Travel stories – capturing colour in Wrocław
Sometimes a city takes you by surprise and Wrocław is almost guaranteed to be one of them when it comes to colour inspiration. A tad shorter on press attention than the likes of its burly brothers, Warsaw and Krakow, it’s a candy-coloured treat that we almost didn’t want to share.
But we will, because it’s the home of one of our many talented teams of craftsmen. This is where we found one of our expert upholsterers, and we come back to see them every time we launch a new sofa range (sometimes more often!). Dressing families like the Holloway in our Made-to-Order fabrics is what they do best. When it comes to quality, we’re obsessed. But our passion for beauty doesn’t stop with our designs. Just like you, we’re intrepid explorers and we love to gather inspiration from our travels. Wrocław (loosely pronounced ‘Vrots-waff’, by the way) is nothing short of inspiring.
A colourful history
Cobbled streets surround the main square like a giant spider web, welcoming leisurely strolls and inquisitive minds. There’s nobody ‘tutting’ at you for going too slowly here – it’s a welcome respite from busy London life.
Everyone we meet is incredibly proud of their heritage. And so they should be. Wrocław isn’t just a pretty face; there’s so much more to this city than good looks. Beyond each fetching façade is the wear and tear of a turbulent history. It all adds to its character, but it’s a reminder that it hasn’t always been such a cheerful destination.
Reaching the square is reminiscent of that moment in The Wizard of Oz when the world becomes technicolour. The buildings burst with energy. Fizzy yellows meet sugar-coated pinks and cool blues – the rainbow after the storm of a gruelling history of wartime and occupation. The people are as joyful as the colours that saturate this central meeting point. Having regained freedom from Soviet control only 30 years ago, it’s no wonder. It’s all so recent and the pride for their country is quite rightly palpable.
Craft beer flows as tourists and residents soak up the atmosphere of the square, side by side. After a welcome refreshment, our explorations take us back into the maze of surrounding streets. It feels as though red brick cathedrals pop up on every corner – a devout religious culture that dots the city with picturesque architecture.
Another of our favourite architectural spots is the ‘Hala Targowa’ – the market hall. The building itself is a must-see and, even if you’re not hungry, it’s bursting at the seams with fresh produce that can be snapped up and snacked on later. Giant church-like arches dominate rows of vendors and it’s filled with locals, which is always a good sign.
Time to relax
Heading to the outskirts, the river Oder wraps the Old Town in an oasis that’s built for balmy summer eves. Wyspa Słodowa, a small islet that attracts the fun-seekers, is the place to be for a vibrant atmosphere. The city doesn’t allow any alcohol on the streets – except for this spot. It makes sense, then, that the entire population of the local university congregates here. For a more sedate experience, circling the city with a stroll along Oder may be more your thing. It was certainly a welcome treat before we had to head back to work. Beyond the Old Town, a Brutalist suburb awaits – it’s a rather eerily grey contrast to the vibrant centre.
Heading back to the airport, on the city’s impressive tram network, we feel a bit like we’re leaving summer behind. What a relief it is then that our designers are busy sketching more sofa shapes as we speak. Colour magpies – put Wrocław on your bucket list. But try not to tell too many people.
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