The magnetic triangle of Asturias is located between Gijón, Aviles Y Oviedo. They are the three most important cities in the Principality and make up an imaginary axis that can be covered in one hour; between them there are 20 to 25 minutes by car. Three equidistant points where each city is located, with its own roots and history, under the umbrella of a common identity, that of the green Asturias. Now more than ever they show new cultural, technological and creative impulses with the design and the architecture as a unifying element.
A focus of exchange and a hybrid cultural revulsion, between industry and culture, which is positioning itself in the north of Spain as an important nucleus of artists, architects, designers, researchers and experts in new technologies and innovation, who work on projects. international and local. Union make force. A union that transcends institutional operations and evolves naturally between the three cities.
In Avilés the emulation operation of the guggenheim effect led the great architect Oscar Niemeyer up to its green hills. But regardless of the architectural effect, it is metal, once again, that is revolutionizing the city. “The so-called Steel apple it is a nerve center for scientists and researchers and a driving force for small and medium-sized technology companies ”, indicates Sergio Baragaño, who has designed several industrialized architecture buildings in the area and is part of The Tanner, located in a tanning factory from 1820 and an example of an Asturian industrial building. This is a business incubator and start-ups, where culture is also promoted.
“The most cutting-edge technology centers in the world are here, with people from different countries who come to experiment and make discoveries to improve their production and expand their uses,” says Nicolás de Abajo, global coordinator of the centers of R&D of ArcelorMittal, multinational steel company.
The Niemeyer CenterYes, it continues to collect all the cultural events and activisms. “The cultural and educational activity has not stopped, we intend to cover all possible audiences and provide a quality entertainment service”, comments Carlos Cuadros, its director.
One of the latest initiatives has been Room 2030, an independent hotel room module, linked in Avilés to the hotel NH Collection. It was exhibited in front of the Niemeyer Center, and its objective is to test innovations from various companies that improve the accommodation experience. A project that will face other cultural spaces in Spain, always linked to a hotel.
With design as the driving force, there are gastronomic proposals in Avilés that are giving a note of quality, fusion and originality, such as Ronda 14, a restaurant with Japanese-Peruvian cuisine.
“La Laboral is a very important engine of the city. Perhaps at first it was too advanced for its time, but today, in the present and for the future, it is decisive, as well as the center of the city itself ”. This is how Charles Landry, the international expert on the use of imagination and creativity for urban change, expressed himself in a visit to Gijón. The Labor It was in its beginnings, and continues to be, an alternative and experimental focus that has promoted the training of many professionals. “It has forged a sensitivity and a broader, international and contemporary vision,” says Raquel Gallego, architect and developer of innovation projects in the town. “We can highlight the Gijón Maker Center —A digital manufacturing center — and the new Cimadevilla creative districtIt is a historic center of fishermen where artists, designers and small technology companies have moved that connect very directly with the neighbors and exchange ideas ”, says Gallego.
At Santa Catalina hill you will find one of the symbols of this innovative movement that has characterized the city for years, sculpture In praise of the horizon, of Eduardo Chillida. And two of the most charming spaces at this time to experience that alternative environment are The Patio de la Favorita, a theater cafe located in front of the sea (Ezcurdia street, 4), and the coffee bookstore Toma 3 (Marqués de Casa Valdés, 27).
It seems a contradiction with the traditional and classic essence of Oviedo, but it is real. “In recent years a Alternative and very creative Oviedo”, Explains Chus Neira, journalist and promoter of cultural projects in the Asturian capital. “Zinc can, the mangrove, the Mufa, 451, Decero, Smoke, The rocket, Cafca, Bag The Link they are spaces, programs and companies in which culture is made or innovation is developed ”, he emphasizes. The largest initiative is the renewal of the old Arms Factory of La Vega and his “little sister”, the Gas Factory, still to be fully developed, since political twists and turns accelerate and decelerate both rehabilitation projects for cultural endowments, business hotbeds and biosanitary center. It seems that 2021 may be the final year.
“More than a triangle of three cities, I would speak of a circle that unites the unique qualities and the undoubted human factor of the contemporary culture of Asturias”, points out Joaquín Vaquero, architect and son and grandson of the Asturian saga of engineers and architects who they linked industrial spaces to art, for example, in their hydroelectric plants open to visitors (such as the one in Proaza, half an hour from Oviedo, and the one in Grandas de Salime; saltosdelnavia.es).
Marisa santamaria is a researcher and teacher of global trends in design.
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.