This was one of Steve’s suggestions based on a visit he had previously made to Lisbon and it transpired to be a very agreeable one. LX Factory is a creative and cultural hub which is located in a former industrial complex. It has been transformed into what is quite a vibrant space that houses numerous shops, restaurants, art galleries, and co-working spaces. With its unique blend of industrial architecture and contemporary design it has become quite a destination for locals and tourists.
There’s a mix of things to do here, including fashion boutiques, vintage shops, bookstores and other creative offerings. The complex also features several restaurants and cafes serving up a variety of cuisine, including traditional Portuguese dishes and international fare. Art enthusiasts can enjoy the many galleries and exhibitions showcasing the work of local and international artists, although Steve and I just went looking for food and drink. It was a hot day and we needed refreshments.
It’s perhaps reached the stage now, in a similar way to Camden Market, where it has become more of a tourist destination rather than the on-trend cultural treat it might once have been. However, there’s still plenty of character here.
The on-site hostel with its street art.
There are a few little structural issues to deal with.
There’s plenty of history to this former industrial site, but I’ll use the words from the official web-site:
“It is in the year of 1846 that the Company of Wiring and Fabricos Lisbonense, one of the most important factory complexes of Lisbon, settles in Alcântara. This industrial area of 23,000m2 was in subsequent years, occupied by the Industrial Company of Portugal and Colonies, Typography Anuário Comercial de Portugal and Gráfica Mirandela. A fraction of a city that has remained hidden for years is now returned to the city in the form of LXFACTORY”.
Its survival is mostly due to the financial crash, as there were plans to demolish it and construct a new development here, but then the money ran out and they never quite did anything with the site. All told, that seems like it’s for the best given what has been created here, but I’m not sure what the long-term plan is.
The area has a laid-back feel to it, very bohemian. There are free toilets which is a handy thing to have and some outlets feel quite rustic, whilst others have clearly had a lot of money spent on their design. It’s certainly worth a visit for an hour or so to explore the various floors, although it is something of a maze to get around.