Initially completed in 1904 to serve as Warsaw’s primary source of electricity, Elektrownia appears with frequency in local history books – contested during the 1944 Warsaw Uprising (shrapnel holes still dent the building at intervals), it later powered the Palace of Culture – to this day, the switchboard survives. Deactivated in 2001, the vacated buildings briefly became the home of giant house martens and other mythical urban creatures, before being restored and relaunched in 2020. As smart as its new look is, you’re always touching distance from history.
Lit by a sea of neon, the food hall is a street food mecca with star turns provided by Philly’s Finest Cheesesteak and Uki Uki Kikuya. Bracketed either side by two flagship bars, the smoothness of this operation can’t be questioned. But this is all complemented by standalone restaurant project such as the chic and design-minded Dock 19 and legendary, fun-fuelled Blue Cactus.
Good To Know
Elektrownia’s blended approach deserves to be called out. This includes an exclusive top floor beauty hall filled with cutting edge cosmetic and beauty therapy solutions – that Anna Lewandowska has been tagged here should speak for its pedigree. On the retail front, EP tends to avoid the mainstream to instead slant in on contemporary Polish design, upscale vintage, niche brands and established local talent. Watch, too, for their regular organic markets and ‘slow’ design fairs.
Why We Love It
Everyone agrees, Elektrownia Powiśle is a breathtaking work. From the outside, it’s a dazzle of billiard green lawns and spurting water fountains, all hemmed in by smart redbrick buildings trimmed with steel and glass. But inside is where it really gets going – cavernous in its size, and criss-crossed with vertiginous walkways snaking overhead, it carries the dimensions and impact of a Romanesque cathedral. Historic leftovers abound (such as the blue cubbyhole once used by the plant’s director), as do whimsical pieces of art made from rescued girders. Ingeniously connecting the past with the present, exploring its many corners is fun in itself.
ul. Dobra 42, elektrowniapowisle.com