Valletta Design Cluster
Navigate Up
Sign In

Valletta Design Cluster

The Valletta Design Cluster within the Valletta Cultural Agency — a legacy project of Valletta 2018, European Capital of Culture — is a community space for cultural and creative practice situated in the renovated Old Abattoir (Il-Biċċerija l-Antika) in Valletta. It focuses on design, entrepreneurship and social impact, while supporting and promoting user-centred design as a catalyst for innovation and as a multi-disciplinary approach that can create positive impacts for communities and individuals.

he Valletta Design Cluster’s aim is that of providing space and opportunities to Malta’s burgeoning cultural and creative operators. It is a project steeped in the rich history of Valletta, providing a bridge between 450 years of urban activity and the city’s future. The key human contributors to this major regeneration effort are Valletta’s residents and neighbouring communities together with cultural and creative professionals in design-intensive practices.

Valletta Design Cluster is harnessing this energy, tapping into national and European funds and expertise in the creative economy, and building on the legacy of Valletta 2018. This space includes dedicated resources and areas for co-working, a fully equipped makerspace, meeting rooms and conference facilities for seminars and workshops, a food space that can serve as a teaching kitchen and a space for culinary projects, studios for cultural social and environmental practitioners, and a new public roof garden. The Valletta Design Cluster also has its own practitioner in residence spaces, with two apartments that can double up as international project labs for visiting creative practitioners, makers and researchers.


The site
of the Old Abattoir (il-Biċċerija l-Antika) in Valletta has been identified for regeneration and conversion into the Valletta Design Cluster. The Old Abattoir is one of Valletta’s earliest buildings, but has undergone many changes since its first use as an abattoir in the 17th century. During the early 18th century, the building was used as residences and soldiers’ barracks and, following that, light industrial uses were introduced, including cotton spinning and bakeries, with some of the bakers’ ovens still in use until the late 1980s and in evidence on site to this day. Although earmarked for housing improvement in the latter part of the 20th century, the identified interventions never took place and the building has stood in an advanced state of disrepair for the past decade.

ollowing a three-year process of community engagement in the development of the concept and in-depth analysis of the needs of the sector, as well as interaction with the various communities that constitute the living link between the vibrancy of Valletta’s past and future, the major works on the conversion of the Old Abattoir site into the main base of the Valletta Design Cluster took off in 2017. In this regard, the project’s strategic objective was to contribute to the urban regeneration efforts being carried out by the government in the mainly residential, Marsamxett side of Valletta. Its longer term aim is to improve social, cultural and economic well-being through investment in improved cultural infrastructure that generates new common spaces for the community, as well as sustained economic activity and employment.

infrastructural investment in the project was supported by the European Regional Development Fund under the Structural Funds Programme for Malta 2014-2020, which allowed the regeneration of the physical space for the Valletta Design Cluster and the urban public spaces around it.

ollow the Valletta Design Cluster on Facebook and Instagram
For information on how to make use of any of the facilities below, please visit the Valletta Design Cluster page on the Valletta Cultural Agency website ( There you will find information on how you can register to keep yourself updated on events and initiative run at the Cluster, as well as join the Cluster’s membership programme and access the facilities and benefits that are available for the different categories of members. 


1. Makerspace

The Makerspace is a fully-equipped workshop that forms an integral part of the Valletta Design Cluster. Located on the ground floor of the Valletta Design Cluster, the Makerspace is equipped with an extensive inventory related to prototyping in metalworking, woodworking, textiles, electronics, casting and moulding, computer-aided design, CNC milling, cutting, routing, 3D printing and embroidery.

The Makerspace provides space, equipment and supporting expertise for projects that require the use of tools and technical skills. Whether you’re a student, a resident, an individual artist or artist collective, a maker, a designer, a practitioner-in-residence, a researcher, a creative start-up, or a cultural and creative enterprise or organization, the space is accessible for you to make use of for your projects!

2. Food Space

The Food Space is a dedicated area in the Valletta Design Cluster for food-based activity, aimed at supporting community projects centred around food as well as supporting food-based initiatives, start-ups, community events and related activities. Located on the ground floor of the Valletta Design Cluster, this facility includes a fully-equipped kitchen, a teaching space with nine stations, and a canteen for users of the Cluster facilities, together with food storage areas.

Use of this space may range from creative workshops and cooking classes to team building activities and individual cooking. A canteen service for the Cluster’s users and a dining area is also part of this space. If you are involved in cultural projects involving food-based practices or are interested in running classes on food-preparation, the Food Space can provide you with the equipment and facilities you need to take your project further.

