An update from our roving coworker, Rachel Buttig of East St. Louis Dream Center, who recently discovered a thriving coworking space and creative corridor in Lisbon.
Lisbon, Portugal seems to be on the verge of a creative explosion. Portugal has gone through a financial crisis and is still struggling in this crisis. It’s a very conservative country and only fifty years ago it came out of a long and strict dictatorship.
When I first arrived in Lisbon, I could sense some kind of creative energy buzzing through the streets. I couldn’t quite put my finger on it. It was very subtle and seemed more underground than anything. Every city has layers, and the longer I stayed in Lisbon and connected more with the locals, I began to discover the small creative hubs of the city.
LX Factory is one of these hubs, or as an article I recently read called it, a “creative island.” This phrase describes it perfectly. LX Factory is in a part of the city that was once an industrial area and takes up about two city blocks.
Standing at the beginning of the street looking down to the end, you can see cool restaurants, boutiques, cafes and a great bookstore, and the bulk of the businesses are in warehouse type buildings. Each business has a small space they rent and run their business from.
The main cornerstone of LX Factory is the four floor coworking space, Coworklisboa. As I walked each floor of the coworking space, absorbing what was happening there and interacting with the business owners, I could see a sense of pride. I could see the bravery in their hearts, as they along with the other LX Factory entrepreneurs were part of a new wave slowly building here in Lisbon.
They are part of a community of unconventionals doing something on the creative edge, going against the normal flow in a conservative country right in the middle of a financial crisis. LX Factory and Coworklisboa appear to be an incubator for the creative soul that is bubbling beneath the surface of Lisbon and slowly changing it into a city that was once overlooked into something beautiful and unique.