La Comunal is a cooperative cultural space born from an alliance between a range of projects from the social and solidarity economy. Our aim is to pool our strengths and resources, cement intercooperative ties and, by extension, increase the scope and community impact of the transformative socioeconomic activity carried out by our members.
Beyond a shared headquarters, La Comunal, located in Sants, represents a commitment to taking things to the next level, creating a benchmark cultural and cooperative hub in the city. Founded as a shared services cooperative in the Sants neighbourhood of Barcelona, La Comunal is made up of seven workers’ cooperatives and one association: Aula d’Idiomes , La Directa , Jamgo, Irídia, Lacol, La Ciutat Invisible, La Deskomunal and Quesoni.
The project has breathed new life into four modernist-inspired industrial warehouses built in 1926, which have been listed for their architectural importance. The building complex, commissioned by the textile magnate Francesc Sans and designed by the architect Joan Bruguera i Roget, housed a Catholic school for workers’ children and a number of different factories manufacturing awnings and sails over the years. In the last twenty years, however, the buildings and their surroundings had fallen into disrepair. The refurbishment of the building, taking into account its architectural importance and carried out with energy efficiency and environmental sustainability in mind, has allowed us to recover and revamp a key part of the neighbourhood’s working-class heritage.
The complex is structured around a courtyard, which provides the central axis of the intercooperative activity carried out by the organisations based at La Comunal while at the same time being open to the public. It is a well-lit, accessible and safe space, designed with community life in mind and, from an ecofeminist perspective, as a future climate refuge for local residents in Sants.
La Comunal and the projects that form a part of it seek to change society. We have joined forces in an effort to promote an economic model that works for the people, based on reciprocity and mutual support. We want a feminist economy that puts care at the centre and channels its efforts to satisfying personal and collective needs, with a focus on diversity and collective sustainability. We want a community economy with local roots, one which is environmentally-friendly, accessible, and which operates at a human level.
In short, we want a popular cooperative economy, one which aspires to be a practical alternative to the capitalist economic system, free from privilege, profit and exploitation. Our aim is to create a new perspective for social justice, with a more equitable redistribution of material resources and common social wealth.