This Saturday, July 27th, the historic Confitería El Molino will open its doors from 2-6 PM, offering the public a chance to see the building in the midst of its restoration. Even though its anniversary was celebrated back on July 9th, another festive moment is in store nonetheless. It’s not every day that you turn 103, right?
Located right next to Argentina’s national Congress, Confitería El Molino debuted way back in 1916 as a confectionary and bakery in the Balvanera neighborhood of Buenos Aires. This obviously isn’t your average bakery, though: it was designed by Italian-Argentine architect Francesco Gianotti to celebrate the centenary of the country’s independence, made with valuable imported materials (massive marble columns anyone?) and was even filled with works of art from Italy as well as other valuable furniture.
View this post on Instagram
Aniversario del Molino ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Un 9 de julio de 1916, a cien años de nuestra independencia??, se inauguraba el Edificio del Molino tal y como lo conocemos ahora. Hoy, a 103 años, nos encontramos con la familia del arquitecto ?Francisco Gianotti, quien diseñó este Monumento Histórico NACIONAL? ??. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ #9dejulio #diadelaindependencia #monumento #patrimonio #arquitectura
For years, the building was an epicenter for Argentina’s political and intellectual elite, visited by Alfredo Palacios, Lisandro de la Torre, Leopoldo Lugones, Carlos Gardel, Oliverio Girondo, Roberto Arlt, Niní Marshall, Libertad Lamarque and Eva Perón, just to mention a few. Madonna even filmed the music video for Love Don’t Live Here Anymore during breaks from filming Evita!
Besides its storied past, El Molino has been through its fare share of hard times in the past couple of decades. Even though it was declared a National Historic Landmark, it was closed in 1997, subsequently suffering the effects of neglect. As the building’s facade began to crumble, for years the building relied on scaffolding to protect stone and other debris from falling on pedestrians.
In 2014, the building was finally expropriated by Congress; come February 2017, the Ministry of Interior, Public Works and Housing acquired the building for nearly AR $182 million, and it’s been undergoing restoration ever since. Soon, on the ground floor, it will reopen as a coffee shop, museum, and cultural hall.
The restoration process is very much underway, and now you can get a sneak-peek at how things are going this Saturday. Throughout the afternoon, you can visit various rooms on the ground floor and first floor. Particularly exciting are the stained glass windows that have been restored and are now backlit with a new LED technology system that prevents temperature increases and won’t alter the coloring.
Additionally, objects recovered by the building’s urban archeology team will be on display (the team has found 15,000+ high-value historical objects). There will also be an exhibition filled with different cartoons, paintings, and drawings of the Confitería El Molino.
Entrance is open to the public and completely free, but you might want to show up early as people will be allowed in according to order of arrival. Don’t miss it!