The gallery now houses more than 50 drawings on factory walls, impressive large-scale light installations and sculptures by Lithuanian and foreign artists. More than 50,000 Vilnius residents and visitors a year visit the gallery.
“ELFA” KVARTALO ISTORIJA
‘Elfa’ Electrical Engineering Factory, founded in 1948.
The south-western part of Naujamiestis acquired its industrial look in the 20th century. In the beginning of the twentieth century. The railway then came into being, and factories and warehouses to service it grew up alongside it. The growth of the neighbourhood, which had stalled somewhat between the wars, gained incredible momentum in the post-war period. Industrial giants sprang up one after the other, in some places in grassy areas and in others in former housing estates.
In 1955, the factory began to produce what it is best known for – tape recorders and turntables
“Elfa-6, Daina, Spalis, Gintaras are just a few of the names familiar to the older generation. The products were exported not only to other local republics but also to Western countries. One of the products, the “Echo” tape recorder, was presented as a distinctively designed device to match Soviet furniture. Later, the factory also started another innovative activity: the production of foreign language study cabinets. These significant expansions would follow one after another until the Elfa factory was producing 152 000 tape recorders a year. Life was boiling here. The factory was the venue for stage competitions, sports tournaments and a museum. “Elfa, like most other factories, had its own newspaper called Elfietis. It contained the latest technological news, internal affairs and jokes.
In 1984, the factory employed about 8 300 workers
In addition to the usual workers, German prisoners of war were also employed in the construction work in the area of Vytenis-Kauno-Švitrigailos-Paneriai streets.At the beginning, Elfa was a relatively small factory with 80 employees, specialising in general-purpose Ural engines and low-power motors for various household appliances: refrigerators, washing machines, audio equipment.Even at that time, Elfa was proud that if a refrigerator was made in the soviet union, it had to have an Elfa engine. Over time, more factories in different republics supplied these appliances, but the Vilnius-based company maintained a significant position. At the beginning, Elfa was a relatively small factory with 80 employees, specialising in general-purpose Ural engines and low-power motors for various household appliances: refrigerators, washing machines, audio equipment.
In 1993, unable to compete, the factory went bankrupt
When Lithuania regained its independence, Elfa suffered the typical fate of soviet-era industrial companies. At the beginning of 1990, the Gusev micro-controller plant left the association, which had a negative impact on the company’s overall performance.The company decided to start producing cassette audio recorders, as well as mixers in cooperation with the Romanians and video recorders with the Japanese.
Since 2010 it has been home to the Art Factory ‘Loftas’
After the Loftas Art Factory took up residence in the abandoned spaces of this area, the conversion of this urban courtyard began to take place, which started to shape the face of not only this block, but also the whole New Town district – creative, free and multicultural.