The right bank of the Vistula River has huge potential – it is the direction in which Warsaw will develop in the areas of culture, science and business. Having an office here, in the vicinity of SWPS University, the iconic Soho neighbourhood and Sinfonia Varsovia is something exceptional. It is this location that has been chosen for the new Warsaw office of JWP Patent and Trademark Attorneys.
The corner of Mińska and Podskarbińska Streets has its own history. In the years 1949-1950, a three-storey office building, as designed by Stanisław Zaleski and Jerzy Brandysiewicz, was built here. It constituted a part of an extensive complex of buildings of one of the largest Polish printing houses Zakłady Poligraficzne im. Rewolucji Październikowej (the October Revolution Printing Works). It housed offices and a kindergarten for employees’ children. The building, designed in a modernist style characteristic of the 1950s, is decorated with an original sgraffito of a griffin – a symbol of printers – placed on the façade.
Following the closing of the printing house, its former buildings began to fall into ruin. Some of them were demolished and a modern housing estate was built in their place. The office building at 75 Mińska Street, under the care of a heritage conservator, awaited a new owner and investor.
Dorota Rzążewska recalls the beginning of work on the new JWP office: “I was shown a building in a state of ruin, requiring a complete renovation, burned out inside. I was also told that it was entered in the register of historical monuments… There were many arguments that discouraged me from investing in it. However, I remember the moment when I was standing vis a vis the staircase and looked at it. It delighted me, the space, the stairs… It is indeed a historic building, and the 1950s in Warsaw’s architecture were fascinating. I thought it would be worthwhile to have it restored to public space and create a modern office for our law firm in those historical interiors.
What is funny, only later, when renovation work was in progress and older fragments of the building were uncovered, I realized that this building used to house huge printing works where I had been carrying paper reams as part of my mandatory worker traineeship during my first year of law studies at the University of Warsaw. History has come full circle.”
This complicated and risky project was carried out by the architect Wojciech Godziński and owing to close cooperation with the heritage conservator, it was possible to conduct renovation works smoothly and efficiently. As Wojciech Godziński recalls: “Karolina Grams, who renovated the griffin, uncovered original layers of plaster, which helped us determine the original colour of the façade and to refine it a little at the stage of construction works to make the colour vibrant. The contractor was not happy that the works were delayed, but until I was sure that the colours were right, we did not go any further. (…) Interestingly, from the car park area, there used to be a connector to another building that no longer exists. The place which is an avant-corps at the moment is where the old T-shaped building used to stand. I was wondering what to do to make it seem as if this connector had never existed. The solution turned out to be not that difficult to find and we managed to make an entrance which blended with the existing forms. We also included a ramp for disabled access, even though we had been told that the heritage conservator would object. However, we had followed recommendations and, after one conversation with the conservator, it appeared that it was not a problem at all. We only had to arrange the space in such a way to make it seem that it had always been like that.”
The works were carried out during the pandemic, and at the end of it, the outbreak of the war in Ukraine led to the reduction the main contractor’s staff by 70%. Wojciech Godziński recalls: “The project was very uncertain when it came to formal and legal matters and the investor’s attitude played a crucial role – her trust in us and great determination.
Finally, in 2022, the renovation was completed, and the building as an architectural attraction of right-bank Warsaw was presented in Ilustrowany Atlas Architektury Grochowa GRO (The Illustrated Atlas of Grochów Architecture, GRO] (Centrum Architektury, 2023). According to the authors of the publication: “Today, the office building (…) may be a perfect example of a successful modernization of a socialist realist building, carried out according to the conservator’s guidelines. (…) From the nearby square, you can admire a beautifully cleaned sandstone façade with an original sgraffito by Miron Grześkiewicz (renovated by Karolina Grams, 2021). The mythical Picasso-styled griffin – a coat of arms of printers – has probably never been so exposed or appreciated. The secret of the new project is that the griffin is also featured on the wall inside the building, as designed by Studiostudio.” The building is located on the route of architectural walks organized in the Grochów district, which attract a lot of interest.
Currently, the beauty of the modernist architecture can be enjoyed not only by local residents or guests of the Młody Grochów Bistro & Event restaurant located on the ground floor. Since 26 October 2023, two floors of the building have been occupied by JWP Patent and Trademark Attorneys, JWP Attorneys at Law and the JWP Foundation. In the interiors specifically adapted to JWP’s needs, there are separate rooms for individual teams and conference rooms. In the basement of the M75 building, there is also an area for meetings, debates and events. Recently, it has hosted Grochowskie Rozmowy (Grochow Conversations) – inspiring debates on current topics that attract more and more individuals from the neighbourhood. The first debate concerned the Barbie film and the other one focused on cultural life on the right bank of the Vistula River, and both were fascinating. The next meeting will be devoted to AI. JWP Attorneys at Law will also use this space to carry out educational activities popularizing knowledge on the protection of IP rights and discuss new technologies. Here, too, in December, in a large group of friends, JWP’s employees and clients will celebrate our move to the new location.
We are starting a new chapter in JWP’s history – this time on the right bank of the Vistula, in the unique M75 building, which combines history with modernity. Brought back to public space, the building not only pleases the eye with the beauty of restored architecture, but also provides a great meeting place for the people working here, the local community and our friends.