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Demini department store

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    Communicative Urban Space
  • Vene 2

Demini department store
17th-19th century

In 1826, the businessman Vassili Demin from St Petersburg opened a colonial store at the corner of Viru and Vene streets, and his son extended it into a department store with rental apartments. The designer of this four-storey building in Neo-Renaissance style with showy corner solution and lush decorations was a renowned Baltic German architect Rudolf Otto von Knüpffer. The history of the building is also referred to on the plate „Aedificatum anno 1881 a Basilio Demin“ or „Constructed in 1881 by Basil Demin.“
Skilful use has been made of the sculpted plates of the former building at the same site, dating back to 17th century. We can find coats of arms as well as names, „Hinrich Bohnsack Susanna Rampach 1653“, or pious references to the time of construction, „Fiat voluntas dei 1603“ („Let the Will of the Lord Happen 1603”). Also biblical psalms in German have been used, such as „The angel of the Lord is surrounding those who fear him, and he will free them“. In 1998 the building became a business centre again. In the honour of the former family business it was named Demini, which is still repeated on the facade in various ways. The solution slightly points to the Italian background of the new owner.