FABRA I COATS - BARCELONA ART FACTORY is a new concept in cultural facilities which gives support to creativity, talent and innovation in the city. In close contact with the most emergent creation and with the different local collectives, it also hopes to become a space with international outreach.
This is a central node in the Barcelona Art Factories network of facilities promoted by the Barcelona Institute of Culture and is housed in an emblematic building forming part of the city’s industrial heritage.
FABRA I COATS CURRENTLY HAS 6.500 SQUARE METRES OF SURFACE AREA for housing cultural events, projects in cultural investigation, experimentation and creation in different disciplines; performing art, music, visual arts, audiovisuals and multimedia.
FABRA I COATS - ART FACTORY GIVES SUPPORT TO ARTISTIC CREATION AND HAS WORKSPACES FOR THE PERFORMING ARTS, MUSIC, PLASTIC AND VISUAL ARTS AND MULTIMEDIA CREATION.
Fabra i Coats is a multidisciplinary space which will be promoting artistic hybridisation to become a point of reference in artistic research and in the generation of new quality contents, as well as a meeting point for groups, creators and proposals from different spheres and backgrounds.
The goal of Fabra i Coats – Art Factory is to give support to artistic creation and it has workspaces for the performing arts, music, plastic and visual arts, multimedia creation and also for projects relating to information and communication technology (ICT). In all these artistic projects the work is based on various lines of action:
Internationalisation: Fabra i Coats hopes to become an international centre of reference and form part of the European networks of facilities for creativity.
Multidisciplinarity and transversality: The centre houses and accompanies the different moments in creative work (from research to production, presentation and distribution), always fomenting hybridisation of disciplines and formats. It is therefore a space designed to bring different artistic languages in contact with one another.
Network integration: Fabra i Coats does not work alone. On the contrary, it has to fit in with the art scene in Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain and the rest of the world and spawn partnerships and interrelations with artistic projects by other collectives and professionals, both local and anywhere in the world.
Excellence: The maximum quality and rigour are demanded of projects developed at Fabra i Coats. Quality is promoted here both in the creative processes and in the final proposals, in such a way that the projects developed at Fabra i Coats are identified as the product of a genuine cultural laboratory.
Public-private hybridisation: The viability of the proposals developed at Fabra i Coats is considered on the basis of partnerships between the public and private sectors. Any project must take into account the distribution networks, which are often driven by the private sector.
THE BUILDING HOUSING THE FABRA I COATS - BARCELONA ART FACTORY WAS BUILT BETWEEN 1910 AND 1920 and has four floors with exposed brickwork and two towers abutting the façade which connect the different spaces vertically. This building, an icon of Barcelona’s industrial heritage, is part of a larger complex made up of various buildings dating from different moments. In 2008 it was proposed that it should be converted into the Art Factory as part of the programme of Art Factories driven by the Barcelona Institute of Culture (Institut de Cultura de Barcelona, ICUB).
The Coats Fabra SA industrial complex (formerly Fabra i Coats) is a 19th-century spinning mill (thread and textile factory) that was part of the former municipality of Sant Andreu de Palomar (District 9).
This complex occupied two blocks of houses separated by Carrer Sant Adrià.
The first block, occupied by the so-called Fàbrica Sant Andreu, is formed by Carrer de Sant Andreu, Carrer Sant Adrià, Carrer Segre and Carrer Parellada. The second, occupied by the so-called Fàbrica del Rec, is formed by Carrer Sant Adrià, Carrer Otger, Carrer Balai i Jubany and Carrer Segre.
This industrial complex is made up of a series of buildings of different styles and ages.
The building housing the Fabra i Coats – Art Factory was built between 1910 and 1920 and has four floors with exposed brickwork and two towers abutting the façade which connect the different spaces vertically. This building, an icon of Barcelona’s industrial heritage, is part of a larger complex made up of various buildings dating from different moments, the oldest of which goes back to 1890. The complex is a testimony to the history of Sant Andreu del Palomar (the former municipality it began life in) before its annexation to Barcelona, to an exceptional moment in the city’s development and in the process of industrialisation Catalonia went through as from the 19th century.
