• 09.08.11

A Cafe Constructed Entirely Of Plywood Ribs

A young group of Polish architects hope to revitalize a downtrodden neighborhood by designing an alluring venue for cultural events.

Blobitecture isn’t dead. It’s just crept indoors, transforming rectilinear spaces into rippling, organic forms. Take Zmianatematu, a new café/bar in Łódź, Poland, fitted with ribs of plywood to create a space that resembles a giant wooden dinosaur model. (That’s a good thing.) According to the architects, xm3, the café is a much-needed injection of cutting-edge design into a once prosperous, now blighted neighborhood.


“With a very small budget we created an outstanding space to host the artistic and culture parties for the creative youth of the city,” writes xm3’s Mateusz Wójcicki. Located on a street filled with similar Neoclassical buildings, the café is a showpiece for computer-generated forms, which the twentysomething-year-old architects modeled with Rhino/Grasshopper software and CNC-milled. (The owners assembled the panels on-site.) A similarly constructed bar juts out from one wall to help to delineate the space into separate sitting areas. Xm3 left the rest of the café intentionally raw: The floor is an epoxy mass, the walls and ceiling are roughcast plaster, and bare bulbs hang from the ceiling by black tubing.

If Zmianatematu looks familiar, that’s because it’s a riff on an earlier design by Office dA: Banq, in Boston’s old Penny Savings Bank. It may not be entirely original, but so what? As we’ve written before, creativity involves a degree of copying what came before.

About the author

Belinda Lanks is the editorial director of Co.Design. Before joining, she was the managing editor of Metropolis.