The façade and the courtyard of Plac Bankowy 1 were redesigned by a renowned Polish scenographer Allan Starski, an Oscar winner for his work on Schindler’s List, one of Steven Spielberg’s films. Allan Starski’s visionary imagination transformed former Hotel Saski into a first-rate business complex. The style of the place is truly unique, offering the neo-Renaissance façade of the palace on one side and the bare-brick veneer of the building on the other. In this special place new styles and up-to- date engineering solutions are smoothly combined with the old spirit and complexity of Polish history.
I designed the courtyard of Plac Bankowy 1 implementing the same method which I use when I work on my film scenography designs. The place does not copy or mirror a particular place which already exists. I used and exploited varied forms known from architecture, putting a lot of effort in creating a consistent, yet obviously eclectic picture. I truly hope that this exceptionally unusual space inside the whole complex, open to all prospective passers-by, shall be accepted by them and interesting for the citizens of Warsaw as well as guests from all over the world.
The vital part of the newly arranged Plac Bankowy 1 is the open-access courtyard. Granite-paved and lit with stylish lanterns is a vivid example of how smoothly can old architecture be blended with new hi-tech trends. On the ground floor of the building there is the EDF hairdresser’s salon, the first men-only The Hermit Barber Shop and an exclusive Madison Avenue boutique, which sells Brooks Brothers brand clothing.
Der Elefant restaurant has operated since 1990 here, having become a unique and exceptionally popular spot on the culinary map of Warsaw.
All restoration works at Plac Bankowy 1 were carried out in accordance with recommendations indicated by a conservation officer. Maintaining the historic character of the building, as well as finesse of details of the original design, were of paramount importance throughout the process. Henryk Laguna, an architect of the MAAS designing studio, is the author of Plac Bankowy’s new design. Michał Borowski, a former Warsaw’s chief urban architect, supervised all works. Today, the charm and splendour of classicistic style merge with the modernity and comfort of a newly-designed building.
Stylish garrets have been added over the top floor and a new wing has been built on the side of the Capitol Theatre. A two-level underground car park that can accommodate up to 50 cars has been constructed. 5 modern lifts have been installed.
Sandstone balcony corbels with acanthus leaves decorated scrolls are especially worth noting for their masterly accomplished stonework. In the north risalit a fine cornice with a Ionian cymatium and a Corinthian order pommel of the pilaster draw viewers’ attention.