In 1893, the businessman Ferran Puig i Gibert and his partner Jaume Portabella founded a linen spinning factory in Sant Andreu which they called the Vapor de Fil. It was the seed of an enterprise that applied the latest technological breakthroughs of the moment in its production processes. In 1884, when Camil Fabra joined the firm, the Sociedad Anónima Fabra y Portabella was constituted, which in 1903 merged with the British firm of J&P Coats. The resulting company was to become one of the chief textile industries in Europe.
Many firms in Sant Andreu, like Vapor de Fil, Vapor de Rec or Ca l’Alzina, were eventually taken over by Fabra i Coats. The arrival of the British brought important social breakthroughs, such as paid holidays, and the economic, social and cultural structure of the neighbourhood was for years tied to this company. In the 1970s, though, factories began closing and workers were laid off.
IN 2008 IT WAS PROPOSED THAT IT SHOULD BE MADE INTO THE ART FACTORY AS PART OF THE PROGRAMME OF ART FACTORIES PROMOTED BY THE BARCELONA INSTITUTE OF CULTURE (INSTITUT DE CULTURA DE BARCELONA, ICUB).
The year 2009 marked the start of regular activity at the Fabra i Coats Art Factory as a facility specifically, though not exclusively, devoted to providing spaces and resources at the service of the city’s creative artists. The launching of this space was an intrinsic part of its future design. For this reason, the launch deliberately took place in a setting of provisionality and bearing in mind that for the future restoration of the space it would be interesting and viable to establish a test bench.
The definition of an initial usage plan, the conception of an architectural advance project which would make it possible to take on the definitive restoration of the building in the short term was drawn up at the same time as the space was occupied after a basic reconditioning of one quarter of the total surface area of the facilities.
The intervention and refurbishing of the building on the basis of the Red Bull Music Academy 08 project and the theoretical reflection of the Art Factory Sessions held on 21 and 22 November 2008 were the pillars that allowed for a period of provisional use.
In mid-July 2009 the ‘Regulating conditions for the temporary leasing of spaces for the development of creative arts projects at Fabra i Coats’ were published and a public invitation went out for the submission of creative projects that could be developed at the facility until the definitive restoration work of the building got under way.
As a result of this invitation, different proposals and activities were held that provided a source of information and evaluation about the possibilities of the space and the demands of different artists who worked there and visited the space.
A total of 36 projects were submitted following the first call, of which 20 were selected and housed starting in October.
To assess and select the proposals submitted on this occasion a specific commission was set up, the Fabra i Coats Project Selection and Evaluation Committee (Comissió de Selecció i Valoració de Projectes de Fabra i Coats), made up of three members of the Barcelona Institute of Culture and four members proposed by the Barcelona Council for Culture (Consell de la Cultura de Barcelona).
The constitution of this commission was to serve as a model for evaluating proposals and for more strategic reflection on the future management of the project.
As well as the proposals selected in the framework of this invitation and which were intended as a continuing work of investigation and research, various proposals from different artistic and cultural disciplines were also included on a one-off basis for periods usually of less than four weeks. This made it possible to compare the response of the present building and the demands of creators of different types, as well as the ability to make artists from different disciplines cohabit and relate in the same space.
Short and full-length films by young film-makers, advertisements and publicity spots, as well as photo-reportages (some with a more artistic vocation, others with a commercial vocation) were also made there.
Finally, apart from the events and presentations connected with Catalan firms and institutions, there were also cultural activities open to the public that have served to publicise and make known across Barcelona the location and idiosyncrasy of this space. This was the case of the Mercè Festival and the GREC09 Festival, to highlight two of the most important.
A TOTAL OF EIGHT FIRMS were invited to take part in the contest for awarding the Fabra i Coats – Art Factory restoration project.
Out of the different proposals, the one chosen was the project by the architects Manuel Ruisánchez Capelastegui and Francesc Bacardit Segués of Planurbs, S.L.P. In particular, the work it proposed was highly respectful of the original structure of the building and looked for flexible and adaptable systems that would give the space a high capacity for modulation and adaptation according to the needs of the projects and activities.
The architectural project set out to reactivate the unused building with an initial operation consisting of inserting a communications and services ‘jack’ which connects the movements and systems on each floor.
