What is nowadays the head office of CTCV - Technological Center for Ceramic and Glass, in Coimbra, Centro Region of Portugal, was once a ceramic industry, consisting of multiple buildings, connected together and built on several floors.
Lufapo Ceramics began the era of the large ceramic industry in Coimbra, which had rapid growth in the first years of production. Later, it even employed about 1000 workers and was, in this sector, one of the largest in the country.
Today, in these buildings, an innovative project is rising, reviving the Lufapo brand, but giving it a new scope, following the European trends of the New European Bauhaus movement. With this project, CTCV aims to attract world creators, as well as to support co-creation and the development of new business ideas.
LUFAPO Hub has an incubation space for new companies and aims to foster and enhance synergies where startups and industry-based companies can work together, adding value to their projects and to their businesses; it has a coworking space with 15 work stations and a collaborative laboratory is been prepared for artists and artisans from the ceramic sector, where they can test raw materials, innovative technologies and develop their own projects. In addition, a reliable internet network is available, as well as an auditorium with a capacity of 120 people, a cafeteria, and six meeting and training rooms. The facilities are located next to the main city train station, with direct access to the urban transport network of Coimbra.
The idea of building a creative and collaborative hub has been thought for some time but began to take shape with the participation of CTCV, as a partner, in the European Project CLAY, promoted by the Interreg Europe Program, which has four other partners from Finland, France, Romania and Italy. Under this project, meetings, conferences and working groups were held with artists and artisans from the Central Region of the country, as well as with representatives of Regional Management Authorities, which resulted in an Action Plan consisting of several proposals, including the promotion of collaborative workspaces, as well as the implementation of a set of activities with the management authorities of EU funds in order to launch calls for the artistic ceramics sector and allow better support for business and projects of artists and artisans, among others.
The results of CLAY actions are already starting to emerge. In addition to the Lufapo Hub, CTCV is developing an Innovation and Entrepreneurship project supported by CENTRO 2020, which aims to promote ideas and mentoring programs for new businesses that will welcome artists, artisans, startups and industrial-based companies, thus creating new synergies for the optimization of resources and strengthening new competitive advantages.
Synergies were also reinforced between CTCV and the CLAY project stakeholder CEARTE - Center for Vocational Training for Handcraft and Heritage - to improve the support to these new creative businesses by signing, last January, a Collaboration Agreement for the installation of the creative and collaborative atelier dedicated to ceramics. This space is intended primarily for ceramic artists and creators, in a coworking and co-creation model, where the necessary utensils, tools and equipment will be available for their activities, in articulation and with technological innovation mentorship of CTCV and CEARTE.