A few years back an interesting article, about Lisbon’s upcoming art scene, featured in the NY Times. The city of Lisbon forms a great transcultural platform for the creative industries because of the good weather, food and number of unused spaces. It’s a nice meltingpot of architecture, art, photography and literature, mixed with a rich history. Also the city is relatively cheap compared to other South-European places.
Around 2008 a long-disused facility was reborn as Lisbon’s most ambitious new cultural venue. What used to be the place where weapons were made during the dark years of dictatorship in Portugal, was replaced by concert rooms, exhibition spaces, a sprawling bookstore, a cinema, a restaurant and various bars. Fábrica Braço de Prata’s typically diverse offerings: a jazz combo, a reggae outfit, a Leonard Cohen documentary and a 1 a.m. after-party featuring D.J.’s and alternative bands visited by a wide variety of people such as a buzzing crowd of tweedy academics, tattooed cool kids, bourgeois couples and bespectacled grad-student types.
Fábrica Braço de Prata’s transformation is emblematic of the city’s sudden cultural emergence. Like the factory, Portugal languished for much of the 20th century on Europe’s geographic and cultural margins. From the 1920s until the 1970s, a repressive dictatorship smothered the nation, sending the creative classes fleeing to London and Paris and severely stunting any potential arts scene. The economy also slumped. Once the center of a global trade empire, Portugal sunk into notoriety as Western Europe’s poorest nation.
Lisbon is avidly making up for lost time. All over the city, an upstart generation is laying waste to the sepia-toned stereotypes and gleefully constructing edgy and forward-looking ventures amid the time-worn monuments and quaint cobbled lanes.
Lisbon is great to explore from a more ‘tranquil’ Cascais villa, as it is only a 25 minute car drive from the buzzing city. Providing a great balance between beaches, nature (Cascais natural park) and a roaring cosmopolitan city of Lisbon.
To learn more, please check the complete article at the NY Times.