City of Sopot in northern Poland was already a famous town and popular tourist destination in 2001, when Mr & Mrs Szotyński ( Lead Architects of Szotyscy & Zaleski, Architecture Firm that based in Gdańsk ) were tasked with drawing designs for a shopping mall “Residents SA investment company” was developing in that city.
The beautiful sea side town had been around since 12 century, then as a village and later commercial outpost for cities along vistula river and northern cities along Baltic coast. The spa for the citizens of Gdańsk in Sopot also had been active since the 16th century. The spa become so popular that it’s become norm for magnates of Gdańsk and beyond to built holiday mansions in Sopot through out 16th and 17th centuries.
The town was annexed by Kindom of Prussia in early 18th century and town’s popularity was affected by various wars through out that century. But by the dawn of the next century, the spa was reopned again and in 1823, Dr. Jean Georg Haffner, a former medic of the French army opened a public bath to promote re-established Spa. It began to attract many vacationers and other attractions and facilities such as public sanatorium, theatre, hotels, park, pier & cloakrooms were built around town through out the century to lure more visitors.
By the beginning of 20th century, the town was accessible via rail road from many cities across the region including Berlin. It was a favourite spa of Emperor Wilhelm II of Germany and very popular holiday resort for the inhabitants of nearby Danzig, as well as wealthy aristocrats from Berlin, Warsaw, and Königsberg.
Of course there were set backs and changes of authorities during two world wars and slower progress during communist era in 20th century. But the town continue to grow and witnessed the openings of new theatre , new yearly festival, new baths, new casino, new hotels , new restaurants & many new establishments through out the century. The town gotten busier and busier as well welcoming the growing international visitors.
So by 2001, the town has firmly established itself as top holiday destination, boast longest wooden pier in whole of Europe and Monte Cassino, the Main Street of the town that lead to that beautiful pier, was already the most famous walking street in Poland.
Monte Cassino was filled with coolest of bars, restaurants and clubs and always busy with tourists from around the globe. It’s the street you must walk past to reach to main Centre Square of the town and pier. It was always buzzing with shows, music and colorful people. And although not known at the time, it was on the corner of this street and Morska Street that one of the most photographed buildings in the world was about to be erected.
So back to the beginning of our story in 2001 and the top architects of Szotyscy & Zaleski Architecture Firm and the project they been handed. The designs of the little shopping center on Monte Cassino Street.
Since the beginning, they were given freedom to create whichever design they see fit. So they decided to draw up something special, something extraordinary and something that’s gonna challenge even the laws of physics.
There were three very important persons they credited with for inspiring them to draw those daring designs. You may have and will read many articles about this building and design it’s based on, apparently because of the great interests of the public this building generate. But sadly Most of them provide only the very basic information and only named one or two sources of inspirations .
So it is my great honor to mention all those three here. They are
1) Per Oscar Gustav Dhalberg , born July 7, 1953 in Torshälla, A Swedish graphic artist, painter and sculptor and doctor of philosophy , who settled down in Sopot. Dahlberg’s organic, curved architectural depictions were the no 1 source of inspiration.
2) Jan Marcin Szancer (12 November 1902 – 21 March 1973) . He was a Polish illustrator, scenographer and professor at the Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw. His fairytale illustrations also inspired the architects of the building now known through out the world as Krzywy Domek ( Crooked House, in English)
3) The legend and hero of million of architects, Antoni Gaudí i Cornet, born 25 June 1852 – 10 June 1926. A Spanish Catalan architect from Reus best known as practitioner of Catalan Modernism. Gaudí’s works reflect an individualized and distinctive style and all of us at least know his magnum opus, the Sagrada Família in Barcelona.
His buildings and designs ( most notably Casa Milá ) also greatly inspired the design of Krzywy Domek. Since it’s opening, a lot of people had asked one same question again and again about two big trees blocking the view of this architectural wonder. And no Website has ever given the right answer until this second.
Have a look at El Mas de la Calderera, home of the Gaudí family in Riudoms and you will understand how much impact Gaudí had on Krzywy Domek and the architectures behind it.
Thanks to those inspirations and the brains behind the designs, this dreamy crooked house became reality three years later and became an instant sensation worldwide.
By now in 2017, most of you already know from other articles , news and websites that since it’s grand opening in 2004 , this 4000 square meter shopping establishment especially its facade had been photographed millions of time by visitors passing through Sopot and Monte Cassino street.
You also know that this Cartooish twisted house has also sparked many debates among architects, photographers and travelers of the world since it was revealed to the general public. But since I am not an expert on anything, I won’t even try to discuss about designs or angles to take pictures or weather you should go see it or not . But following are what this cool little thing got to offer and some of my opinions.
– About those trees blocking the view , not so bad , u can still see it is crooked but if you want better view, go visit in autumn and winter ❄️
– I do like the outside sitting areas coffee shops facing the streets and restaurants and bars inside the building offer. Food also pretty adequate. Sushi shop pretty ok.
– A few shops inside including fashion shops , watch shop, souvenir shops, antique shop, book store ect ect but this is not Westfield or Mall of America or any other big malls you have been to, so not so many shops, although inside the mall is bigger than you think. a couple of massage chairs too.
– Also a home to a radio station and many offices which unless u have business with them not really important.
– Cool bars and club with good vibes , obviously not for family and gentlemen club there too that might bother you. You will also see few other clubs like that along the street anyway but it isn’t no full on red district like Pattaya’s walking street. Also, you will more likely to pop in there during day time on your way to beautiful pier, so … so not major issue, just a little heads up!
– They have walls dedicated to signatures of famous people that had visited the place and illustrations that inspired the building.
– That’s about it, personally I love this mall , that wonky facade is cute and bring out the kid in you who loved cartoon and animation and wished hard that they would come alive … well I know it’s not like they have come alive and this is just cartoonish crooked home but still exciting to see something you don’t see everyday.
– What they have got inside also was good enough for me. Am sure you would too love to see the drawings that are seed of the building you are in or sit in the outside seating area and chill for a while or browse through or buy one or two different fashion offering.
– In the age of Instragram, You surely know that this is one cool place you have to take photo of or with from outside and some may think it’s enough. But if you have more time, the inside of the building is as cute as the outside and NOT a total waste of time ! the interior designs, shops and restaurants inside are charming and interesting too in my opinion.
So On Your next travel to this historic and beautiful town , put this crooked darling on your packed travel itinerary and spend enough time outside and inside of it.
Because some people , despite many other attractions around town, have come to Sopot just to visit this Melted Mall !
Written by Jennifer Curtis ( Shoppifo)