History of the art centre

"Through industrialization into art!". That slogan can characterize tendentious phenomenon of modern Ukraine – involvement of industrial space in cultural and artistic life. Plants and factories that at the beginning of the twentieth century performed their functions as centers of industrialization, with the advent of the new millennium are used for other purpose: postindustrial society of rest turns them into huge entertainment centers.European experience of functional reconstruction of industrial space becomes popular in Ukraine, though the practice of placing the art centers in shopping and leisure centres is not widespread enough. The first attempt to integrate an art center within such institution became the art center of Jakob Grether, located on the territory of one of the largest shopping and entertainment centers of the capital "Cosmopolit", that appeared in place of the same plant, once the most powerful Kyiv industrial facility of industrialization era.

The plant history (which, by the way, got such a loud name only after the formation of the USSR) begins at the end of ’≤’century and is connected with the name of Swiss businessman Jakob Grether. In December, 1881, he bought in (then) the Kyiv outskirts Shulyavka 4.4 hectares of land and together with German engineer Philip Moser founded Kyiv Iron Foundry and Mechanical Plant, which had to produce equipment for sugar factories.

No more than ten years passed, as in 1888 Philip Moser withdrew his capital and Jakob Grether had to look for new investors. After the Polish magnates Lidke and Kuksh together with the graduate of Prague Polytechnical Institute Joseph Kryvanek had joined the enterprise, the factory was totally reconstructed in 1890, after that it turned into a leading supplier of equipment for enterprises of sugar industry. Widening the plant started to produce rails and suspension bridges, which had led to an unprecedented prosperity of Hreter offspring in the first decade of the twentieth century. Who knows what a giant power the plant could reach, if not the First World War.

From October, 1914 till April, 1915 Grether and Kryvanek plant worked only four days a week due to inflation and lack of many specialists recruited to the front. In a crisis situation the factory started producing artillery shells at the request of the government. Making sure that the chances and further development lacked, the shareholders had sold the factory and had left the Russian Empire covered by revolutionary ideas at that time. In 1918 the Bolsheviks nationalized the enterprise, and in 1922 named it "Bilshovyk".

After the collapse of the Soviet Union the plant began to gradually lose its power, many shops were found noncompetitive in the context of global market. The result of it were huge empty spaces in the centre of the capital, that at the beginning of ’’≤century started to function differently.

Thus, on September 15, 2010 in the shopping and entertainment center "Cosmopolit" in the territory of the former factory, which was founded by the Swiss businessman Jakob Grether almost one and a half century ago, a new art center appeared that bears his name.