The factory is more than eighty years old, built at the end of the 1920s. The original owner, Jaume Ensenyat, was the son of the founder of Ca’n Xilles. Since his brother Vicenç had inherited the old Ca’n Xilles factory, Jaume decided to build this one. The Ensenyat family was in the textile industry, and the factory continued production until the 1960s.
At the end of the 1960s, Antonio Ramis Tortella, dedicated to the manufacture of leather goods, bought the factory and installed his manufacturing equipment here. He also opened a shop selling leather goods primarily to the tourists visiting Mallorca.
Manufacturas Ramis can trace its origins back to 1939 and the innovative vision of its founder who found a way to take advantage of the difficult times in Spain after the Spanish Civil War. He began making bags from leather remnants previously cut into diamond shapes and then stitched together. Initially, these remnants came from the pieces local shoe factories discarded.
The company stopped manufacturing leather goods in the 1990s, but the shop stayed open to the public until 2013. Also, as one of the factory bays was empty, the company rented it out to a large supermarket, Mercadona.
Production has begun at the Factory again, but this time generating ideas, projects and knowledge. It’s the Factory of the new collaborative economy located in Inca, the heart of Mallorca. The new Factory has been built based on sustainability principles and a respect for people.
The Factory was built at the end of 1920s and is thus more than eighty years old. It’s made of sandstone and features large windows on both the ground and first floors to make the most of the sunlight. It has two bays spanning 1,000 square meters each and an inner patio measuring more than 300 m2.
The Factory’s old brick chimney stands out in the south bay, measuring 26 meters tall. The old textile factory had a single steam engine, and this chimney served to let out smoke at the appropriate height.
The facade changed significantly due to modifications made by Mercadona. Also, local legislation required that arches be added to the front of the building at the same time that the supermarket remodeled the bay.
The Factory consists of two bays, one on either side of the central patio. The latter has a central strip and was used for many years as a parking lot. One curious detail is that an old horse-drawn carriage was stored here until the end of the last century.
The two ground-floor bays feature wrought-iron columns and barrel vault ceilings between each row of columns on the side facing Gran Vía de Colón.
The two first-floor bays feature red pine columns and beams. The ceiling consists of ties and bars as well as ceramic pieces and is thus very light. The roof features the typical Mallorcan tiles which are Arabic in origin.
Two teams of architects began remodeling the building in 2012: Arquitectura Punta and Mercè Zazurca Codolà.
The philosophy behind the building’s restoration was based on preserving its general aspect and original details as much as possible. As a result, we minimized the needed repairs and the budget. We also applied some sustainable construction principles such as installing a biomass fuel boiler. Lastly, we inspired the remodeling on some well-known figures such as Archduke Ludwig Salvator.
The first stage was recuperating the roof. Though seemingly counterintuitive, we began with the roof because there were a lot of leaks after so many years going unused and we feared any potential water damage. In the second stage, we painted all the facades and installed the current windows. At the end of 2013 and early 2014, we removed all the add-ons which had accumulated over the years, including false ceilings, dividing walls, various installations, etc. After completing the latter, we had an “unobstructed” view of the building’s architectural wealth for the first time. We could now see all the global spaces as well as the original construction details. At the same time, we were able to see the impact of the reforms the supermarket had carried out in the 1990s.
In the summer of 2014 we began to support the building structurally. This was necessary for the building to be open to the public. As a result, the building now greatly exceeds the 500-kg weight bearing load stipulated by law. This required: micro-pile driving and pile caps to support the wrought-iron columns of both bays; steel support strips for the ground-floor ceiling beams; and substituting the wood ties in the first-floor ceiling. Adding structural support also meant addressing the chimney. For this we added steel rings to support the tower. This was necessary due to the cracks that had appeared over the years, making the chimney stack not work as well as when it was originally built and weakening it. These steel rings serve to ensure that the chimney’s structure stays sound.
At the end of 2014 we continued with civil engineering projects and pre-installation work. In 2015 we focused primarily on the building’s installations. Worth noting first is the heating system using a biomass boiler. The entire building now has panels through which the hot water runs, heating both bays. We also installed plumbing, electrical wiring, communication systems and voice and data networks. In 2015 we also addressed the flooring as well as all the building’s internal walls. This implied lining all the building’s walls and, most importantly, creating the classrooms.
We finally began with the building’s decor, favoring an austere, industrial look, as well as furnishing the building and adding other decorative elements. The latter includes a web of indoor plants to help keep the air fresh within the bays. We also created the Archduke’s Forest in 2015 in the Factory’s central patio. This is precisely where his presence is felt the most. The space consists of five parterres representing five of the typical habitats found on the Balearic Islands and which the Archduke described in his book, Die Balearen (1969-1994). This space came to be thanks to the knowledge generated by the NIXE III project (www.nixe3.com) and Julio Cantos, an expert in permaculture who proposed the forest’s definitive design.