Tbilisi’s New Multifunctional Hostel Used to Be a Soviet Factory

Tbilisi’s New Multifunctional Hostel Used to Be a Soviet Factory

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Built in a former Soviet factory, Fabrika is a multifunctional space that brings together a huge hostel, art studios, cafés, bars, encircling around a fantastic courtyard.

Transformed from a former Soviet sewing factory in Tbilisi, the capital city of Georgia, Fabrika Hostel with its 95 rooms is a place you can sleep, eat, drink, design, create, interact, discover and learn.

[Image Source: MUA]

By merging the traditional Georgian hospitality with industrial Soviet aesthetic and modern art, Fabrika Tbilisi quickly became a popular tourist spot, and a location for modern art, music and design. Fabrika Tbilisi holds various parties, graffiti festivals, cultural events, performances and much more. The most brilliant part is that you can rest, take a shower or just keep doing whatever you like to do during your visit.

You can just chill on huge pillows or spend some time in the ceramics studio. You can even have a glass of Georgian wine in the courtyard with industrial sewing machines around, or just pick up one of the dozens of vintage clothes produced in the factory between the late 80s and early 90s.

[Image Source: MUA]

Fabrika: a new spot for urban art scene

Fabrika was designed as a multi-functional urban space by Gogiko Sakvarelidze and Devi Kituashvili from Tbilisi-based company Multiverse Architecture, MUA. Interesting Engineering met Sakvarelidze and Kituashvili in their office, which is also located in the factory building.

Kituashvili says, before they found the factory building, they saw a few other places including a massive spiral shaped multi-storey car park. But when they found ‘Fabrika’ in a former industrial area of Tbilisi, they were immediately impressed by it.

[Image Source: MUA]

“We wanted to create a place for the artists. A place where studios would be located, so that artists could collaborate with each other. The building itself was a private property, so we had to buy it first. And artist studios were not attractive enough for the investors because, you know, it is a commercial project. So we started brainstorming to make this place more sustainable. That’s how the hostel idea came out.”

[Image Source: MUA]

A new generation urban culture place in a Soviet factory

Kituashvili says, although the main idea was creating a communal art space, they needed visitors to spend more time in Fabrika for it to become self-sustainable. So, they have added café’s, bars, restaurants and the hostel idea in the project, which now offers 95 rooms all designed with inspiration from the old-school Soviet architecture.

[Image Source: MUA]

Reconstruction process

Surely, creating a multi-functional place is not an easy task at all. Reconstruction is always a challenge itself. And for a massive and complex building, originally constructed in 4 eclectic parts at different times, it is especially difficult.

[Image Source: MUA]

Kituashvili says, a year ago there were just columns and pumice concrete around and one of the eldest blocks has a 12m span.

[Image Source: MUA]

“It was a challenge but we have experience in reconstruction as well as building from scratch. We made nine vertical penetrations in the building, had to move two evacuation staircases and two elevators to make a proper centration for the hostel, otherwise, it wouldn’t work. That’s already eight complete vertical penetrations.”

[Image Source: MUA]

Fabrika Hostel

To offer three different style options to visitors, architects had to change the planning of the upper floors entirely. While five apartment suites have an amazing view of Tbilisi, 44 private rooms and 49 shared dormitories reflect the Soviet soul in every tiny detail.

[Image Source: MUA]

From the tiles and linoleum covered floors to the switches and light units, designers kept the original spirit of the building as much as possible. Every corner where vintage furniture meets with minimal design becomes the perfect background for favorite Instagram pictures of “hipsters”.

[Image Source: MUA]

Interior design

Sakvarelidze says the main idea about the interior was to make people feel like they are really staying in a factory during the Soviet era. Although they had to change the doors and windows, which were completely worn-out, they replaced them with the replicas of original ones. Of course, with just a little brand new element, an electromechanical door lock.

[Image Source: MUA]

Vintage clothes produced in the factory

Although there are no written records, the locals told architects that the factory was pretty active during 1980’s and 90’s and produced high-quality clothes. But after the civil war in Georgia in the 90’s, the factory has just stopped working and no one never came back again. Thousands of brand new clothes that never got sold are now available at the store in Fabrika as well.

[Image Source: MUA]

Fabrika also has a hidden shelter, built after World War I, underneath the building. The shelter is still full of Soviet emergency kits, supplies, gas masks and so on. Architects are also planning to do something about it later.

[Image Source: MUA]

“The way you’re seeing it now, you’ll never see it again. It is still developing” says Kituashvili.

Surely, Fabrika is not the only project of MUA. The company is widely known for their other projects such as Lazika Municipality, Ozurgeti House of Justice, National Olympic Committee House, Tbilisi Seaside Apartments and moreover.

After all, it doesn’t matter if you are a backpacker or a bling-bling traveler. Fabrika offers an amazing experience in one of the most beautiful and oldest cities of Caucasia, and truly deserves a trip. To learn about more, follow Fabrika on Instagram and Facebook.