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Warsaw. Sobieski Hotel in a new color

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The Sobieski Hotel at Plac Zawiszy went from brightly colored to gray and white. Work on the façade is coming to an end and the scaffolding is being dismantled.

At the end of January, we reported that the owner of the Sobieski hotel is planning a revolutionary change in the appearance of the building. Then we learned unofficially that the famous façade colors, a symbol of the crazy 90s, will go down in history. It was already visible in May part of the new façade, from the side of Tarczyńska Street. Bright colors replaced white and grey.

On Tuesday we were there and we can say that the work is coming to an end. – On the front of the building, just above the entrance, the glass roofing is still being installed. The scaffolding on the north-west side is being dismantled, part of the building on this side is still covered with a sheet, but it looks like it is already finished. Other parts of the building’s façade are renovated. As announced, the lower part of the hotel is gray, and the upper, much larger, was painted gray, but in a very bright, almost white shade, reported tvnwarszawa.pl reporter Artur Węgrzynowicz.

There were attempts to enter it in the register of monuments

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From the beginning of its existence, the hotel building has aroused extreme emotions – from recognition for the architecture of the times of the breakthrough, unprecedented in Warsaw, to recognition as a symbol of kitsch and trash. When the façade color change began, the discussion returned. There were voices in the social media that Sobieski had become “elegant”, “encouraging you to come in”, and that the change of colors was “a relief for the eyes”. Others thought that in these colors the hotel looks like a “block” or even a “bunker”. They rated the façade as “boring” and “bland”.

At the beginning of March The office of the Warsaw Conservator of Monuments applied for the building to be entered in the register of monuments. Michał Krasucki, the Capital Conservator of Monuments, justified this decision with the need to protect the characteristic colors inherent in the architecture of the building. He noted that its change will make the building unnoticeable. – The hotel has become a symbol of systemic changes, it is one of the first buildings built in Warsaw after 1989 – says Krasucki at the time.

The Mazovian Provincial Conservator of Monuments, Jakub Lewicki, confirmed then that his office had received an application from the Warsaw Conservator to initiate the procedure of entering Sobieski in the register of monuments. He explained that its initiation would stop work related to repainting the building. He stressed that the application was submitted too late.

– In view of the commencement of construction works, the application of the Warsaw Conservator of Monuments seems to be submitted too late. In view of the threat of compensation claims, the only reasonable solution is to protect the architecture of the building through documentation – taking photos and publications – noted Lewicki at the time.

Colors inspired by the Old Town Square

Sobieski is on the list of contemporary cultural assets – buildings too young to be protected by conservators, but in the opinion of the city and experts, worth preserving due to the fact that they well represent the trends from the times when they were created. But the Warsaw list has not entered into force, so it does not provide formal protection.

The hotel was opened in 1992. The building was designed by Wolfgang Triessing and Maciej Nowicki, and its colors were invented by Austrian artist Hans Piccottini. It was said that he was inspired by the tenement houses in the Old Town Square. The former colors of the Sobieski Hotel, although they have lost their original clarity, were one of the most recognizable examples of postmodernism in Warsaw. A very characteristic trend, aimed at twisting what people are used to.

– Hotel Sobieski is a pastiche of an urban tenement house – explained Anna Cymer, a historian and promoter of architecture, before repainting the building. – What is worth noting is that these pastel colors do not mark the shape of the tenement houses, they pass horizontally, zigzagging through the facade of the building. We are not used to this kind of movement.

Main photo source: Artur Węgrzynowicz/tvnwarszawa.pl

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