Extraordinarily realistic mural wows Łódź with its vibrancy and gorgeous details
Already globally recognised for its stunning XL murals, the city of Łódź is again enjoying international exposure for its public art after a newly painted mural found itself going viral.
Found adorning the side of the Hotel Iness, the 3D work sucks viewers in as if they were gazing straight inside a pre-war building.
Premiering in mid-July, images of the mind-boggling mural have since flooded both social media and the art press.
Covering an area of 90 sq/m – modest given the size of some of the city’s murals – it’s not the project’s size that has enthralled the public, but rather its unique and captivating visual style.
Coined by Paweł Augustyniak, a popular photographer whose images have themselves often gone viral, the concept was born from his ongoing cooperation with the hotel.
Speaking to TFN, Augustyniak said: “I’ve worked with the hotel before, and 56 rooms are now decorated with large format photos of mine complete with QR codes containing information about the landmark and its location.”
The success of the project, says Augustyniak, prompted the hotel to invite him to propose an idea for its external wall.
“The idea I had was to showcase the hotel and history of the city – this felt especially important given that Łódź has just celebrated its 600th anniversary.
“Inside, my photos have been grouped thematically so you can see the city’s palaces, attractions, revitalised factories and abandoned spaces – the mural, I thought, could continue the story.”
Presenting a scene from the city’s industrial heyday, Augustyniak says he was directly inspired by the grand palatial residences that once belonged to industrialists such Karol Scheibler and Izrael Poznanski.
It was magnates such as these, after all, that were directly responsible for the city’s rapid growth during the Industrial Revolution.
Depicting an elegant turn-of-the-century palace, viewers are drawn into a different world – staring into the mural, we see a spectacular chandelier, marble columns, potted palms and a lavish stairwell decorated with golden balusters.
Taking people back to the times of author Władysław Reymont, cane-carrying gentlemen can be seen escorting gowned ladies with extravagant hats embellished with ostrich feathers.
Filled with quirky details, a small dog is seen padding town the stairwell. Upstairs, next to a vintage grandfather clock, an oil painting depicts the gateway of Manufaktura, the vast textile mill that made Poznanski his fortune.
“I wanted to highlight this amazing era for the city’s development,” says Augustyniak, “so I found myself referencing a lot of the photos I’ve taken before.”
Fetching as his idea has proved to be, Augustyniak has been quick to shift praise forward. “Working with murals has been a completely new experience for me,” he says, “so I’m indebted to the faith and trust that the Iness team showed in me.
“However, the project’s success all hinged on transferring the idea into a 3D reality and for that Studio Zahora were crucial – after they managed to create a 3D mesh, it was then the Warsaw-based Wallart mural firm that made it all come to life by painting it on the hotel.”
As remarkable as this ‘illusionary’ mural already is, further developments are in the pipeline and these stand to make it even more unique than it already is.
“Additionally, it’s going to be animated using AR applications that are available on mobile devices,” says Augustyniak. “Over 45-seconds, people will see the interior transform to its current form – the stairs and lamps will change into contemporary ones, even the clothes that the people in the mural are wearing will change.”
Regarded as one of the most dynamic murals of recent times, this could yet become one of the most boundary-pushing works the city has seen.
“I didn’t think the public would respond so positively, but the feedback has been brilliant,” says Augustyniak.
“Obviously, everyone involved has been really happy with that as we desperately wanted to do something for the city. As it is, Łódź is famous for its murals, so I think this definitely fits in with the city’s personality whilst also offering something different from the others.”