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Villa Wincent - a business trip in modernist interiors

31 of December '20

Once the building of a pre-war boarding house by the sea, later lodging apartments, today Willa Wincent is one of the most fashionable hotels in the Tri-City.

photo by PION photography

The building houses 24 rooms - from compact rooms for single travelers to suites with a private terrace overlooking the bay. Villa Wincent was designed by architects Maciek Ryniewicz and Rafal Kaletowski. They were inspired by the exhibition on the birth of Gdynia at the City Museum and the simplicity and functionalism of modernism. Plus the design of the 1930s, which provided inspiration for Polish design of the 1950s and 1960s.

seaside guesthouse

The Villa Wincent building was erected in 1929 on the initiative of Maria Kozierowska at the corner of what was then Boczna and Lesna Streets. At the time it was to serve as guest rooms. Unfortunately, the war thwarted the owner's plans, beginning a turbulent period in the history of the building. During the war, soldiers were quartered there, and during the communist period it housed lodging apartments. In 2016, three Gdynia entrepreneurs, bought the decaying tenement house. From land records and archives, hitherto unknown elements of the villa's history then emerged. The owner's original dream of creating a seaside guesthouse has just been brought to life. Willa Wincent is one of the most fashionable places in the Tri-City.

- When we first saw the building, and this was in the winter of 2016, it resembled a vacant lot. Moments earlier, only one family lived there. Some of the windows had broken glass, and the plaster of the facade was cracking and falling off," says architect Maciej Ryniewicz in an interview on

The architects were keen to save as much of the character and details of the old architecture as possible. The interior design was based on the simplicity and functionalism of 1930s modernism, and it was possible to recover the historic wooden staircase, solid steps, handrail and balustrade. On the floor, treads and floors oak herringbone. Under the many layers of oil paint, they discovered the beautiful drawing of irregular wood grains.

photo PION photography

colored modernism

The architects faced the challenge of how to preserve as much of the original fabric as possible, while creating a completely original design. The result is surprising. Beautiful elements of the building have been meticulously restored. Similar materials and motifs appear in the author's designs for furniture and interior details.

The interiors are also filled with colors that have nothing to do with pre-war modernism, but instead make them hard to forget. Emerald green, mustard yellow, wine red.

- We wanted to break up the whiteness of the walls and the grayness of the moldings, bringing in some color still so rare in apartment interiors. We chose several colors that run throughout the building - each time in different proportions and combinations. As a result, all rooms and apartments have their own unique character. We cut out the repetitiveness so characteristic of hotels," says Ryniewicz. - This is because we wanted to create the impression that this space is an apartment, not a hotel or boarding house. That's why each of the 24 interiors has designer furniture and an impressive collection of vintage design, the architect points out.
Willa Wincent

photo by PION photography

unique accessories

Which of the interior elements does not let you forget about yourself? On the third floor, in the apartment stands a beautiful armchair with horns, probably the only such piece in Poland. It is a faithful replica of the iconic design by Professor Edmund Homa. The designer moved to Gdynia right after his studies. He created distinctive neon signs, signboards and storefronts for the city. In the Tri-City he also continued his career at the Gdansk Academy of Fine Arts. In the 1960s, he worked for the Furniture Factory in Goscicino, where he specialized in seats. And although he was internationally successful, it was in Gdynia that he lived until the end of his life.

Marta Kowalska

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