APW was first established in 1952 as Art Printing Works, a commercial printing factory. Its original location was in Lebuh Ampang, before relocating to its present Bangsar location in 1965. From the 60s to the 80s, Art Printing Works was one of the most prolific printers in Kuala Lumpur.

In 2013, an idea was conceived to repurpose underutilised spaces within the printing factory - to convert the factory into an inspiring creative space.