Creative clusters in Moscow
Today’s creative industry includes jewelry manufacturing, printing, publishing, cinema, television, radio, information technology, program development, the production of musical instruments, architecture, design, photography, creative education, and so on. In many countries, the creative industry is producing a sizeable share of all exports. This share amounts to 4.87% in the UK, 5.46% in India, 6.06% in Germany, 7.99% in the US, and 31.9% in China.
Moscow is the largest creative center in Russia, and a significant one globally as well. The city is home to 153,000 companies operating in the creative industry, and they employ nearly 500,000 people – that’s 14% of all people working in the creative industry in Russia. According to data from the Analytical Center for the Government of the Russian Federation, the creative sector’s share in Moscow’s gross regional product amounts to 9.5%. That’s two times higher than the average in Russia, which is just 5%. Many creative industries are experiencing an annual growth of 20% or higher.
Moscow’s creative industry is concentrated in creative spaces. Former industrial buildings – warehouses and factories – have been renovated and are transforming into creative workshops. They’re places for like-minded people and work spaces for freelancers. They host lectures, exhibitions, and markets. In this overview, we’ve included some of the most noteworthy creative clusters in Moscow, from giant modern art centers to smaller but interesting spaces.
GARAGE / Museum of Contemporary Art
- Address: Krymsky Val 9, bldg 32, Gorky Park
- Hours: 11:00-22:00
- Website: garagemca.org/ru
Established in 2008 by Daria Zhukova and Roman Abramovich, Garage is the first philanthropic organization in Russia aimed at the development of arts and culture. Garage’s extensive exhibition, education, and publishing program reflects relevant trends in Russian and international culture, opening up new opportunities for public dialogue and the creation of new works of art.
On May 1, 2014, the Garage Center for Contemporary Culture changed its name to the Garage Museum of Contemporary Art, which reflects the main goal of the Museum – to introduce the general public to the works of living artists and materials on the history of art. On June 12, 2015, Garage moved to its first permanent building to Gorky Park, in the very heart of Moscow.
The Museum houses a bookstore with the best selection of art books and magazines, as well as Garage souvenirs that are made in Moscow (check out the “Made in Moscow” stamp), including goods produced jointly with artists. There is a cosy cafe with original cuisine, a summer terrace and breakfast items you can order any time of day.
The Garage museum archive, which was established in 2012, is the largest collection in the world dedicated to the study of processes that have taken place in Russian art from the 1950s on. The archive currently stores over 500 000 items, including documentary materials about art life in Moscow, Saint Petersburg, and other cities in Russia. The archive is a platform for international research projects (conferences, exhibitions, seminars, and publications) and a center that accumulates and disseminates knowledge about contemporary Russian art all over the world. In 2017, the Museum initiated the establishment of the online platform RAAN (Russian Art Archive Network), which grants access to digitized documents from the archives to RAAN partners all over the world.
FLACON / Design factory
- Address: Bolshaya Novodmitrovskaya 36, m. Dmitrovskaya
- Website: flacon.ru
Flacon design factory is one of the best creative clusters in Moscow and home to a wide range of projects in the spheres of art, education, and creative industries. Flacon brings together a community of people who work in creative industries and design.
The design factory was created on the territory of the former crystal glass factory and became the first industrial zones restoration project outside the historical buildings of Moscow. The initial lack of a framework is in many ways responsible for its unique nature. Flacon has become a powerful platform for new projects, creative self-expression, and socio-cultural initiatives. It is not by chance that Flacon’s atmosphere fully corresponds with its motto: “Make what you want!”
The organizers decided to preserve the former factory premises they inherited as much as possible and make space for creative companies who want to be in an open and creative atmosphere. The factory’s spaces are never empty – the infrastructure allows people to hold small private parties or massive urban holidays. Sites on the territory of 25 000 square meters can easily accommodate different formats: you can rent an office for several months or work for one day in a well-equipped two-story space.
Flacon Coworking is a two-level space 400 square meters with 72 workplaces. Tenants have the opportunity to work in comfortable conditions, take part in interesting and promising projects, and meet like-minded people. In six years, Flacon Coworking has become a place with its own pool of residents – companies and freelancers who rent spaces for 3 months or more. Most residents are developers or designers.
