Underground pet food factory wows with innovative blending of ‘landscape and architecture’ – but wait til you see inside!
Established to “investigate the boundary between landscape and architecture”, a Warsaw-London-based studio has charmed the international design press after revealing plans for what is being dubbed as “the factory of the future”.
Designed for the pet food firm EcoPet, the factory will be located close to Lublin and will serve as the company’s packaging base.
Merging considerations for the landscape with the latest tech innovations, the plant will feature underground facilities and a ground-level visitor’s centre enveloped with grass.
Blending seamlessly into the surroundings, it’s hoped that the pioneering project will act as a blueprint for other firms looking for factory space solutions.
According to Unism, the project – created in collaboration with ARUP – has been a practical response to the challenges presented by the geography of the plot.
“The site is positioned in a narrow gully with a topographical difference of six-metres,” said Unism. “This peculiar landscape created an opportunity to propose a subterranean factory blended with the environment.”
On the ground level, ample space has been left for a visitor centre that Unism described as being “the very heart of the design”, and this will specifically demonstrate the advancements that have been made in eco packaging.
Billed as “a sinuous lobby space topped with a large, circular ceiling light illuminating a central geological display,” it will be complemented with an ambient waiting area arranged around the display that will feature a café and refreshment zone for those visiting the factory.
Featuring undulating lines and crisp, clear colour schemes, this level will also house conference and office facilities with the latter touting floor-to-ceiling windows to allow for views of the factory below.
Arranged in a linear format, and built to include clearly demarcated areas for raw materials, production, and the storage of finished products, the factory area has been designed to be as future-facing as the rest of the plant with Unism working closely with the client and their technology consultants so as to create a space that will maximise output through its use of autonomous mobile robots.
Significantly, the two-level nature of the plant will reduce noise not just from the factory itself, but also outside by allowing for quiet walking trails to be kept distinctly separate from the transport vehicles arriving.
Constructed with the wider area in mind, the wider masterplan will include a campus hosting commercial facilities and housing that will respect the intimate scale of the neighbouring villages.
Working with the local authorities, Unism have further sought to identify other potential sites that can be developed as well as existing infrastructure that can be updated to meet the green credentials of this project.
Covering an area of 13,000 sq/m – and a site area of 30,000 sq/m – the EcoPet investment has been met with excitement for the manner in which it has balanced the demands of contemporary light industry with the need to respect the planet.
This, however, is not the first time Unism have hit the headlines in the design press. Last year, the studio sparked a buzz after coining the design for an underground showroom for Europe’s largest collection of Aston Martins just outside Warsaw.
Previously, the firm won praise after creating a ‘levitating’ outdoor theatre in Bronice.
Currently in progress, the EcoPet plant is not their only concern in the small village of Drzewce.
Positioned under 30 kilometres from Lublin, other forthcoming designs that stand to be executed include a bottling plant for Cisowianka and a multi-functional building for EcoCap.