Top 10 Moscow Creative Art Spaces
It’s no surprise that being a rapidly developing metropolis, Moscow is trying to implement modern creative clusters in its infrastructure. Some of them could really boost your imagination. This wow effect is not experienced only by our foreign guests but also by the locals. This article is for art lovers, experienced travelers, adventure seekers, hipsters, artists, designers, urbanists, art collectors, treasure hunters, romantics and freaks.
1. ArtPlay, First Art Cluster In Moscow!
The rise of art clusters in Russia dates back to the early 2000s and ArtPlay is commonly known as the first one that appeared in this country (2003). These guys are really brave and persistent, they failed several times, were forced to change different locations before, in 2008, they finally moved to the former factory which had produced air gauges in the 19th and 20th centuries (aka Factory “Manometer”). Today Artplay forms an indispensable part of the capital and their brand is regarded as a prestigious and trusted one.
They reorganized and renovated old buildings of the factory and at the same time left the original brick-structure, that one of a loft. The main focus for Artplay is architecture and design, so today it hosts more than 70 creative studios and bureaus. There is a wide choice of finishing materials, furniture, lighting, etc, of very high quality.
Exhibition business is secondary to ArtPlay, but here you can attend amazing immersive shows or see diploma projects of the students of the British Higher School of Art and Design and meet them in person as one of our tourists did at Made in Moscow Arts Shopping tour (remember that they present them in early June).
This neighborhood is beloved by young and beautiful, full of cozy cafes (Fruits and Veggies, guys serve the best falafel in Moscow), shops with handmade souvenirs (Naivno? Ochen., a social project that helps autistic artists by selling souvenirs with their prints) and has filmable surroundings. So, be sure that you have enough space for hundreds of cool shots on your smartphone!
2. Winzavod (Wine factory)
Second largest art space in Russia. Unlike ArtPlay, its main priority is the art gallery business. It was founded by husband and wife Roman and Sofia Trotsenko in 2007, and Sofia is still the president of Winzavod. This art space is aimed at supporting young contemporary artists from all over Russia and offers lots of opportunities for young professionals to become known and recognizable. For instance, one such cool project is START. If you’re a young artist, you can fill in the application form and get the chance to be exposed for free in the center of Moscow for one month. What can be a better start in your career? Another project that is worth mentioning is The Wall. It deals with problems concerning graffiti culture in Russia. Street art is still illegal and there are very few spaces where graffiti artists can freely create art objects without fear of arrest. One more project, which I personally like is Open Studios. You can just pop into the gallery and watch young artists at work, maybe you’ll see the future masterpiece that will be sold for thousands of dollars. By the way, the entrance to almost all the galleries is free!
Winzavod is also a paradise for treasure hunters: here you can find showrooms of Russian and Georgian designers, buy unique silver jewelry, funny handmade badges, postcards, bags, etc. Vendors and owners are very friendly and you can even meet new friends there, as I did. See the picture below with Alexander, owner of Believe it or not shop with his gorgeous partner Brad Pitt.
After exploring galleries and workshops, grab a coffee, have a tasty lunch under the roof of the 19th-century mansion or enjoy a glass of good Russian wine (yes, we have it) sitting just inside of a former fermentation barrel!
3. Arma Business Neighborhood
A former gas plant, built-in 1865 and in the 2000s remodeled and turned into a modern business area with no special concept. But its beautiful brick buildings and round towers-gasholders gained popularity among photographers, hipsters, models, and artists. It’s also famous for Gasholder Club, which is adored by the gilded youth and lovers of rap and techno. One of the founders of this club and cognominal record label (Gasholder) is a well-known Russian rapper Basta (real name, Vasiliy Vakulenko).
4. Red October
Photo: Volodina Olga / Photobank Lory
This art space has a very tasty past because it used to be a chocolate factory. Now it’s a busy art center with different galleries, art studios, and workshops. There are also cool bars, cafes and restaurants (Gipsy Bar, Syrovarnya, Cafe 1316). During our Bike tour, we are passing by the Red October art cluster.
5. Flacon Design Factory
Their motto is “Do what you want” which means creativity without any limits. It occupies the territory of a former crystal glass factory and has many residents, from architecture bureaus, workshops, Russian media to barbershops, cafes, quests, and VR attractions. They host many events, open-air markets, and festivals. Unfortunately, this project will stop to exist on May 18, 2019. So, if you plan to go to Moscow before this date, it’s better to visit this space.
Photo: The Village.ru
A former bread-making plant that forms together with Flacon modern art district close to Dmitrovskaya metro station. Unfortunately, it will experience the same fate as above mentioned Flacon. That’s a real pity because the showrooms of Russian designers represented here are great and they produce clothes and accessories of high quality. Let’s hope that another, an even better project will be more successful.
7. ZIL Cultural Center
This constructivist building has a rich history and unique spaces. It was built in 1930-1937s and now is a cultural heritage site. Today it’s a multifunctional cultural center with regular exhibitions, performances, lectures, concerts and workshops, where you can meet and listen to scientists, culture and art experts. There is also a modern library with free access and a wide range of latest published books, several co-working zones with free wi-fi and sockets, nice cafes, a bookshop and shelves for bookcrossing.
One of the younger art spaces in Moscow (2016) occupies the territory of a former aircraft factory and has a creative atmosphere. They hold various lectures, fashion shows, and exhibitions. The nice option is to rent a stylish loft for a party and decorate it according to your taste and needs. The whole project is aimed at developing new ideas, so if you’re crazy, you’re welcome here!
Photo: Sergey Melikhov / Moslenta
Danilovskaya manufacture was built in 1867 and renamed after the revolution to M. V. Frunze Moscow cotton factory. Up to 2000 it still produced fabric and shawls. After restoration in 2011, the former factory was turned into a loft neighborhood. By the way, the office of Rambler&Co is located here.
This project appeared in 2005 and since 2008 Fabrika has been a member of an independent network of cultural centers Trans Europe Halls. They work with young and experienced artists and offer them exhibition spaces. Moreover, there is an international exchange program and contemporary artists all over the world can take part in it.
What is really important is that all of the above mentioned art districts are safe to explore on your own. But if you prefer a good company just ask us, ExploRussia is always happy to organize a tour for you!
by Maria Daianova, local guide