The redevelopment plan of the former Florentine cigar factory, Manifattura Tabacchi, continues with the launch of a new residential building and the constant growth of the activities already available, such as the roof garden and the Caveau

Manifattura Tabacchi is the protagonist of the largest urban redevelopment project (we wrote about it here) active in Italy and one of the largest in Europe: it involves the transformation of 110 thousand square meters of disuse into a neighborhood equipped with all types of services, private and public, as well as residences and green spaces.

The ongoing construction site has never been hidden from the city, indeed, from the beginning the winning idea was to open to the public the areas not directly affected by the works, thanks to the activation of events cultural and the inclusion of a series of recreational and commercial activities.

The main theme of the imposing project is the relationship with Florence and its cultural and human heritage, no wall has closed and will close the Manifattura, a reality that aims to connect the present and the future in a lively exchange between citizens and the population who already work and who will soon live in the former factory.

Zenit, the third residential project

Michelangelo Giombini, head of product development and CEO of Manifattura Tabacchi: “The path we have been facing for years is to bring life back to this place, with commercial establishments, attracting entrepreneurs and creating ideal spaces for those who decide to come and live here, in Florence, in a former factory.

Zenit is the third residential project that we present, after the two historic buildings redesigned, respectively, byPatricia Urquiola and by the Florentine studio q-bic.

And the solution we chose for Zenit, by the Quincoces Dragò & Partners, is somewhat the result of the first two experiences: it contains attention and respect for the industrial heritage, but also a lot of research work to project a building from the 1930s into the future".

The architects have chosen, in fact, to preserve the characteristic features of the building - the imposing volumes, the exposed reinforced concrete structures, the large windows - introducing highly topical elements through design choices based on to comfort and elegance.

Paolo Volpato, of the Quincoces Dragò & Partners: “the biggest difficulty was building on what was built, but we were very fascinated by the idea not only of working in a former factory, but of taking care of the entrance building”.

Fanny Bauer Grung: "our goal is always to design spaces that last over time, also on an aesthetic level, not just functional. The starting idea was, therefore, to create homes made up of 'simple boxes', freely interpretable, defined only by the colors inspired by the place, natural shades between terracotta and green".

Privileged views

Zenit develops in the two wings of the entrance building which housed the management, offices and accommodation of the ancient factory. Built between 1936 and 1940, the curvilinear building is characterized by a monumental portal, decorated with original bas-reliefs created by the sculptor Francesco Coccia .

A historical heritage that becomes an integral part of the project's identity, right from the name: Zenit is in fact one of the brands of cigarettes that were once produced in the Tabacchi Factory.

The objective of the Quincoces Dragò & Partners is to enhance the industrial character of the place through a sophisticated and contemporary language, which recalls the stylistic codes of the former factory, updating them in a contemporary residential context.

The building will host 34 residential units on a surface area of ​​4,800 m2, in addition to 1,530 m2 of rooftops, loggia gardens and terraces.

Various housing solutions are proposed, from compact duplexes to bright apartments on one level, from lofts with loggia gardens to large two-room apartments with panoramic terraces.

The apartments on the ground floor are on two levels, thanks to the exceptional height of the spaces of the original rooms which allowed the creation of a new mezzanine floor; the living area extends outside into welcoming covered gardens or terraces for exclusive use. The homes on the first floor, arranged on a single level, are equipped with large private panoramic outdoor areas created on the roof, which are accessed from the living area via a spiral staircase.

Finally, Zenit enjoys privileged views: the Cortile della Ciminiera and Piazza Emanuela Loi (also known as Piazza del Teatro), symbolic places of renovation of Manifattura Tabacchi intended to host large green areas and cultural activities; the skyline of Florence with Brunelleschi's dome, Giotto's bell tower and Palazzo Vecchio not far away; the cultivated fields of the Agricultural Institute, the Cascine park and the green hills.

The Caveau: where past and present meet

Among the services and activities open to the city, born and grown in recent years at the Manifattura, we like to remember one, perhaps a little more hidden, or rather camouflaged, in the original structure of the former factory and which speaks to us precisely about this.

This is the Caveau, the place where they were collected individual elements gradually dismantled from the previous architecture to make room for the changes due to the renovations.

These are large machines, structural parts, but also objects, all of which can no longer be used for their function. The idea was immediately to collect them, preserve them and catalog them. And it is precisely from this research process that the possibility arose of re-proposing them for different uses, so as to add and keep alive a further link with the history of the Manufacture, as well as to respond to the need for circularity.

Thus gates, signs, clocks, lamps, handles and much more are today available to planners, artists and designers who wish to give them a new life in regenerated spaces. But that's not all, the collection of pieces and objects displayed and catalogued, is not only a useful tool for the internal activities of the former factory: the Caveau has also become a sort of museum, constantly updated, available to citizens and tourists . The visit is guided and free, just book on the site.