Because Flacon Coworking is located on Flacon’s territory, its residents can enjoy the entirety the design factory’s infrastructure: cafes and restaurants, a beauty salon and a SPA-salon, craft workshops and creative workshops for children of different ages.
Flacon’s open-air platform Action Park hosts a number of events in the summer: sports events, picnics, and city holidays. There is a bar area, a swimming pool with sun beds and umbrellas, and a shower.
FABRIKA / Center for creative industries
- Address: Perevedenovsky pereulok 18, m. Baumanskaya, Elektrozavodskaya
- Hours: Tue-Sun 12:00- 20:00 for exhibition halls (entry is free)
- Website: www.proektfabrika.ru
Fabrika operates on the site of the former Soviet Oktyabr Factory, which started producing paper for technical purposes in 1924: raw materials for printing, tracing paper, drawing paper, and more. However, the history of the factory space itself began much earlier – back in the 1870s
In 2005 an art space called PROEKT_FABRIKA was created here for non-commercial creative projects. Today, it is the Center for Creative Industries. Fabrika is the only example of peaceful coexistence of art and manufacturing in Moscow. The center brings together workshops and studios from various creative industries, from design and architecture to theater, cinema, animation, and music. In 2008, the project became a member of the international network of independent cultural centers Trans Europe Halls.
Fabrika has united representatives from different creative industries: there is the famous publishing house Ad Marginem, brothers Ja’bagh sand Zak Kaghado, director, producer, and culinary expert Felix Schultess (Teatro del gusto), artists and head of Piranesi LAB Alexey Veselovsky, and Nikita Virronen’s workshop. The Liquid Theatre company (a two-time recipient of the Golden Mask award), Big Cartoon Festival, Exprompt theatre, and Rupor independent theatre group are all based here. There are regular theatre performances and concerts organized by the STEPS art space in the assembly hall.
Fabrika is split up into several thematic spaces. The large and bright “Olivier” room can be used to hold exhibitions, performance, and theatre productions. The “Arthouse” space was created for film screenings. “Finishing Shop” is designed for festivals, fairs, and concerts. In addition, there is an assembly hall and the so-called “Residence” – a specially equipped space to prepare a variety of creative projects, where you can even rent living quarters if you wish.
WINZAVOD / Center for Contemporary Art
- Address: Moscow, 4th Syromyatnicheskiy Pereulok 1/8, bldg.6, m. Kurskaya, Chkalovskaya
- Hours: exhibitions and galleries: Tue–Sun – 12:00–20:00, information center and souvenir shop: daily – 10:00–22:00, ticket booths: Tue–Sun – 12:00–19:30
- Website: http://winzavod.ru
The first and largest private modern art center in Russia that brings together galleries, educational programs, studios, workshops, and showrooms. Winzavod’s projects encompass all cultural spheres, supporting talented people and introducing the audience to new trends and art formats. Winzavod also houses the Foundation for the Support of Contemporary Art, which focuses on breaking in new artists and education.
The Winzavod Center for Contemporary Art is located on the territory of an old combine of grape and dessert wines – the former “Moscow Bavaria” brewery. The history of the factory dates back to the beginning of the 19th century. At that time, a brewery was opened on the estate of Princess Ekaterina Volkonskaya. In the 1840s, the factory was the second largest in Moscow. In the 1870s and 80s, the plant passed into the possession of the joint stock company Moscow Bavaria (Russian Association of Beer and Medovar in Moscow), owned by brothers Ivan and Kirill Tarusin. In 1889 the Moscow combine of grape and dessert wines was founded here. It produced its own products from fruits and berries and poured grape wines brought from Crimea and from the Caucasus.
At the end of the 20th century, the plant closed up shop, and the Winzavod Center for Contemporary Arts opened its doors here in 2007.
Originally, the space was used exclusively as galleries for exhibitions of artists, architects, photographers, sculptors and other representatives of creative professions. But since there was still a lot of free space theater-goers, poets, and musicians quickly started to reach out. By 2010, Winzavod became one of the most popular leisure places for young people. The infrastructure of the complex has expanded significantly and today consists of galleries, two dozen shops, educational workshops, and unusual cafes.
