Photography: Aitor
Photography: Aitor Estévez

Photographer Aitor Estévez has captured Barcelona’s disused industrial spaces which are slowly being reclaimed by time and nature.

In his series, Cronotopes, factories stand quiet and hotel rooms are free of guests – unless you count the ivy trailing in through the window. In one image a lone chair waits under a skylight, while another shows a building all-but-collapsed and spilling its brickwork into the street.

Estévez also documented the vestiges of a grand casino – once large enough to include its own rollercoaster, but shuttered in the 1920s – which is now partly demolished and almost entirely covered in rapidly growing greenery.

‘I was interested in looking for places lost in time, capsules that could hide some kind of truth in this world dominated by markets, media and fashion,’ says Estévez. ‘These contemporary ruins are talking about a part of our very nature, which usually goes unnoticed. Time and nature end up devouring the architecture.’

Many of the crumbling buildings are on the outskirts of the photographer’s home city of Barcelona, and were discovered during his day-to-day life. Others in Catalonia and the Basque Country required him to journey further afield with his camera.

Photography: Aitor Estévez
Photography: Aitor Estévez

Estévez hopes the photos not only reflect on the effects of Spain’s financial crisis – which has caused many factories to be abandoned – but also document the city’s disappearing architectural history.

‘There is, in these photographs, a subliminal intention to try to live, to understand, to experiment, and to catch that invisible thing that fascinates us [about] these places,’ says Estévez. ‘It is basically an attempt to return to our own imperfect nature.’

He adds: ‘I consider it important to know where we come from, to decide where to go.’

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