Interesting to me, beautiful, out of the ordinary. It certainly encourages to discussions, but it’s probably good!; This school needed such a change very very much!; My primary school 😯😯😯 I went on this day when they were painting it 😍😍😍 looks really super 👌 eye catching. Such and many other enthusiastic comments came up after Opiemme’s recent artistic intervention in Lodz, Poland for the Urban Forms Foundation and Lodz 4 Cultures festival. „Remanufacture / Herring. A Tribute to Wladyslaw Strzemiński” brings new insights into the socialist realism architecture, quite unpopular among the residents of the city.
Everything started with our admiration for one of Opiemme’s projects in Genoa. The artistic transformation of the façade of a building erected in Mussolini’s times has brought out the harmonious beauty of its shapes and has highlighted the greatest strengths of this type of architecture. We have made a point of honour to organize a project of a similar nature and scale with Opiemme. Opportunity came with the Lodz Four Cultures festival …
(From the Urban Forms report)
After a long in-depth study of the history of the building itself and the socialist realism architecture in Poland two designes were created: „Remanufacture” and „Herring”. The unique font that had been designed by a well-known vanguard artist based in Lodz, Władysław Strzemiński in the 30. of the XXth century became the theme connecting the two different compositions. The lettering – used as a decorative element – appeared on massive vertical stripes on the front wall of the school-building, a frame around the calligram on the back façade, as well as decorations of the sidewalks.
The work is the author’s „conversation” with the shape, the structure, and the rhythm that make up a certain architectural composition. For Opiemme, the work also has a strong emotional dimension:
In lovely memory of my father.
When I was 16 my father sent me to work with a restorer and interior decorator. This master taught me most of what I can do today and helped me in developing my manual skills.
While struggling with this wall I thought a lot about my father and I realized that thanks to my first job experience, I ended up in making a mural this way, something more decorative, that recalls the history of building decoration.
A trip to the oldest part of Nowa Huta district in Krakow preceded the design process. This „city in the city”, which was built up in the 50. of the XXth century by the communist goverment, is an iconic example of socialst realism architecture and city planning in Poland. It has brought a lot of inspiration, among others – references to its specific architectural details can be found in Opiemme’s work.
The calligram on the rear façade refers to a local motif. Near the school there is one of the most famous city parks. Its informal name Park of a Herring is probably a relic of the fish market existing there before World War II. The lettering of the calligram imitates the fish scales.
The project was also attended by a community centered around the local primary and grammar school. Their pupils, and also teachers, and parents took part in the workshop „Lodz of Dialogue” organized jointly by our team and Opiemme. The participants were encouraged to explore the different dimensions of foreign cultures – such as language, music, gestures, flavours. At the end they gathered the words best expressing the idea of intercultural dialogue. These „words of dialogue” were translated into English, German, Russian, and Hebrew, and then placed by Opiemme and the participants on the sidewalk decorations.
We sincerely thank all those who contributed to bringing this difficult and ambitious project to a happy ending. First of all huge thanks to OPIEMME!!! And also big thank you for Grzegorz Terlecki, the headmasters, teachers, students and parents of both schools, Joanna Koczur, Justyna Bienias, Qualio team, Filip Wróblewski, and Addam Yekutieli. Thank you for your kindness, efforts, creativity, and all possible support!