In 2019, Winzavod has been creating more opportunities for professionals who are just starting out in the creative industry. Winzavod has determined that its key objective is to establish a new circle of professionals in the art system. The first area of focus brings together START projects – a unique platform that serves as a career ladder for young artists (and the new format START.Pop-up), open Winzavod studios, and the STENA project – an open discussion club that covers internal and external problems of graffiti culture. The second area of focus combines the Generation Art Leadership Program of internships for managers, designers, and PR professionals, the Art Critique Lab and Journalism Lab, the Philosophy Club, and Winzavod.Open.
DANILOVSKAYA MANUFAKTURA / Loft district
- Address: Varshavskoye Shosse 9, m. Tulskaya
- Website: dm1867.ru/business.php
The loft district is occupied by buildings of an old weaving factory, which was founded in 1867 and produced cotton, cotton print fabrics and scarves, and had its own dyeing industry. It quickly became famous not only throughout Russia, but also abroad, having received various honors and awards.
Today, it’s not only a B class business center, but a building with architecture that deserves special attention – noble brickwork in the spirit of a classic New York loft, a stylish attic and a stove in the reception room. The courtyard of the loft hosts food markets and other events.
The process of transforming the quarter took several years and turned it from an abandoned factory into one of the most iconic spots on the capital’s business map. It embodies all the latest trends in urban planning, creating a truly comfortable urban space. At the same time, the original architectural style of the 19th century industrial revolution has been fully preserved and restored. As there are no two people or companies alike, there are no similar buildings or lofts at Danilovskaya Manufactory. It currently houses 12 buildings – each with its own history, original layout, interiors and exteriors. There is a unique space for any business.
RED OCTOBER / Art Cluster
- Address: Beresnevskaya Naberezhnaya 6, m. Kropotkinskaya, Tretyakovskaya
- Hours: 24/7
- Website: www.redok.ru
The Red October factory is major landmark in Moscow. The factory complex was established over the course of 25 years and the ensemble includes 23 structures in total. Once upon a time, the factory here provided a huge country with chocolate and sweets, but has since moved to a location outside the city center. Now, a new bohemian center has sprung up on the site. It’s the city’s hub for trendy clubs, restaurants, offices of successful companies, art galleries and exhibition halls.
The cluster was opened in 2007 on an island surrounded by the Moscow River on one side and the Vodootvodny Channel on the other. A development project was successfully implemented on this territory and the Red October art cluster was created. The Patriarchal pedestrian bridge connects it to the rest of the capital. From the side of the island, there is a beautiful view of the Cathedral of Christ the Savior and the Kremlin. All pedestrian tourist routes in the center of Moscow eventually lead to this place.
“Red October” became a place for creative and entrepreneurial youth, and in 2010 the Strelka Institute for media, architecture and design opened on its territory. This is not just an educational platform, but a place where young architects, designers, sociologists, economists and other professionals develop their own projects that can develop the city’s potential. The city’s main topic of research is always the city.
The Strelka Bar is a comfortable urban space for informal meetings at the Strelka Institute. The eclectic interior combines elements of Art Deco, Italian and Scandinavian design from the 60s and 70s. The bar has an extensive cocktail menu and an international menu – both are seasonal and use locally-grown products. In the summer, a terrace bar overlooking the Moscow River opens on the roof, and there is a kiosk with street food in the courtyard. On weekends, the bar hosts concerts of Russian and foreign bands, as well as and parties with DJs. All income from the bar goes to support the Strelka Institute.
Educational and cultural activities are not the only thing Red October is famous for. On the weekends, it’s a nightlife hotspot with bars, night clubs, and restaurants. Here, it’s one party after another – there are always new places where you can spend time with friends.
ARTPLAY / Design Center
- Address: Nizhnaya Syromyatnicheskaya 10, m. Chkalovskaya, Kurskaya
- Website: artplay.ru
This place can be called a real epicenter of everything trendy and interesting in the capital. The creator of the Rubik’s Cube (Erno Rubik) came here, the center hosted the incredible “Ball of Robots,” and holidays and design fairs are often underway in the courtyard. In addition, there are many unique shops and coworking spaces in the center. This place is famous for its roof: it houses a skating rink in the winter, and in the summer there are live performances by famous musicians.
