Wallpaper magazine: Unmissable things in Portugal

Internationally renowned lifestyle magazine Wallpaper seems to have discovered Portugal in its latest edition – and it has a lot to tell about the country. PDV has taken a peek and lets you know how it went.

Accommodation Culture Features Features Museums Tours What's New Wine & Food — 31 October 2011 by Pedro Carreira Garcia
Wallpaper magazine: Unmissable things in Portugal

Renowned lifestyle magazine Wallpaper highlights in its latest edition many good reasons for visiting Portugal. Focussing on retro cafés and chocolateriesrural tourism sites and whole cities like Guimarães, the magazine published a travel feature on the best places to visit in Portugal.

Architectural Highlights

Wallpaper begins with the wineries of the Douro region in northern Portugal, home to the vineyards that produce Port wine, as well as several other varieties which are consumed all over the world. The magazine focusses specifically on the Quinta do Vallado winery and its “architectural stake” after asking an architectural practice for an extension in this place which is nearly three centuries old and integrated in the mountainous landscape.

The tranquility commonly associated with rural landscapes is also highlighted by Wallpaper. Some “rural idylls”, as the magazine calls them, have brought masterpieces of design to some natural landscapes in Portugal. The wooden suites of Casas do Côro, designed by Madrid architect Tomás Alia in a village near Guarda, east of the Estrela Mountains, are resting pinpoints with a touch of modern innovation. In the Peneda-Gerês National Park, Casa do Rio Vez is another “rural retreat”. An old 19th century olive mill converted in “a chic self-catering loft and four bedrooms”, offers “lush gardens” by the Vez river.

The Algarve is mainly known for its mass-tourism, yet as PDV well knows some gems can still be found far away from the coast: the Companhia das Culturas rural tourism site in the village of São Bartolomeu de Messines, designed by architect Pedro Ressano Garcia, which hosts cultural venues as well, is also highlighted by Wallpaper.

The lifestyle magazine has a penchant for exquisite buildings and architectural masterpieces. Casa do Conto, located in the central district of Cedofeita in Porto, is a recent boutique hotel revamped from a 19th century bourgeois building. The classical façade betrays this heritage, yet its whole interior has contrasted the classical exterior with a cutting edge intervention by architectural collective Pedra Líquida. The charming hotel’s entire ambience emerges from this sharp contraposition between old and new.

Moving south, the magazine highlights two houses designed by architect Ricardo Bak Gordon in Lisbon’s Santa Isabel district. These homes, according to Wallpaper, aim to “recreate an environment of green space and openness” in the middle of the city.

However, the main highlight according to the magazine’s choices is the Champalimaud Centre For the Unknown. Located in Pedrouços, overlooking the Tagus River, this oncological and neuroscience research site is held to be one of the most promising medical knowledge centres of the world in this specific area. The late António Champalimaud, a Portuguese banker and businessman, set up this foundation to manage a state of the art research centre to promote a close collaboration between resident scientists and the whole community. The facilities designed by Indian architect Charles Correa, right in front of the river, include two different buildings connected by a glass corridor and a “waterfront promenade accessible to all”.

Innovative Portuguese

Wallpaper did not ignore some prominent Portuguese with something to show. Porto-based fashion designer Ricardo Dourado’s autumn/winter collection was discovered by Wallpaper journalists, who state that his “clever use of colour and materials” ends up giving his creations an “insouciant, ethereal quality”. Wallpaper also mentions the work of João Bruno Videira, a former Portuguese journalist, who decided to use “traditional weaving techniques” to produce solid pieces of furniture in the centre of the southern region of the Alentejo. Chef José Avillez is also the subject of attention, as he holds the most important distinction a master cook can aspire to: a Michelin star. The renowned French guide rewarded Avillez’s efforts to “update” traditional Portuguese cooking with modern twists & touches, according to Wallpaper, in his new Lisbon restaurant, Belcanto.

Brilliant ideas

Wallpaper also become fascinated with some new ideas being applied to consumer goods in Portugal. The exquisite Porto chocolate boutique Chocolateria Equador emerged from the minds of graphic designer Celestino Fonseca and artist Teresa Almeida. According to the lifestyle magazine, the beauty lies in the details: from the “beautiful wrapping paper” of its chocolate bars to the “exquisitely formed cakes, macaroons and truffles”. Wallpaper did not forget cork, the quintessential Portuguese product. The country is the main cork exporter in the world and artists and designers have taken up this traditional material to work with. The largest cork producing firm in Portugal, Amorim, started an association with design biennale Experimenta Design to reinvent some products using cork.

The magic of genuine anachronisms in everyday life is very alive in Portugal and Wallpaper journalists did not fail to spot some of them, at a time when revivalism is trendy and chic. This time classic barber shops were in focus. The Antiga Barbearia de Bairro sells products inspired in the old barber shops’ products. After launching a “range of shaving essentials inspired by the charm of Lisbon’s Príncipe Real area”, the firm discovered the banks of Douro river for its three-piece collection called Ribeira do Porto.

And trying to bring back old beverages only our grandparents drank, Catarina Portas’ Quiosque de Refresco revived the 19th century Romantic street kiosks and brought to the present all the classic beverages from older times. Old and round bottles of capilé and redcurrant are the new thing in this revivalist, vintage trip to the past highlighted by Wallpaper.

Café Vitória in Porto also makes the list. The café in the central district “mixes Scandinavian pieces with traditional Portuguese café items”creating a mixed, retro ambience. Also, Lisbon’s Quinoa is a “trendy bakery”, as Wallpaper classifies it, founded by sisters Alexandra and Filipa Galrão Jorge and specialised in “producing the best organic bread in town”. Their offer ranges from the more exotic to usual products of a normal bakery, located in one of the main streets in the old part of Lisbon. And Espaço B, also in Lisbon, is considered by the magazine to be one of the trendiest stores in the city, located near the also trendy neighbourhood of Principe Real.

Guimarães, Europe’s Capital of Culture

The magazine also focusses on the northern city of Guimarães, whose historical centre is classified as a UNESCO world heritage site, and is regarded as the birthplace of Portugal after the recognition of the Kingdom of Portugal in the 12th century. The city will be European Capital of Culture in 2012, and it will be organising major cultural events drawing creators from many areas, creating a dialogue between local artists and cultural entities and their European peers. Many cultural equipments, such as the Centro Cultural Vila Flor, will be under the spotlight throughout next year.

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Pedro Carreira Garcia

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