Gigi is an architect, and founder of Fabrika, probably the most popular creative space in Tbilisi. It features a hostel, restaurants, boutiques, bars, co-working spaces, studios etc. and offers a calendar of workshops, exhibitions, flea markets, music festivals, social events. And all this is set in an old Soviet sewing factory, connecting old with new.
Gigi and some of his friends got the idea for Fabrika in 2014, as they were missing a common area where the creative, forward-looking Georgian youth could hang out, work, party and meet people from all around the world. “When we first presented our plans about refurbishing that old factory in Nadzaladevi district, people were laughing at us. Back then, many people would not even cross the river, let alone hang out in this run down quarter.” Nadzaladevi is full of crusty fin de siècle buildings, that had been turned into Soviet kommunalkas (communal living quarters) and were subsequently left to decay during the chaos of the 1990s. With the founding of Fabrika, the quarter was rediscovered and “now the whole neighbourhood is developing”, said Gigi. This is not surprising, considering the eclectic collection of unique architectural gems in the area.
Fabrika attracts lots of foreign visitors, too. Especially Poles, Ukrainians, Scandinavians and Western Europeans. But apparently, the largest single group are Germans. In fact, Berlin was the main inspiration for Fabrika and “the main city of inspiration for most young creative Georgians”, according to Gigi, whose sister used to work at the Bavarian state opera in Munich as an opera singer for a long time, living in Georgenstraße in Schwabing.