Artplay Design Center is known as the first creative cluster in Moscow. The history of Arplay began in 2003, and in 2008 it moved to the territory of the former industrial zone near the Kursk railway station. It now occupies a whole block with a total area of 75 000 square meters and is an important part of the capital’s modern cultural landscape.
The cluster is highly appreciated by the local authorities – the Design Center is included in the official tourist brochures of the Moscow government.
Today, Artplay comprises over 400 companies, including more than 300 showrooms, 60 architectural bureaus and construction companies, 40 design studios, and 20 advertising agencies.
The space houses the Universal University for creative industries, which includes the British Higher School of Design, Moscow School of Cinema, The Scream School of Computer Technologies, MARSH Architectural School, the Moscow School of Advanced Communications (MACS), and the Moscow School of Music. Aside from educational programs, MARSH Architectural School also participates in the implementation of major urban projects. Artplay design center runs the RMA School of Business and Gallery Management and the Artplay Media Center for Digital Art, which hosts multimedia exhibitions, film screenings, performances, concerts, art lectures, and literary readings. There are two coworking rooms, 14 cafes and restaurants, bookstores, printing houses, beauty salons and language courses available to visitors of the design center. The center’s future plans are to expand the scope of its activities and create a creative technology park.
ZIL / Culture center
- Address: Vostochnaya Ulitsa 4, bldg 1, m. Avtozavodskaya
- Hours: 10:00-22:00
- Website: zilcc.ru
ZIL is one of the largest cultural palaces in Moscow (23,000 square meters and 3 hectares of park space), which means it can house a wide range of projects on its territory. The building in the style of constructivism with a rich history and unique sites, built in 1930–37, is a cultural heritage monument of regional importance. Until 2008, the Palace of Culture belonged to the automobile enterprise “Plant named after I. Likhachev.” Today it is a modern multifunctional cultural center, where exhibitions, performances, lectures, concerts and master classes from experts in various fields of science, culture and art regularly take place.
There is a modern library with open access that features the latest books, several coworking spaces, as well as a cozy cafe and bookstore specializing in rare and little-known, but high-quality interesting publications. There is access to bookcrossing racks, where you can bring a book already read and pick out one you like.
Modern Moscow theater and dance performances take place on stages, and public constructivist spaces are used as a place for comfortable leisure, work, meetings, and creative endeavors.
ZIL Cultural Center is located on the site of the Simonov Monastery, some of which (the south wall with towers and the refectory) have been preserved to this day. The monastery was a large guard monastery until the 20th century, but then lost its influence. From the beginning of the 21st century, the neighborhood of the parish was a popular place for country walks. The writer Nikolai Karamzin, who liked the local views, made the Sergiev Pond the location for the tragic death of the main character in “Poor Lisa.”
From above, the outline of the Palace of Culture resembles an airplane. The building consists of simple geometric shapes – parallelepipeds and cylinders, balconies, bay windows. Large glassed-in surfaces give the structure grace and lightness.
The ZIL Cultural Center park is a three-hectare green zone where guests can work in the fresh air, relax, and go for a stroll. There are benches and ottomans and free Wi-Fi that lets up to 500 people work simultaneously. Opposite the main entrance of the center, there is an unusual setup – a shop of happiness, love and well-being.
ZIL Cultural Center ZIL offers different kinds of tours. “Moscow from the Roof” is an overview of the most interesting historical and modern high-rise buildings of the capital from the roof of the cultural center that takes place in the summer.
Tours of the ZIL Cultural Center building go over the history of the largest cultural center of Moscow – an architectural monument to constructivism. These tours are held from September to May. There are also audio tours of the cultural center building on the izi.TRAVEL platform for independent visitors – all you have to do is scan the QR codes on the walls of the building.
ARMA / Business quarter
- Address: Nizhniy Susalniy Pereulok 5, m. Kurskaya
- Website: www.armazavod.ru
The Arma business center is a vast territory in the center of Moscow, located next to the Garden Ring and the Yauza embankment. The architectural features of the complex make it unique – one of the most beautiful sites in Moscow. The renewed gas holders of the Moscow Gas Plant, built by a Dutch entrepreneur and an English engineer in 1868 to illuminate the Moscow streets and the Kremlin with gas lamps, create a unique atmosphere, and the business quarter located on an area of 8.3 hectares can be compared only with the reconstructed territories of gas plants in Vienna, Copenhagen, Dresden and other European cities.
