With almost 3,000 activities going on throughout the year, Matadero in Madrid has become a prime art institution, highly appreciated by artists, actors, musicians, and simply all those who seek an out of-the-ordinary cultural experience.
Since the early 20th century, a slaughterhouse (hence the name; matadero is Spanish for “slaughterhouse”) stood on same site. It was abandoned in 1996 and a decade later, the city council took the responsibility to transform the space into a live factory which would eventually encourage new forms of art expression. Matadero was opened to the public in 2007.
The complex – comprised of huge pavilions where livestock were slaughtered for almost a century – has not changed a bit; something which clearly only compliments the overall appeal of the place. The building, a work by architect Luis Bellido, is not-so-typical, yet marvelous example of industrial architecture in Madrid – it features Moorish-inspired tiles and abstract brick ornaments.
The space inside Matadero is divided into several institutions, the purpose is nevertheless unanimous for all – bind under one roof all those who are passionate for arts. Casa del Lector focuses on the readers and their perception of the reading material. Central de Diseño is where design is at its best – graphic, interior and industrial design in particular. Cineteca promotes the importance of the documentary film genre; and Naves del Español on the other hand, centers on performing arts and shows ultramodern plays for the most experienced connoisseurs. Nave de Música is one of the best music venues in the city, holding concerts by emerging artists. Matadero also has also a superb visual arts hub – Nave 16, an immense space where numerous live concerts and presentations are organized; a center dedicated to alternative landscaping (Avant Garden), a club for artists with open debates and readings (El Taller), and plenty of other entertaining facilities.
Each of the institutions mentioned above organize workshops, lectures, exhibitions, which are accessible for both professional artists and general public.
To refill the energy in-between hopping from one gallery to another, there is La Cantina, a hip café with simple yet delightful organic food; and Café Teatro – located next to theatre-alike Naves del Español is good to get a drink or two, right before heading to see the play.