What is the “Ateneus de Fabricació” Network?

The Ateneus de Fabricació, or Fab Labs, are a public service that disseminates technology and the science of digital manufacturing. They are places to learn, collaborate on different projects, and form part of the city’s social development. Anyone can make use of their spaces, tools and public resources, and propose projects to improve their immediate surroundings.

The Fab Lab Network is made up of the city’s various “ateneus”, Barcelona’s leading digital manufacturing technology dissemination, training, and creation spaces at the service of citizens, the education community, businesses, associations, and the community.

What is the aim of the Fab Lab Network?

The digital Fab Labs were created with the aim of disseminating the full potential of new digital manufacturing technologies, providing spaces for digital skills acquisition and learning processes for all city residents, and fostering social innovation among city residents.

The main aims are:

  • To bring digital manufacturing technologies and science (and their applications) to all city residents: local residents, different social groups, entities, companies, schools and institutions.
  • To develop participation and networking models focused on social innovation and promotion of the collaborative economy, and which foster new ways of communicating and exchanging talent and open and collaborative learning.
  • To support projects that have a social return and are transformative for a particular group, a city neighbourhood, the city as a whole, or the world.
  • To share the knowledge generated in all the processes in order use it to maximum benefit


Digital manufacturing consists of the digitalisation of production processes to define, enhance and execute the production of an object using new technologies such as 3D printing or laser cutting. While the definition might seem straightforward, the term is much broader, ranging from the purely technical to social aspects.

Digital manufacturing, or more precisely the digital manufacturing revolution, is based on the idea of converting information into objects and objects into information, enabling anything to be produced just about anywhere and at any time.

Digital manufacturing is thus a reality and is likely to change everybody’s life either directly or indirectly.


How do the Fab Labs work?

Fab Labs are open to everyone and the “price” paid to use them is known as  contraprestació,a system of social reinvestment for the support received in the lab in terms of time, talent, involvement, and participation to benefit the community. All without any money changing hands.
Hence, the Fab Lab service is public and free of charge. It is, however, based on a collaborative economic model where what is uppermost is not ownership but use, and to be able to use the Fab Lab services there are a series of contraprestacions that the user must provide to the community.

Some of the contraprestacions that have been given up to now, which can be seen in the following video, are the commitment to support somebody else’s project, training or an open activity aimed at the local area or the general public, material resources for the lab itself or for the projects developed there, and research materials, to name just a few.