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Lx Factory

LX Factory

From people to people

In the 1960s, New York had Andy Warhol’s Factory, of which John Cale said “every day something new”. This description applies perfectly to the LX Factory in Lisbon, which is similar in every way to a living organism.

lxfactoryIn the 43,000m² of this “Creative Island”, there are more than 200 companies where some 1,500 people work. One of the places that best represents the spirit of the LX Factory is CoWork, a working space shared by independent professionals. But it is practically impossible not to visit every corner of the place, driven in equal measure by curiosity to absorb the history of each square metre and by the childlike desire to discover all the different companies.

“A city within a city, the LX Factory combines the sustainability of tradition with the innovation of modernity”
“The 1960s had the New York Factory, the 80s had the Manchester Factory, and the 21st century has the LX Factory.”

Located in Alcântara, in the old premises of the former Companhia de Fiação Lisbonense (founded in 1846), the LX Factory came into being as part of the Projecto Alcântara 21, as a way of putting abandoned sites to good use.
Despite the fact that the project started in 2008, for the first two years it coexisted alongside the last occupant of the building, Gráfica Mirandela
In between times, a number of different industries were housed there, ranging from the Companhia Industrial de Portugal e Colónias to the printing business Anuário Comercial de Portugal and even a bakery.

José Carlos Queiroz | Mainside
José Carlos Queiroz | Mainside

Mainside, a company working in the field of urban rehabilitation, is responsible for the initiative’s success. The key to this is their unique approach which “seeks to make use of the buildings’ history, leaving it completely visible,” the person in charge of the project, engineer José Carlos Queiroz told us. This includes leaving the five coats of paint visible that were applied to a wall, and leaving the potholes in the calçada cobblestones as a way of getting cars to slow down.

One of the most captivating places is certainly Ler Devagar (literally “Read Slowly”), regarded as one of the ten most beautiful bookshops in the world by the British website Ehow (1). At a time when traditional bookshops are something of an endangered species, Ler Devagar seems to have found its true home. Built around a rotary printing press on three floors, this ten-year-old bookshop still specialises in less well-known, but no less interesting, editions. In addition, it regularly offers a wide range of activities from meetings and performances to exhibitions and concerts.

The LX Factory premises are also home to innovative projects such as We Hate Tourism, a subversion of the concept of tourism, and ACT, a school for actors. Alongside, you can visit the different shops, have a tattoo done at Illusion Ink Tattoo, have a massage at LX Massagens or Reiki therapy at the Sétimo Chakra.

After so much activity, it’s quite normal to start feeling peckish and you are spoilt for choice as regards places to eat. A Cantina, the old factory canteen, offers universal flavours, while the Vila Louize serves Chinese food and the Sushi Factory provides a buffet type service. Next you have to visit the Landeau, which has the best chocolate cake in Lisbon, and to round it all off there’s nothing better than a bica (espresso coffee) at the Bica, which also happens to be a bicycle shop.

There are also Open Days, special days which are held twice a year, with dozens of activities taking place during the day. On these occasions, the LX Factory opens its doors to the public for exhibitions, gastronomy tastings, concerts, theatre and fashion shows. On Sundays, the LX Market is held where you can find second-hand goods, clothes, handicrafts, vintage items, art, wines, bites to eat and music.

The original idea was to transform the concept of the shopping centre, where contracts are done in accordance with each project, and are renewable every five years. This approach meant that, rather than there being a number of disconnected shops existing side by side, a human network appeared with real bonds of social solidarity. Examples such as an economist offering consultations to neighbouring micro-business are the norm not an exception.

A city within a city, the LX Factory seems to blend the best of both worlds, combining the sustainability of traditional businesses with the innovation of 21st century companies. And it achieves this while refurbishing an important historical part of the city, without undermining its character. This is the place where Lisbon takes the role of a European capital.

Rua Rodrigues Faria, 103, 1300-501 Lisboa
Tel: (+351) 213 143 399
Email: lxfactory@mainside.pt
Site: http://www.lxfactory.com/

About the author

Hugo Filipe Lopes:Has a degree in sociology and a post-graduate qualification in clinical nutrition from the Egas Moniz Faculty. Collaborates with a number of online publications, a trainer and nutritional therapist. Honourable mentions in the Casa da Imprensa and Lisboa à Letra competitions..

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