In two years, Təzə Bazar will open its doors to residents of Baku and guests of Azerbaijan’s capital. We spoke to the project’s team about the Bazar’s future, its concept, new tenants and how the marketplace will look.
We want to introduce you to the people working on creating the rejuvenated marketplace. It is a multi-national team, consisting of architects, designers and ideologists of the project.
Ginza Project is an international holding realizing complex projects on creating infrastructure. Currently, Ginza Project owns and manages more than 150 concept projects in Russia and all over the world, including Azerbaijan, Georgia, UK, USA and China. One important vector in the holding’s work – creation of market spaces and managing them. The company’s signature project is the Danilovsky Market in Moscow – the old and landmark trading site, which kick-started the spree of reconceptualization of marketplaces all across Russia.
Cobalt is one of the most successful design bureaus in Azerbaijan. The team consists of architects and designers from different countries with international project experience. Cobalt specializes in architecture of residential and public buildings, as well as reconstruction of historic sites and creation of urban projects. Last year, Cobalt was in charge of a project to build an Artistic center for people with physical disabilities. Today the company is involved in a large-scale infrastructural project of on-the-road rest and food stations, which carries national significance.
Evdokimov.design is a Ukrainian team of architects and designers, which have been creating unique food spaces across the world. Since 2015, the team has been operating in Georgia, Azerbaijan, China and the UAE.
— Tell us about your vision of the project
Evdokimov.design, Evgeny, Chief architect and designer: Our job was to present an innovative view of an oriental marketplace. The design and concept of Teze Bazar were created based on modern global trends in hospitality and gastronomic culture, keeping in mind also the country’s rich traditions and the needs of the city’s residents today. We shall preserve the initial functions of the marketplace – the beating heart of the city’s life. Our project will re-create the atmosphere of an ancient bazar – bustling trade will occupy a large space, where everything will be sold. Fresh groceries, exotic goods, carpets, jewelry, spices, food, furniture and souvenirs.
— How did you work on the market’s concept?
Ginza Project, Olga and Ekaterina, Creative team: Our team toured the entire country, we even went to distant and high-mountain areas. Visited dozens of markets, met locals – to grasp and feel the spirit of an authentic bazar. Get inspired by this unique culture and get energized by enthusiasm of talented people, who are creating Azerbaijan’s legacy every day.
— What would one be able to buy at the market?
G: Everything made in Azerbaijan will be here – the best groceries, dishes and goods from all parts of the land. We have envisioned a mix of modern-day comfort and oriental vibe. While lavish trading rows will be filled with authentic cafes and trendy coffee shops. We are hoping to genuinely recreate the richness of local culture at Teze Bazar by bringing in the most skilled craftsmen, who are continuing their ancestors’ traditions. And we are planning to get our future visitors acquainted with the country through its gastronomic traditions.
Everything made in Azerbaijan will be here – the best groceries, dishes and goods from all parts of the land.
— How will you pick future tenants?
G: We are already working on launching the “Teze People” program. Its task is to maintain the spirit of the marketplace and keep its main heroes – the merchants who preserve the memories of Teze as the landmark trading site of Baku. We are also looking for those creating the modern Azerbaijani culture and gastronomy. Craftsmen, restaurateurs, farmers and producers. It is very important to us – not just to keep the key tenants of the past and find new ones, but also to create a friendly community around the market. When construction works finish, these people will take their places at the new marketplace.
— How can you describe the architectural concept? What were you inspired by when you worked on the outlook of the future marketplace?
Cobalt, Carlis, Chief architect: Our inspiration for the concept of the rejuvenated Teze Bazar was Baku’s historic center. The core of the city – Icheri Sheher – represented a wide trade street, intertwined with multiple caravan-sarais, which united the entire central part of medieval Baku into a single artery. From the very onset, we pictured Teze Bazar as a medieval oriental city, with curvy streets, intimate squares, cozy backyards and peculiar architectural features.
— Why was it necessary to create a new building instead of renovating the old marketplace?
C: Teze Bazar formed as a trading site approximately 70 years ago, and all this time it has been changing – both in terms of functionality and its space. The surrounding environment was changing too – modern public and residential buildings sprung up around the marketplace, which have been dictating new requirements to the old building’s architecture. The previous building of Teze Bazar had many drawbacks – dilapidated structures, facades and interiors. Inaccessibility for people of limited mobility. There were also issues of parking, logistics and conservation of food. All these functions could not have been included into the old building’s parameters – even If we wanted. It was important to provide accessibility, openness, abundance of resting spots, greenery, immersive routes and the most up-to-date architectural solutions for the new marketplace complex.
— So the marketplace will be entirely new?
G: We value the past and want to observe continuity. But a marketplace is not a museum. A genuine marketplace is always a reflection of a city, its portrait. It is the center of everything important happening here and now. As our architects pointed out, marketplaces always had a special role in cities’ development. And so was the case in Baku – the market served as the first public space. Not only did the people buy fresh groceries here, but they also could feel themselves as part of a large community.
We want to create a public space of a new type based on Teze Bazar, which would maintain the atmosphere of traditional bazars and necessary functions would be supplemented by the opportunities to spend interesting and useful time here. We are aiming at reviving Teze Bazar’s historic significance, by creating a new gastronomic center – not only for Baku, but for the entire country as well.
We value the past and want to observe continuity. But a marketplace is not a museum.
— Tell us more – which spaces will be part of the new marketplace?
Е: We have completely reviewed functional zoning. Teze Bazar will consist of more than 300 spots of retail and food vendors, with a total space of 15 thousand square meters. There will be a market square. Trade stalls will occupy the central part of the bazar, shops with fresh sweets, fragrant greens, fresh fruit and vegetables will be placed in narrow streets – and you won’t be able to just walk past them!
Besides this trading area, there will also be a two-storied gastronomic cluster, which will have more than 30 unique cafes, restaurants and fast food vendors, a culinary school, a wine bar with a tasting area and an open terrace, richly decorated with green trees.
The important aspect of Teze Bazar’s design is developed infrastructure. That means large production capacities, which will keep the market going, technological production sites, warehouses, technical premises, staff areas and office spaces.
— What is the project’s highlight?
Е: The highlight of the project is the variety of production, so that any visitor could delve into the process of creating authentic dishes. Spaces for cultural and entertainment events and large open-air terraces – both public and individual recreation zones – will become important pillars of the concept.
C: Such rich conceptual structure will not only provide for Teze Bazar’s inclusion into the fabric of the city, but will also turn it into the magnet for Baku’s public life. Guests will be able to visit the marketplace with children, we have created a designated children area here. One would be able to enjoy a cup of tea in shaded gardens. And at the market square, one would be able to meet their favorite merchants and chat about the city’s news – as it has always been.
— Are you planning an events timeline?
G: Certainly! Even before the marketplace opens its doors, we are planning to organize a roving gastronomic festival across the country. This is how we will find new talents and flavors, so that Teze Bazar would be filled with specialties and dishes from all regions and historic settlements of the country.
After that, a year-round event program for guests with different interests will be set up at the market. Our team has already been working on formats – from small activities to city-wide festivals and concerts. Among those are gastronomic master classes, crafts workshops for young and old, organizing an urban vegetable garden, weekend farmers’ markets, celebrations of national holidays and much more.
— What would you like to tell our readers and future visitors to Teze Bazar?
G: We are looking to create a marketplace for the people and about the people. Our large team dreams that every city resident will feel part of it. That is why we would be very happy to hear from locals in Baku – what would they like to see at the new marketplace. We will share your ideas on social media and will include the best of them into the new concept. You can leave your feedback here. We will be waiting to hear from you!