Strangeways, here we come
The Poblenou neighbourhood is a thriving artistic and residential area in the Sant Martí district of Barcelona. Once referred to as the Manchester of Catalonia, Poblenou was the centre of the old industrial district of Taulat where factories and textile mills began to spring up in the 19th century during Europe’s industrial revolution.
After the decline of industry in the 1960s, the area began to be revamped as a residential space. In 1992 the @22 Project took this renovation to a new level and turned the district into the cultural hub that it is today, injecting energy back to the neighbourhood and its economy. Old abandoned factories were salvaged and turned into unique spaces for modern pursuits, like Can Ricart’s art studios and the fun community centre housed by Can Felipa, which also has a rooftop theatre.
From textiles to tech
The best example of 19th century industrial architecture in Poblenou is the Ca l’Aranyó building on Carrer Tànger, which was also reclaimed as part of Project @22. This was an old textile mill actually modelled on those of Manchester - it was founded by an English company. Today it is the home of various different companies and institutions working in the audio-visual industry.
The old part of Poblenou where the working classes and fishermen once dwelt is still there today for visitors to see, and offers a different perspective on the modern area of Sant Martí. Also in Poblenou is the The Fundació Vila Casas, a museum of contemporary art displaying over 300 works from the 1960s onward. The area also includes Bogatell Beach, created for the Olympic Games, and the new Parc Central del Poblenou, with its colourful shrubbery and spiralling walkways. The Rambla de Poblenou is the liveliest place in the area and is great for spending a day shopping in the boutiques or an evening dining and socialising. Traditional meets modern in Poblenou, creating a lively and intriguing neighbourhood to explore.