Enveloped in a mellow, mechanical buzz, the factory is filled with a throng of people, all dressed in a utilitarian, navy ensemble. Their faces have a look of intense concentration, yet there’s an easiness to them, too. They evidently enjoy the company and surroundings.
The factory is in Lipsheim, France, and is just a 10-minute drive from the German border. The 1930s structure is comprised of high ceilings and natural light. Ambiguous machinery and metalwork is passed from one hand to another, and it’s only occasionally you glimpse the finished product: an oven or coffee machine.
The industrial revolution of 1760–1840 began in Britain, and soon spread across the continent. Factories sprang up and offered agrarian communities the chance to evolve into urban trade centres. By 1900, Germany had the biggest economy in Europe, thanks to its booming industry. In 2010, Germany’s Ruhr region, which is synonymous with steel works, coal mines and blue-collar jobs, was voted Europe’s Capital of Culture.