An organization of passionate Liberec locals have managed to breathe life back into the Warsaw Theater, the city’s last standing stone cinema, an art deco gem built by German architects in 1922.
Facing competition from an influx of multiplexes, the city of Liberec shuttered the cinema, which had been neglected since the 1960s, in 2008; in 2012 it was up for sale due to a municipal budget crisis.
The civic assocation Let’s Save the Warsaw Cinema (Zachraňme KINO Varšava) was launched by concerned locals in response.
The group, comprised of Liberec-based filmmakers, musicians, architects, and history buffs, made it their mission to protect an “amazing and architecturally valuable building” and promote urban cinema.
Their efforts paid off; despite dire conditions and structural damage upon takeover, the group was able to start operating the cinema again.
This month saw the completion of the renovation of the cinema cafe (Kinokavárna). The original brass lighting and decorative stuccos were preserved and restored, while a massive oak entrance and bar made from local granite were installed.
All the while respectfully maintaining the original spirit of the venue, say the project’s leaders.
With generous contributions from sponsors, funding by the city council, and support from dedicated volunteers the space has become a vibrant culture center, even hosting a recent TEDx talk.
The association hopes to continue repairing other areas of the iconic cinema and is currently hosting a rich line-up of exhibits and screenings this summer.
For an complete overview or to contribute to the restoration see here.