Łódź, a UNESCO city of film situated in central Poland, boasts a captivating blend of industrial heritage and avant-garde artistic history. This vibrant urban hub is home to numerous film studios, artists, and design agencies. Throughout the year, it pulsates with life, hosting a plethora of festivals. The city’s industrial legacy serves as the canvas for ambitious urban redevelopment initiatives, breathing new life into its identity through creativity and innovative design.

The urban area of Ksiezy Mlyn, situated in the city of Łódź, is currently undergoing a significant transformation. Regarded as a “laboratory of urban future,” the former industrial structures are being revitalised to attract new residents, tourists, and artists. The city’s vision is to create a modern and dynamic urban hub. However, these renovation plans appear to overlook the grave state of the heritage landscape. Due to the city’s industrial history, Łódź continues to grapple with severe air, soil, and water pollution, earning it a reputation as one of the most polluted cities in Europe. Additionally, climate change exacerbates the situation, leading to critical challenges such as droughts, floods, and urban heat island effects. 

In contrast, citizens’ proposals and movements evidence both the concern and compromise of the locals on pollution and environmental issues. PALIMPSEST aims to leverage Lodz’s traditional creative value to contribute to a sustainable transformation of the area. 

In this essence, the PALIMPSEST project looked for ideas that facilitate dialogue among different practices, communities and mindsets to co-create a sustainable future landscape in Łódź. Through an Open Call, the project invited Creative Agents (artists, landscape architects, and designers) to elaborate and develop creative proposals that (re)define traditional local practices towards a sustainable future for the local ecosystem. 

Freedom Flow. Be like water” by Mona El Batrik is the selected proposal for Łódź and a Residential Workshop is scheduled for the 18th-24th May 2024.

“Freedom Flow: Be like Water” proposes artistic installations in the Księży Młyn area for filtering water, cleaning air, and regenerating soil hybridising nature-based methods and vernacular approaches. With a central focus on co-designing with the local community and government representatives, the project aims to nurture connections with nature and to co-create long-lasting scenery of human-nature interaction. Highlighting a practical approach to regeneration, the outcome will integrate low-tech filtering systems by using natural materials and a design philosophy that supports sustainability.

During the Residential Workshop, the designer, along with PALIMPSEST partners and local stakeholders, will have the opportunity to immerse themselves in the Lodz context and challenge. Mona El Batik and the PALIMPSEST team will further develop the initial proposal toward its prototyping, interacting with the local actors – environmental activists, representatives from the Municipality, practitioners, and others – and practises the project builds from. 

Stay tuned to our social media channels to watch the Residential Workshop’s activities and follow the project’s progress!