Łódź - Streets of woven legacy
From March 2nd to 4th, 2023, the conference of the European Textile Network ETN will take place in Lodz - a place that impresses with its unique textile past, but still has a lot to offer textile lovers today.
Situated in central Poland, Łódź was once a phenomenal industrial textile centre, which attracted a huge population of workers of diverse cultures and backgrounds. This resulted in a melting pot of multinational identity, which has imprinted on the streets and facades of the city.
From first encounters one sees and senses the traces of this former powerhouse of production, with an urban landscape collaging a mix of vast red-brick factory buildings, luxurious owner mansions (often situated in leafy parks) and tenement houses.
As a place of exploration, Łódź is fairly easy to navigate. Its grander architectural gestures - not least the copious former mills - are necessarily situated on distinctive avenues which continue to be the channels of flow. Today a handy network and population of trams whizz around the city providing an efficient and low-cost mode of transportation.
The streets of Łódź naturally recall their history, and whilst almost all the cloth-based production, finishing and trade has gone, the scale and proportions of the buildings still echo the physical nature of their pasts. Streets tip into countless service alleys and yards, which contemporary businesses have repurposed for hospitality and leisure. There are also projects where spaces have been transformed through artistic venture. There is plenty for the aesthetic junkie too, with a wonderful blend of aged vernacular, communist and post-communist adjustment and contemporary intervention.
Places of cultural interest are Muzeum Sztuki: ‘ms1’ (located in Maurycy Poznański's handsome palace) with its historical and cultural collections; ‘ms2’ with its worldclass 20th and 21st-century art; and the nearby Manufakturercomplex - an exemplar of local industrial regeneration and a positive cathedral of capitalist consumerism. Meanwhile, the 5km long, north-south boulevard of Piotrkowska Street – which boasts most of Łódź’s popular atmosphere - is perhaps the heart of this fascinating city. The ETN conference is a unique opportunity to discover this unique place!
More information about the ETN-conference, March 2 – 4, 2023, on site in Łódź, Poland and online: https://etn-net.org/etn-conference-2023.html
By Tim Perry-Williams