Public usage is concentrated on the ground floor in a foyer that crosses the building from the new entrance. This foyer takes advantage of the possibilities afforded by the columns, which become the essential element for the distribution of spaces by means of separators, and acts as an ‘activities passage’.
Budget restraints, the search for maximum flexibility in the partitioning of activities and harmony with a whole century of industrial production give rise to the most innovative element of the project, the use of canvas divisions recycled as lightweight internal divisions which, using a system of tensors, are attached to the pillars and function as curtains that change position according to the needs of each activity.
THE PHASES OF THE PROPOSED ARCHITECURAL RESTORATION
The cost of the project to restore Fabra i Coats – Art Factory was estimated at a total of 14 million euros. On application to the State Fund for Employment and Local Sustainability 2010 (FEOSL, Fondo Estatal para la Ocupación y la Sostenibilidad Local 2010), a total investment of 6.5 million euros was obtained to carry out phases 1 and 2 of the four phases the work was divided into.
The project to adapt the central wing and the boiler room in the Fabra i Coats compound is the work of PLANURBS, a partnership formed by the architectural firms of BAMMP Arquitectes i Associats and Ruisánchez Arquitectes. Manuel Ruisánchez has combined his professional career with an intense academic life. In Barcelona, he is the author of projects like the Sagrada Família Library, the Mar Bella Pavilion and the athletics track in the Olympic Village and the Parc del Poblenou (with Xavier Vendrell), and others. Francesc Bacardit and his firm have worked extensively in Terrassa, where he has transformed industrial zones, remodelled old factories and even restored the church of El Sant Esprit.
The restoration proposed by PLANURBS was based on one hand on respect for the original structure of the building and, on the other, on the search for a flexible system of distributing the available spaces on the basis of movable divisions.
In this way, the space is transformed according to the different activities housed there. The intervention has been split into four phases. In the period from 2010 to 2011, two of these have been completed: the building’s foundations have been reinforced, a communications module has been created (the only extra structural item), two thirds of the space has been restored and finally the boiler room has been cleaned to remove polluting elements.
The ground floor of the north-east section of the building, a surface area of 400 square metres, was fitted out in the summer of 2012 as an exhibition room for the Contemporary Art Centre (Centre d’Art Contemporani) which it has been decided will be housed in the same building.
The remaining phases of the restoration will be carried out in the coming years.
Up to five theatre, dance, circus and performance companies can rehearse at the same time in multi-functional spaces that can also be used for presentations and other events.
These rooms have curtains and blackout screens, electrical connections and bars for installing stage equipment.
- REHEARSAL ROOM 1, 220 M2.
- REHEARSAL ROOM 2, 182 M2.
- REHEARSAL ROOM 3, 91 M2.
- REHEARSAL ROOM 4, 110 M2.
- REHEARSAL ROOM 5, 200 M2.
- REHEARSAL ROOM 6, 182 M2.
Spaces for investigation and research in the audiovisual sphere and sound creation.
- SEVEN 15 M2 STUDIOS
- SIX BOXES BETWEEN 20 AND 25 M2.
- ONE 56 M2 BOX.
- TWO 69 M2 BOXES.
Spaces for investigation and research in the visual arts and multimedia spheres.
- FOUR 20 M2 WORKSHOPS
- ONE SHARED 360 M2 ROOM
A space in which to house cultural projects in residence, in the form of shared office space.
Room for up to six cultural entities and 14 emergent projects in seedbed format.
- FIVE 15 AND 30 M2 MEETING ROOMS.
The structure favours exchange and relations between the projects.
On the ground floor there is a section where activities open to the public are developed and where the communal spaces and services are.
- A 500 M2 LOBBY WITH A BAR AND DINING AREA
- A 944 M2 MULTI-FUNCTIONAL SPACE FOR THE CONSTRUCTION OF LARGE-FORMAT WORKS, INSTALLATIONS AND PROJECT PRESENTATIONS.
FOR PRESENTING PROJECTS, SUBMITTING PROPOSALS AND MAKING BOOKINGS, PLEASE CONTACT THE FABRA I COATS OFFICIALS DIRECTLY.
Spaces are provided without technical equipment.
For rates and availability, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.