Portugal gets a lot of attention as a tourist destination, as the country’s faltering economy has made it more affordable than many other European destinations. And it turns out it’s not a bad place to shop for home furnishings, either.
Frederico Duarte, a design critic and curator based in Lisbon, who consulted on the Design: Portugal collection produced by the Museum of Modern Art and teaches at the university here, recently offered a reporter a tour of his city’s offerings. He began with Ana Salgueiro, a design shop in the Chiado neighborhood, where he pointed out two pendant lamps: Planet, by Mood, a simple light that is nevertheless “made of so many different elements,” he said, that “I am thinking it would cast good shadows,” and Raio, a suspension lamp by Marco Sousa Santos, founder of the Lisbon Design Biennale. “Sometimes I think design gets overwrought,” said Mr. Duarte, 35. “Marco’s designs are not about creating a weird concept. They just work. I think this would be a great lamp for public spaces or places with double-height ceilings.”
Another symbol of Portugal, Mr. Duarte noted, is cork. It can be a trap for local designers, he said, who feel the need to make something — anything — out of it, often with substandard results. But he found a couple of exceptions at the Cork & Co shop in Bairro Alto: a “very elegant” wine cooler by Ana Mestre of Corque Design and the shapely Vinco chair by Toni Grilo, made from a single corkboard.
And at Vista Alegre, a porcelain manufacturer founded in 1824, he made a beeline for the Transatlantica plate by Brunno Jahara, created by the Brazilian designer during his stint at the company’s designer-in-residence program. What makes it interesting, Mr. Duarte said, is that the pattern appears to be a traditional Portuguese tile motif — but only at first. “When you look closer,” he said, “you see a gun, a Popsicle and other things that add a whole other layer.”
Source: The New York Times