Un centro fuori dal centro - Manifattura Tabacchi

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The new Manifattura Tabacchi is revitalising the old tobacco factory, active for over seventy years before its closure in 2001. The ambitious regeneration project aims to bring a new district of the city to life, giving it the creative energy of fashion, art and design, complementing the historic city centre, open to all and connected to the wider world: a new contemporary destination in Florence.


The Masterplan provides for a functional mix where the original and newly constructed buildings will host schools, ateliers and laboratories, office and co-working spaces, studio apartments, housing, a hotel, halls of residence, and a brewery: the gates that once isolated the factory will be reopened and walls will be removed to open the complex up to the city and the wider world, 24/7.


First Life, then Spaces, then Buildings

Jan Gehl



Construction 1930-1940
6 hectares
16 buildings
110.000 m2

A first Masterplan from Concrete Architectural Associates has been developed upon by Sanaa (winner of the Pritzker prize 2010) in collaboration with Studio Mumbai, with a project that fully exploits the potential of the regeneration works, and which identified the building that housed the old maintenance workshops as one that could be iconic for the overall project.

The development of the project has been entrusted to Florentine studio q-bic, joined by landscape architect Antonio Perazzi and the award-winning firm Piuarch, which is undertaking the project planning for new construction work, whilst the new kindergarten is being designed by Rome-based studio Aut-Aut Architettura. Renowned Spanish architect and designer Patricia Urquiola has assumed the role of Interior Designer for the prestigious residences of Building 7.

The project for the redevelopment of Manifattura Tabacchi aims to keep demolition at a minimum, and render the original buildings more efficient and sustainable through the use of geothermal energy and careful management of water use. It plans for the planting of over 1,000 new trees at the site, with a new hanging garden on the roof of the central building (B11), as well as reducing CO2 emissions and improving air quality.

render by Engram Studio


The beating heart of Manifattura Tabacchi: an open square which has ateliers, workshops and restaurants facing onto it from the ground floor, and the open offices and co-working spaces looking down from the upper floors. A lush roof-top garden marks out this building, which will host spaces for contemporary artistic production under the name Not A Museum.


A new route for cyclists and pedestrians which will cross Manifattura Tabacchi from North to South, connecting the university district of Novoli with Parco delle Cascine via the stop of the new T4 tram-line.


A public space which conserves the formality of the rationalist architecture, as well as its suitability for events and temporary installations. Overlooking it are the loft apartments of Manifattura Tabacchi and the prestigious Polimoda institute, which has its third Florentine site in the iconic clock tower building.


Conceived as a place for the production and tasting of craft beers, the brewery will be housed in the former energy plant of Manifattura Tabacchi, right in front of the stop on the new T4 tram-line.


The renewal of Building 12 represents a modern take on the Florentine Renaissance concept of “home and shop”; ateliers, workshops and studios for artists and designers overlook Maker Street, which turns horizontally across the entire complex. The first-floor residences maintain the distinctive characteristics and flavour of the industrial loft.


The renovation project for Building 1 includes a six-level student residence overlooking a public space that opens out towards the Istituto Agrario and Parco delle Cascine. On the groundfloor, the large glass windows ensure spatial continuity between the inside and the outside.


The imposing tobacco warehouses will be converted into a lifestyle hotel that draws on post-industrial inspiration: featuring a wide terrace on the south side which will offer a wonderful view of the garden and an area for sitting outside.


The loft apartments at Manifattura Tabacchi will be constructed in the buildings that face out onto Via delle Cascine and towards Parco delle Cascine: the courtyard will be set up to welcome the residents and the wider community.

Il mix funzionale

The new Manifattura will integrate its varied uses in a functional mix aimed at improving the quality of life: with commercial spaces, workshops and ateliers for creative industries, office and co-working spaces, partnerships with educational institutions, catering, hospitality, and housing, as well as services, a new nursery, outdoor markets and underground parking. NAM – Not a Museum’ will be housed inside the central building 11, underneath the iconic rooftop garden, and will be a place that is dedicated to experimentation, research and production for contemporary art.

A regeneration that respects the existing structures with a view to contemporary and cultural development, which is also sustainable, flexible and with minimal environmental impact.

Key figures

37,000 m2 education, offices and co-working spaces

35,000 m2 residential

26,000 m2 hospitality and co-living

11,000 m2 ateliers and workshops


The complex will be integrated into the urban, cultural and social fabric thanks to a strategic network of connections and cultural activities that will bring life back to these disused spaces. The city will have a new centre, complementing and ever closer to the historic city centre thanks to the opening of a new tramline (line 4), benefiting from its newfound proximity to the Cascine Park, the Novoli University Campus, the airport and the station, and also the fashion district and its production sites in the west of the city.


Internal mobility has been carefully studied in order to restore Manifattura Tabacchi to the life of the neighbourhood and Florence as a whole. It will be open, permeable and without walls, enhanced thanks to a network of green areas, squares and public social spaces, where the community can contribute to creating the new identities of these places. Alongside the historic and monumental main entrance on Via delle Cascine, new points of access for pedestrians and cyclists will be added, as well as controlled vehicle entrances and a stop on the new tramline route 4.



Building 2

Building 2 was constructed together with Building 3 on the first construction lot. Both buildings were used for storing raw tobacco, as well as drying and packaging. They overlook an internal courtyard with the two buildings connected by a perpendicular cross-section, with a sober monumentality typical of 1930s architecture. The elevations highlight a set of pilasters and stringcourses that frame the larger windows on the second floor and smaller windows on the two lower floors.

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