B9, the prototype for the Manifattura of tomorrow


Manifattura Tabacchi has seen the birth of a space where the ordinary life of the city becomes extraordinary: B9.
The open night on 21 June was only the first in a long series of events which have reanimated the spaces of Building 9 with concerts, DJ sets, exhibitions, talks, workshops, shows, cinema and festivals.

The entrance to B9 is at number 33 Via della Cascine, a discreet gate through which once passed the trucks carrying products from the Manifattura and saw goods arrive that had been confiscated by the Italian Finance Police, who used the warehouse at the industrial complex for storage.

Walking through the covered section that separates Building 9 from Building 8, only part of the courtyard can be seen, on the left a doorway reveals the ateliers and the workshops of the makers that are found inside.

From the moment that you arrive in the courtyard, you can’t help but be taken aback by the characteristic chimney stack, towering above the other buildings, transporting you away from Florence, immersing you in its fascinating post-industrial environment.

The gaze inevitably falls upon the Fabbrica dell’Aria (Air Factory), a giant greenhouse, an impressive symbol of innovation in the field of science: it is the first prototype of a device that purifies the air inside buildings, created by Stefano Mancuso and Pnat for Manifattura Tabacchi. The greenhouse is positioned so that it can be seen both inside and out, giving the plants the sunshine they require whilst forming a part of the interior at B9.

Entering B9 through large glass doors, our eyes are drawn to the display of Venetian cicchetti snacks at Bulli&Balene, an irresistible and never-ending assortment of beauty and flavour. At any time of the day there is always something good to eat, from breakfast to after dinner, never failing on quality. 

On the left, right next to the Naturizzata® water station, we find the area dedicated to the workshops of the makers.

On the right, in the old freight lift, is the Birrificio Valdarno Superiore brewery with its craft beers.

In the courtyard we can see the stage for summer events, with the large screen used for the outdoor cinema. On the right is a green playground area that has been equipped for the Manifattura’s littlest visitors; a sandpit with wooden animals, shaded by a gazebo with ribbons hanging down from it, a multi-coloured wooden wall with comfortable benches nestled between the trees; a place of relaxation, imagination and invention.

Continuing through into the open space, with furnishings carefully selected by Mono e Canificio, we find the ateliers of the makers, separated by the large windows that were recovered during the reconstruction of building 6.

At the long central table, positioned between the ‘shop windows’ of the makers and the interior face of the Air Factory, people can sit and have lunch, work away on their laptops, or just rest a minute and grab a coffee.

The steps in front of B9 are perfectly placed for you to chat away with friends over gourmet pizza and cocktails from Soul Kitchen, perhaps as you wait for the start of a film or a concert. Taking us into the night is the events space Festa, with a cocktail bar serving up drinks and a stage for DJ sets and live music performances.

B9 is a place for everyday life, elevating the routine to the extraordinary.