Art factory LOFTAS is a unique multifunctional venue hosting live concerts, electronic music raves, art exhibitions, fashion shows, conferences and more.
LOFTAS was opened in the former legendary electro-technics factory Elfa (the producer of tape records). The impetus for developing this maker space was strong need for creative spaces and experimentation.
LOFTAS was seen as a social innovation for event organization and cultural expression as opposed to traditional and often cheap “pop” places: bars, theaters, fancy night clubs concert halls. LOFTAS was the first initiative to revitalize and use abandoned post-industrial buildings. This initiative was the first successful attempt to open premises, where innovative projects can be implemented with no barriers or functional limits.
Now LOFTAS is one of the most popular creative hubs in Vilnius. It initiates various projects and organizes events involving designers, artists, creators, local communities and partnering organizations. Multifunctional spaces can be quickly transformed from large concert fall to many small rooms, adapted for exhibitions, film screening, seminars, etc. Functionality and mobility of the premises provides room for experimental cultural labs and innovative audiovisual projects.
Currently, the team consists of 20 people and more than 100 volunteers.
Evidence of success
Annually, LOFTAS manages to organize over 100 different events that are visited by more than 100 000 people (majority of them is organized by internal team).
LOFTAS has made a huge social and economic impact on the local community. It not only involved local residents in activities and projects, but actually contributed to revitalization of the surrounding area:small businesses, catering services, shops, playground, open gallery and many more services are now open to the local communities.
Potential for learning or transfer
The project can be replicated in any other city that has abandoned industrial buildings. LOFTAS applied highly adaptive model of activity that does not require high start-up funds and follows “bottom-up” approach instead. Re-using post-industrial sites and turning them into rapidly developing maker spaces enables artists, communities and creative operators to work and live in the same area. Such practices can be extremely influential in changing the social and environmental climate in the city.
LOFTAS is clear evidence that investment in culture can cause a chain reaction in the surrounding area. This initiative not only caused a revitalization of Newtown district itself (with new hotels, restaurants, shops being built around), but also gave rise to Uptown Community Movement that aims to gather local community and encourage them to develop a unique common identity and a vision for urban development of the Uptown district.