3. International Project Labs

The International Project Labs consist of two townhouses on Bull Street, an integral part of the Cluster’s core facilities and services. They are fully equipped to accommodate up to eleven residing practitioners (four single bedrooms and two dormitories of three and four beds each), complete with self-catering facilities and shared bathrooms. The project labs are immediately adjacent to the main building of the Valletta Design Cluster and as such provide direct and convenient access to all the facilities within the main building and, most importantly, to the community of users and practitioners frequenting the facility.

These facilities are multifunctional and can serve as residence spaces for visiting international practitioners and artists directly linked to the activities of the Valletta Design Cluster. The labs can provide users with short-term dedicated space for project development, meeting areas, small workshops, and a logistics base.

4. The Roof Garden

The Roof Garden is a new public space in Valletta, covering the full roof space over the main building of the Valletta Design Cluster. The Roof Garden includes a roof pavilion (for meetings/workshops at roof level), a small pond, a small seating area, two multifunctional spaces for small group meetings or open-air workshops, and, of course, green spaces with mostly local trees and shrubs on most of the roof area. The Roof Garden is fully accessible by lift and by stairs and is publicly accessible during standard opening hours.

This space is a green lung for residents and visitors to the city. The best way to use it is to visit, relax and enjoy! The Roof Garden also includes facilities that can be used for small meetings or workshops, especially if these are linked to educational green initiatives. We invite you to be innovative and approach us with ideas on how this space can contribute to the wellbeing of its users, residents and the general public.

5. Meeting Spaces and Conference Room

The Valletta Design Cluster has five fully-equipped meeting spaces of various capacities, ranging from small consultation rooms to medium-sized meeting rooms, all with flexible set-up features. The Valletta Design Cluster also has a fully equipped conference room with a seating capacity of eighty persons. The conference room is connectged to the ground floor by lift and is fully accessible to mobility-impaired users. It is also serviced separately through a food lift to the kitchen on the ground floor.

The meeting rooms and the conference facilities may be booked for community and neighbourhood meetings, lectures and seminars, as well as teamwork sessions and workshops. The conference room can host larger events, including seminars and lectures, and can also be split into two equal, separate and independently accessed spaces through a retractable partition. These spaces may also be used for non-lecture type activities, such as exhibitions.

6. Studios

The Studios are fifteen dedicated and independently accessed rooms, all located on the first floor of the Valletta Design Cluster, aimed at serving as creative spaces for longer-term tenants of the Cluster. They consist of nine smaller rooms (dimensions L 5.8m, W 3.2m, H 4.3m), eight of which have an internal mezzanine accessed via a retractable ladder, and three larger rooms (L 5.8m, W 7.9m, H 4.4m) which can also be partitioned into (six) smaller units. All rooms are accessible via the main lift, and access is controlled via the electronic access control system of the Cluster. Rooms are provided with electricity, water, internet, tables, chairs and basic storage.

The space allows users to customise the individual studios and use the space for any cultural, social, creative and practice-based activity that is compatible with the general approach of the Cluster. The Studios can host a variety of different activ​ities, ranging from cultural and creative practice, to activities which aim at having a positive social impact, to start-up projects, all with a focus on collaboration and exchange with other people who are active inside and outside the Valletta Design Cluster, possibly also in the form of sharing a Studio.

7. Coworking Space

The Valletta Design Cluster includes up to twenty co-working stations equipped with desk plug-in services, basic storage, a dedicated small video conferencing room and a lounge space. The Coworking Space is located on the ground floor of the building next to the Makerspace, and shares with the latter an external seating area in the central courtyard.

Those in need of a space where to work independently for a few hours per  day can make use of the co-working facilities of the Valletta Design Cluster within an open-plan layout shared with others. Students, freelancers, creative practitioners, and visitors to Valletta requiring a basic work space may benefit from these co-working stations, which also serve as a hub of cultural and creative activity.

8. The Central Courtyard

The Central Courtyard is the main ground floor public space between the two blocks of the building, formerly part of lower Old Mint Street. Traditionally an open space, this area is now an all-season multifunctional space thanks to a retractable glass canopy which shelters the whole length of the central courtyard, but which can also be opened to allow for free and natural circulation of air. The space is very versatile in usage and is furnished with loose and re-configurable seating facilities. The whole courtyard is fully accessible on the ground floor level and can be acceded to via the main entrance on Bull Street or from St Charles Street.

This space may be used for both work and recreation. The courtyard is an ideal location for exchange among the Valletta Design Cluster communities and the informal seating spaces can be changed and adjusted to host different activities and events. These can include temporary art and design exhibitions, public events, informal meet-ups, cultural events and community meals.

Contact Information:
 Contact Name 
Valletta Cultural Agency
Exchange Buildings
Republic Street
VLT 1117
View map