architect: Ateliers Jean Nouvel
location: Barcelona, Spain
photo: Roland Halbe
The three buildings in La Ronda Sant Antoni are a magnificent testimony to the industrial Barcelona of the nineteenth century. They house the story of Moritz beer and of the people who worked there and who lived there. But the buildings no longer met the demands of beer production on a large industrial scale. They needed to be made to make sense again. We needed to reinvent uses and to reimagine a life appropriate to the Barcelona of the twenty-first century.
On this historic site, Moritz has opened a high quality micro-brewery that makes the brand’s beers for buying and drinking directly on the spot. There are restaurants, a bar, a wine seller, a boutique and a specialised bakery. A multimedia room and a museum complete the programming of the spaces to accommodate every kind of clientele, day and night.
The project reveals the beauty of the industrial architecture. It uncovers the brickwork, the steel and the cork-lined walls. It shows the concrete vats, the old machinery and the goods lift. We reveal the surviving traces of floors made of heavy flagstones and colourful patterned tiles.
The architecture of the revisited site accentuates contrast and the overlay of the different eras. The old Moritz advertising posters have been reinterpreted and now illuminate the brewery. Black and white images are screened over the walls, evoking the place’s history. LED light panels bathe the bar and restaurant in pale gold, gold and garnet-coloured light. The lighting reminds us of beer and creamy heads foaming in the glass, as well as wine. The new beer vats are made of stainless steel. The façades and walls are composed of large glass panels and mirrors. Transparent resins give the old floors back their sheen. State-of-the-art screens cover the walls of the boutique. The images and the different-coloured lights form an immaterial layer, superimposed over the industrial architecture. The bars and tables are made of tin and their patina sharpens our awareness of time. And the cement surfaces are overrun with vegetation from the high living green wall. La Antigua Fàbrica Moritz has once again become a place that bears witness to the vitality of Barcelona.