Sometimes something can look beautiful just because it’s different in some way from the other things around it. One red petunia in a window box will look very beautiful if all the rest of them are white, and vice-versa.
-Andy Warhol, The Philosophy of Andy Warhol: From A to B and Back Again
Last week, Mango and I embarked on a whirlwind tour of Spain by rental car, almost completing a full circle around Madrid. The fábrica de muñecas abandonada outside of Valencia topped my list of things to see as it had been on my travel bucket list for a while. While the site is creepy, probably creepier at night than in full daylight when I went, it is nowhere near as fantastical as online clickbait articles claim it to be. There were unfortunately no spine-chilling doll heads with missing eyes and cracked skulls, but thousands of white plaster molds filling tall shelves and spilling through doorways; molds were everywhere. And although the sight of all these abandoned molds is something to behold, my favorite part of visiting the abandoned doll factory was picking a mold at random and lifting the top to reveal a unique, hand-made creation, usually of a discombobulated limb in miniature. Visiting the factory is more of a lesson in early twentieth century toy manufacturing than ruin porn, and the building is a fascinating maze of architecture from different time periods.
According to AbandonedSpain.com, the building was originally a convent that soldiers took over in the Civil War in the late 1930s. Afterwards, a horse corral occupied the building then sculptor and porcelainist Ramón Inglés and his sister Fina converted it into a factory for dolls. The business was left behind after skirmishes with the local government and plans to restore it never came to fruition. In 2011, the building’s roof collapsed and nature is slowly reclaiming the exposed building interior.
PS – There are many images on the internet of an abandoned conveyor belt of mannequin heads used for beauty school students that claim to be from this factory; this is not true.