principle of the entire project was, in fact, to maintain the utmost respect for the historical value of the complex, the layered years of technical and technological changes, and its aesthetic and functional peculiarities, ensuring that contemporary eyes can appreciate the authenticity of the existing structure.
Exposed pipes, bolts, and sheet metal are an integral part of the new interior design concept, interacting and contrasting with the furnishings in the restaurants, bars, and the relaxation areas as well as with the cascading greenery and plants in many of the common areas. The designers responded to the design challenge of bare walls, exposed ceilings, and machinery left in its original position to create intimate, warm spaces and a unique identity.
The project was an about-face on the original plans. When sugar production was shut down in 2004, the entire area was to be reorganized, with all 27 buildings in the complex tagged for demolition. After the site was acquired by ARCHE, however, the hotel group saw the site’s potential both as an accommodation facility and to further integrate it with its setting, including the nearby port and lake, which is used for sports such as windsurfing.
The main building (the factory proper) now accommodates a four-star hotel with almost 200 rooms, some on two levels, as well as a restaurant and bar, and five conference rooms. Linked to this main section, one of the former warehouses is now a multifunctional space, with areas for cultural events, a cinema, an auditorium, and an almost 19,370 square-foot (1800 m2) conference room that seats 800 people. Another ex-warehouse has been transformed into a three-star hotel with 132 rooms and a restaurant. This is connected to a wellness and relaxation area built in a former roundhouse. Besides the health spa, the locomotive shed houses a club with a small brewery, a gym, a children’s play area, and a water park. The remaining buildings on the site haven’t been overlooked, with some still undergoing transformation and others already repurposed, including, in one case, as a bowling alley.
The project was possible thanks to collaboration with numerous partners and interior designers, but also through the support of the local government. In short, the project is the result of a coming together and an exchange and that has connected eras and people.
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Location: Żnin, Poland
Architect: BULAK PROJEKT
Main Contractor: ARCHE
Interior design: ARCHE, BULAK PROJEKT, MML ARCHITEKCI, MIXD
Photography: ©Oni Studio and Piotr Nalewajk
All images courtesy of Bulak Projekt