Visit the ‘Poblenou Fàbrica / Fabrica’ exhibition

An experimental living archive intertwining past, present and future

  • Apr 27, 2023

Discover a unique laboratory-exhibition through the history of local manufacturing in Barcelona’s neighbourhood of Poblenou. An interactive experience that promotes the district’s inclusive and diverse potential and reveals how its productive character has been transformed over the decades. From May 5 to June 15 only.

‘Poblenou Fàbrica / Fabrica’ presents an evolutionary portrait of the neighbourhood through its collective memory, in a tribute to its past, present and future. From Fab Lab Barcelona we are delighted to present you with the opportunity to take a glimpse into the transformation of local manufacturing. 

The exhibition, based at Ca l’Alier, allows the visitor to physically enter through the past and leave through the future (or vice versa) in order to experience the transformation of Poblenou from a territory of factories to a collective of people who manufacture. The materials used have been locally sourced with recycled materials in the most sustainable possible way. 

Join us and embark on an eye-opening journey through crafts and technology, through the tangible and intangible elements of the real industrial heritage that make the first living archive of Poblenou.

A past to remember

Imagine walking through the streets of old Poblenou. Picture the concentration of factories, typical of the Industrial Revolution in the 19th century. Then the Spanish Civil War and the Franco Dictatorship in the 20th century, together with the textile crisis in the 70s resulted in the abandonment of many of the factories. 

But it’s the process of recovery and transformation that concerns us. We want to go into our industrial memory and make an exercise of recovery. We want to pay tribute to those people and institutions that, like us, are linked to the process of cultural and heritage conservation of Barcelona in a process of perpetual renewal.

To this day, some of the most emblematic factories in the neighborhood have been recovered: Can Ricart, MUHBA Oliva Artés, La Escocesa and Ca l’Alier. All symbols and symptoms of the Barcelona of the past, the one we want to remember, reclaim and transform today. Visit the exhibition to understand their transformation. 

Transforming the territory, today

The past leads us to a plural present. From a territory of mass production to a place of collaboration. Today, we want to recover our legacy. To transform history and create a new narrative.

Being part of an active and empowered community, we set out to reclaim our past through the recovery of old factories and warehouses allowing space for new formats and introducing forms of intersectionality between makers and technology.

Despite difficulties such as the fight against the loss of productive heritage or gentrification, through the art of making actively, locally and circularly here and now, we open the doors for the people who work and live in Poblenou. Visit the exhibition to understand how they do it. 

Shaping the future with our hands

The future surely holds more different uses of land, wood and new materials. Above all, the future lies in innovative educational tools that continue to coproduce together and with the local communities.

At Fab Lab Barcelona we’re actively working towards the materialization of a model for a productive and empowered city. Based on multidisciplinary, open and collaborative solutions, all projects have a productive and educational vocation in order to make a significant impact on a diverse Barcelona.

In a systematic way, ideas are programmed to develop and accredit a radical process focused on skills and competences. This is where Maker ABC places its emphasis, working from the ground up to foster education in technology and digital skills in the local and urban community.

Clab which aims to create sustainable circular practices, consistent with an era of ecological transition. L’Score which seeks to measure the social and environmental impact of the changing and complex textile industry. FAIG as a platform for community participation in the resolution of environmental and social issues. Like Tec-La to bridge the digital divide and ensure access to quality education. And CENTRINNO to empower the city with the right tools for individual and collective empowerment, changes in production models, educational positioning, research, and technological literacy for a global, transversal and transparent impact.

We present ourselves as a meeting point for innovation, action and transformation. An impermeable industrial character that crosses generations, with the weight of a vindictive and vindicated community that believes in the art of local and circular manufacturing, and that makes the fight against the loss of productive heritage its own.

It is at the intersection where we move. And that is why the exhibition-laboratory is an action of territorial transformation, essentially historical and identity-based in the Poblenou neighbourhood.

Not your regular exhibition

‘Poblenou Fàbrica / Fabrica’ will be enriched by many additional events in order to provide visitors with a variety of takeaways from both practical and theoretical points of view. Public speakers will join the conversation: from artists to architects, activists, politicians, students, teachers, professionals and, of course, neighbours and makers.

Fabrication workshops will take place to ensure that participants leave with a practical know-how. Round tables will present opinions of different experts, representatives, and activists from various sectors to enhance our collective knowledge on relevant subjects. Guided tours will assist visitors to better understand the contents of the exhibition and not miss out on what’s important. An open-air cinema session will provide an even deeper glimpse into Poblenou’s roots with the Festival Resllisquín.

Round tables:


The making of:
How did we make it happen? 

The exhibition was created through the collaborative effort of manufacturers and the local artisan community, as well as makers and other creatives from the neighbourhood. Following a participatory process, they took part in workshops and discussions for the development of the narratives that brought the exhibition to life. 

One of the results was the creation of a collective embroidery supported by Un Taller para Todas and La Clandestina Poblenou which will be presented at the opening of ‘Poblenou Fàbrica/ Fabrica’. In another activity hosted by Naifactory Lab participants used orange peel, coffee powder, ashes, olive pits, among other organic materials, to give them a second life by using them to create artistic panels that will compose a creative installation for the exhibition. These are just a couple of the collaborative projects that will be featured throughout the duration of ‘Poblenou Fàbrica/ Fabrica’ – visit to discover more!

Important factor which is at the core of the exhibition production since the very beginning is sustainability. All used materials were purchased at local stores in the Poblenou neighborhood, with the aim of promoting responsible consumption and the local economy. Designed for disassembly, all the exhibition stands can be reutilised for future events.

Read the full article here!

The network

Fab Lab Barcelona at IAAC joins forces with CENTRINNO, Make Works Catalonia, Departament d’Educació de la Generalitat, Innova FP, Poblenou Urban District, BIT HABITAT, and Barcelona City Council to use the laboratory-exhibition as a tool for integration and a driving force for change. Special thanks to Associació Cultural Els Fumats, Ca l’Alier, Festival Rellisquín, La Clandestina Poblenou, Naifactory Lab, Un Taller para Todas, and Xarxa d’Ateneus de Fabricació.

Ideas, writing, translations, images, articles, design and more (in aphabetical order):

Anna Podgornaya, Audrey Belliot, Arxiu Històric del Poblenou, Christian Linder Pons, Estefanía Franco, Even Zohar, Guillem Camprodon, Harry Reddick, Hester Dibbits, Joey Hodde, Jonathan Frenzi Ritter, Innova FP, Josean Vilar, Julia Steketee, Lara Farbe, Make Works Catalunya, Manuela Reyes,  Milena Juarez, Pablo Muñoz, Salvador Clarós, Santiago Fuentemilla, Sara Bosch, Silvana Catazine, Sonia Benitez, Sonia Jansat, Tamara Sepúlveda, Xavier Dominguez. 

Visit the exhibition until June 15!
📍 Ca l’Alier: click here to get there