In 2003, well-known musicians, designers, producers came to Arma to set up creative studios and offices. Clubs, showrooms and stores, advertising agencies, design studios and many other companies have also found a home here.
The office loft quarter includes 27 buildings with a total area of 50 000 square meters. Unique cylindrical gas holders with a height of 20 meters and a diameter of 40 meters, which have survived from the past, have become the focal point of the quarter. Inside the gas holders, there are original large working spaces with rounded walls and hallways, high ceilings and huge windows. A thorough reconstruction of the plant buildings was completed in 2015.
HLEBOZAVOD No.9 / Creative urban space
- Address: Novodmitrovskaya Ulitsa 1, m. Dmitrovskaya
- Website: hlebozavod9.ru
A public park space that has brought together show rooms of local designers, educational projects, offices of creative companies, workshops, and event spaces. Together with Flacon Design Factory, the two territories form a creative district that includes 50 000 square meters of space to house various functions from relevant industries. People come here to launch their own projects, relax among authentic avant-garde architecture, meet new people, find entertainment for the whole family (from athletic events to major city festivals), grab a cup of coffee or food, buy a vintage jacket, or sunbathe on the open roofs of the buildings.
Hlebozavod is an important monument to the era of architectural constructivism and differs from other art clusters in its avant-garde motifs. It was built in 1934 as one of seven bread-baking plants. It was the first to plant to be 100% automated and, together with other bakeries, helped solve the bread shortage in the Soviet Union. After 1991, production fell into decay, unable to withstand competition with modern bread production plants.
The former bakery is now home to 130 office spaces and 40 loft-apartments. You can rent or buy them, or hold an event here. There are also flagship stores of local brands such as S H U outerwear, Novaya and Krakatau, comfortable and laconic casual wear from Cocos and NNedre, etc. There are also foreign brands – the only monobrand store of Danish raincoats and raincoats RAINS in Russia, modern Chinese fashion from JNBY, the cult commission shop of luxury and avant-garde designers of the Second Friend Store, conceptual design optics from Refaced and PYE, and others.
Parking spaces are located outside the territory, and the whole area is accessible only to pedestrians. There are also bike paths for people with bicycles, scooters, and hoverboards.
MOSCOW SILK / Business quarter
- Address: Bolshoi Savvinskiy Pereulok 12, m. Sportivnaya
- Website: moscsilk.ru
Moscow Silk is one of the most stylish business quarters, located on the bank of the Moscow River. The business quarter is spread out over an area of 5.6 hectares and consists of 18 buildings from the 19th and 20th centuries. This is territory used to belong to a textile factory, built in 1820. In the middle of the 19th century it belonged to the Frenchman Albert Gübner and was one of the Russian Empire’s key textile centers. The plant took orders from the military during WWII and produced high-quality fabrics made from natural silk and cotton during the Soviet era. After renovation, the factory buildings were turned into a multifunctional space for business, where you can find modern offices or loft projects in reconstructed factory buildings from the 19th century.
PUNCTUM / Cultural Center
- Address: Dubininskaya Ulitsa 20.1, m. Paveletskaya
- Website: punktum.ru
One of the first independent lecture halls in Moscow. Art and philosophy, history and literature, cinema and cultural studies, courses, creative workshops – this is the path of continuous improvement and development that everybody needs. Love of knowledge is perhaps the most human of all human traits, and the road to it lies through the humanities.
Here, you can talk about culture over a cup of tea, see famous works from the classics of world cinema, and do brain exercises with professional mathematicians. Punctum offers courses on European art for children from 8 to 12 years old and lectures for adults who are interested in learning something new. There are exhibitions by young artists, small concerts by different bands, and creative evenings organized by novice writers. Punctum supports various initiatives, current cultural projects, young artists (all exhibitions for artists are free), special workshops (art from people with disabilities), and conducts scientific seminars and round tables. Punktum has a cozy, underground atmosphere and a small art kiosk.