Directed by Sophia Tabatadze
Format: HD video
Camera: Lilli Kuschel and Tato Kotetishvili
Editor: Mikko Gaestel
Producer: Sophia Tabatadze and GeoAIR
Production date: 2015
Production country: Georgia
Publication: PIRIMZE was published by Onestarpress in 2014
This film researches social and visual changes affecting PIRIMZE, a six-floor edifice from the Soviet era, built especially to house repair and maintenance services. The theme unfolds to a broader picture and shows what has been happening in Georgia since the collapse of the Soviet Union.
Starting as a curious journey though the labyrinths of PIRIMZE and observing fascinating skills performed by craftsmen who used to work there, the story moves beyond the façade of the newly renovated business centre “Pirimze Plaza” which replaced PIRIMZE and questions the need and motives of this transformation.
Built in 1971 in the center of Tbilisi (architect G. Potskishvili), the capital of the Soviet Georgia, PIRIMZE was specifically designed to house numerous forms of manufacture, repairs and services. Spread over six floors, in a maze of tables, chairs and workspaces, this edifice housed numerous repair shops. Shoes, watches, glasses, jewelry, bags, zippers, suitcases, belts, hairdryers, kitchen appliances and many more, virtually everything could be repaired at PIRIMZE. Knives and scissors could be sharpened, hair could be cut and shoes polished. Furriers and tailors could customize clothing from fur, leather or cloth for individual clients. PIRIMZE was known throughout the city; Customers used to come from all over, even from the villages outside the city for use of its services.
In 1995, the status and ownership of the building changed from state ownership to a shareholding enterprise. In 2003, the enterprise declared bankruptcy; Consequently a part of the building was put up for an auction and sold by the state. In 2007, following the eviction of all employees, the building was reconstructed.
Just as the Soviet Union broke up into different countries after its collapse, PIRIMZE exploded and smaller workshops with identical names sprung up where the debris fell. These workshops are scattered in a neighborhood where old PIRIMZE used to be. They all use the same name in order to claim their identity and prove their authenticity as former PIRIMZE employees. Built to house a new shopping center, reconstructed PIRIMZE Plaza now stands where the old building stood claiming the same name and fame the former PIRIMZE enjoyed in the past.