We were recently commissioned for a stand alone project which was to be shot in Portugal, during our four days we divided our time between Lisbon and the Portuguese countryside – offering the perfect balance between city and nature. Whilst there we managed to find a little time to look at some of the local shops, art and architecture – something we always try to do when we visit places, seeking influence to take from our new cultural surroundings, here are five of the things we would highly recommend seeing or doing whilst in Lisbon and Portugal.
Before delving into our highlights, we firstly need to give due attention to the two amazing locations we stayed in – two of the four Silent Living houses. If you’re not already aware of Silent Living, we can’t emphasise how wonderful their spaces are. Each of the properties started out as a family home for the founders and their relatives, until the family decided to repurpose them to become ‘homes away from homes’ for travellers and visitors. The ideology behind the project runs parallel to our vision for House of Grey (creating tranquil environments which soothe the senses through material and form), so it was exciting to see how this idea had been interpreted by others. In each of the homes every detail has been carefully considered, from the locally-sourced materials to ensuring the buildings’ sit comfortably within their surroundings – the design is faultless. While in the Algarve we stayed in Casa no Tempo, an old converted farmhouse and in Lisbon we stayed at Santa Clara 1728, an 18th century building located in the heart of the city.
House of Grey’s recommendations for Lisbon and Portugal:
1. Feira da Ladra
First on our list is this incredible flea market located in the Campo de Santa Clara, the ‘Feira da Ladra’. The market takes place every Saturday and Tuesday and was ideally located right next to our hotel, we love looking to the past to find inspiration and we could easily have spent hours wandering around finding unique pieces to be reinterpreted in our work.
- A Vida Portuguesa
If you’re looking to get an authentic piece of Portuguese design, look no further than A Vida Portuguesa. A Vida Portuguesa carefully selects brands and products which are built to last, represent timeless design and demonstrate the beauty of Portuguese craftsmanship – an idea we can really get behind. There’s a reason this shop has been included in Time Out’s list of top 10 shops to visit in Lisbon…
- Claus Porto
Over 100 years and 4 generations old, this shop has artisan at its heart. The hand-crafted soaps and fragrances of Claus Porto draw on ingredients from the Portuguese countryside but what makes them even more special are the hand-wrapped and beautifully illustrated packaging. These are items to be enjoyed for their aesthetic beauty as well as their gorgeous smells.
- Museu Calouste Gulbenkian
Although Museu Calouste Gulbenkian houses the largest collection of Portuguese modern and contemporary art – it wasn’t the art which caught our eye, it was the incredible architecture of The Founder’s Collection building. The structure is the result of an architectural competition of the 1950s and the three winning architecture collectives created a stunning space which merges nature and art via the vast windows which bring the beautiful outside space in.
- Manuel Aires Mateus
Last on our list is not a place to visit but a person who has been influencing the aesthetic of Portuguese architecture for many years: Manuel Aires Mateus. Manuel is one half of the architectural powerhouse, Aires Mateus, which he founded and runs with his brother Francisco – a firm known for its respectful reinterpretation of traditional Portuguese architecture and its innovative approach to light and form. Manuel is also credited with designing Santa Clara 1728 and Casa No Tempo and while in Portugal we were given the exclusive opportunity to shoot in his own apartment (something which has never been done before).