Portuguese designers are now injecting contemporary verve into statement furniture and lighting, marrying traditional craft with a new playful sophistication. Nicole Swengley reports.
Contemporary Portuguese brands are fast becoming design-aware homeowners’ new best friends. At any international interiors show, such as Milan’s Salone del Mobile or Maison & Objet in Paris, you’ll see heads literally turn as visitors spot the eye-catchers currently popping up from Portugal. And, as in any blossoming relationship, charisma and charm are essential ingredients. These designs are playful yet sophisticated, combining traditional artisanal skills with luxurious materials and a forward-thinking aesthetic.
Even some of Portugal’s long-established companies are now adopting a contemporary aesthetic. Móreis Carlos Alfredo, a solid-wood furniture manufacturer founded in Porto in 1964, launched WeWood, a design-led brand, in 2010. Hand-assembled pieces, produced in small batches, make a virtue of the parent company’s sophisticated techniques. Cables are hidden by complex joinery in the sleek Metis desk in solid oak or walnut (€5,040), which has three drawers, two lidded sections and a secret compartment. And the Lover seat (€5,712) has a grainy timber frame with interchangeable parts so it can be transformed from a love seat to a chaise longue, daybed or small sofa.
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