The Valletta Design Cluster

Il-Biċċerija l-Antika

About the Valletta Design Cluster

The Valletta Design Cluster within the Valletta Cultural Agency is a community space for cultural and creative practice situated in the renovated Old Abattoir (Il-Biċċerija l-Antika) in Valletta. The project supports design and entrepreneurship having a positive social impact, taking collaborative creative approaches as the key to achieve benefits for individuals, communities and society at large.

The Old Abattoir was built in the 17th Century and is one of Valletta’s earliest buildings. The building has served several uses over the centuries, including as residences, soldiers’ barracks, a manufacturing facility, and a bakery site, with some of the bakers’ ovens still visible on-site to this day.
The major works to convert the Old Abattoir site into the Valletta Design Cluster took off in 2017. The aim is that of creating a space to improve social, cultural and economic wellbeing through the creation of new common spaces where the community can interact, as well as sustainable activities with a focus on creativity, design and entrepreneurship.
This is also a major urban repurposing project in Valletta, having a major impact on its neighbourhood and directly impacting residents, regular city users and visitors. Through the creation of a new roof garden overlaying the whole building, the Valletta Design Cluster provides the community with a freely accessible public space and a new green area within the highly urbanized World Heritage context of Valletta.

The project aims at bridging gaps which may feature in the current cultural and creative ecosystem by actively engaging with practitioners working on initiatives targeting cultural and social wellbeing. We encourage the application of design-thinking, multi-disciplinarity and cooperation as tools for community development. Our community members consist of Valletta residents, students, designers, artists, freelancers and SMEs, public bodies, academics, techies, food lovers, civil society activists and NGOs, and more. The Valletta Design Cluster provides facilities, expertise and opportunities to its communities.

Besides the official cultural program, the practitioners who make use of the various facilities have the chance to regularly showcase what they have been working on, as a way to introduce personal and group practice and to connect with others. We encourage constant exchange among practitioners in order to support the development of new collaborations and growth for each and every community member.

The project is supported by the European Regional Development Fund, which is providing a financial support of up to 80% of eligible costs for the regeneration of the physical space of the Valletta Design Cluster and of the urban public spaces around it.

Our Facilities

The Valletta Design Cluster provides public space accessible to the general public on the roof and in the central courtyard. These public spaces are free to access during regular opening hours and do not require membership or prior registration. On the other hand, the main facilities for cultural and creative practitioners are accessible via membership scheme aimed at providing equitable accessibility to resources, safeguarding health and safety to users, and ensuring an effective management of the members community. The scheme runs in two strands: (a) a regular members’ strand and (b) a studio-based members’ strand.

Where to Find Us

Our Community

The Valletta Design Cluster building
c. Darren Agius
The community dimension is at the heart of what the Valletta Design Cluster is. We value collaborations and believe in the potential that community-embedded knowledge and resources have to transform society and make lives better. The communities that make up the Valletta Design Cluster consist of various individuals and organisations that generate positive social value through creativity, enterprise and social impact. These range from independent practitioners to micro-entrepreneurs, public entities to international partners, residents to students in various disciplines, makers and food practitioners, and civil society players to organisations involved in public greening initiatives and and placemaking. Our form of community engagement is based on an open education model, and directly builds on principles inspired by the Sustainable Development Goals of the UN.