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We visit Fabra i Coats, once a thread manufacturer, now a “creation factory”

We visit Fabra i Coats, once a thread manufacturer, now a “creation factory”

Once a manufacturing city, Barcelona has numerous buildings that have been transformed to meet the new needs of its citizens. One example is the Fabra i Coats art center, a former thread and textile factory in the Sant Andreu district which has been converted into a cultural facility.

Barcelona was a center of manufacturing between the 18th and 20th century, when numerous engineers, workers and entrepreneurs chose to set up their workshops and factories in the city. The city still has many buildings from this period, mainly in the neighbourhoods of Poblenou and Sant Andreu, but also in central areas such as Roselló street in the Eixample, where the former Estrella Damm factory is situated, and Àngels street in the Raval, which is home to the former Danone factories.

Two of the many other spaces that have been converted are Ca l'Alier, now a center of innovation, and Ca l'Aranyó, now a university campus, both in Poblenou.

A new type of cultural facility

The former Fabra i Coats art center provides a forum for music, creativity, and a variety of artistic disciplines, including plastic, visual and audiovisual arts.

The old thread factory is located in what was formerly the town of Sant Andreu, but is now part of the Catalan capital. The center is an icon for all local residents, as it has been linked to the town for centuries and is now known for the range and variety of its activity program.

The Barcelona City Council took over the historic building in December 2005, but it was not until 2008 that the decision was made to use it as a so-called creation factory. Now a municipal cultural center for creativity, talent and innovation, the main objective of the Fabra i Coats factory is to provide new work spaces and resources for artists and cultural creators who wish to be based in Barcelona.

Barcelona and its network of creation factories

Creation factories are spaces that foment the exchange of ideas, expression and experimentation in any creative discipline. Barcelona City Council has a program to convert disused industrial buildings into artistic and cultural centers, with the aim of preserving the artistic tradition so characteristic of the city.

Among these are the Sala Beckett, which specializes in creation and training in theater arts, the Hangar center, for research on and production of art, and La Caldera, a center for dance.

"Fabra i Coats is the creative heart of Sant Andreu thanks to its extensive program of activities and training which are open to all”


The factory offers visibility through seminars and debates in which the creative and productive processes are exposed to new thinking in contemporary creation. The intention is to promote art on a local, national and international level and present new cultural practices to the education sector. The factory also provides resources for those carrying out research in the (public or private) science and technology sectors.

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