Modernists Outraged! Modernists Outraged!

Architecture buffs and urban conservationists were left outraged after a protected building found itself temporarily redecorated with a lace-like pattern by the famed Polish street artist NeSpoon. Touting a cosmic form inspired by the Soviet Union’s forays into space, the former ticket booth at PKP Powiśle was completed in 1963 to a design by Piotr Szymaniak and Arseniusz Romanowicz (who would later go on to design Dworzec Centralny) and has since been described by critics as a ‘pearl of modernism’.

A cult port-of-call on any tour of post-war architectural gems, the saucer-shaped building has also played a key role in the artistic life of the city: appearing in a video recorded in 2002 by cult band Super Girl & Romantic Boys, it was later revived as the popular Warszawa Powiśle dive bar. For many, it was here that Warsaw’s hipster movement was first born a decade or so ago.

The artsy leanings linger to this day, and whilst NeSpoon’s revamp was both a legal and temporary artistic expression, the facelift caused widespread horror among leading municipal figures. “It’s bad!” wrote Michał Krasucki, the city’s chief conservator. “Decorating the ceiling with lace completely misses its sublime and ethereal character and spoils the minimalism of this architecture.” Having sparked a brief storm on social media, the structure has now been returned to its original pristine color.

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