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Startup Incubator Office Was Once a Slaughterhouse

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A space for entrepreneurial blood, sweat, and tears

An industrial abattoir in Madrid’s Arganzuela district is now home to the city’s creative young blood. The nearly 4,300-square-foot space has been reimagined as an incubator for entrepreneurs working in tech, communication, and the arts.

Designed by the Madrid-based Office for Strategic Spaces, the Factoría Cultural Matadero Madrid embodies an entrepreneurial, bootstrapping aesthetic. The renovation cost less than $11 per square foot (€105 per square meter) and was completed in just under a month’s time.

The architects largely kept the building’s worn industrial details—its partially disintegrating walls and battered concrete columns—electing to construct a free-standing second level made of affordable materials. The pine-and-polycarbonate platform was designed to be easily disassembled or changed.

The natural grain of the untreated lumber soon became the space’s defining design element, with matching custom-built furniture continuing the theme on the building’s ground floor. Wood scraps were recycled into radiating light fixtures mounted to the ceiling.

The translucent polycarbonate panels were used as space dividers in the structure, creating walls and barriers that still brought light into the interior.