Furniture and interior design are not what comes to mind when people think about Portugal. Jose Mourinho, Windsurfing and Lisbon, one of our favourite cities in the world, maybe. Portugal Brands are starting to change that and we are more than happy to help. One of the stand out exhibitions in Milan this year was, for us, the taster of what the country has to offer. And the really good news is that the same exhibition is going to be on show at New York’s ICFF in May. We’ve shown you the outside of this remarkable cabinet from Tralhao before, we thought it was time to open the doors. This is what can be done with MDF and gold leaf. The influence of Portuguese tradition is evident, so is the willingness to create something that is distinctly contemporary.
The top of the Royal Dining Table by Boca Do Lobo is finished in an intriguing patchwork and high-gloss varnish, it’s base is black lacquered. Overall the effect is mesmerizing. It is the product of a company which is incapable of producing a boring piece of work. It mixes tradition and creativity in a distinct and confident fashion. Boca DoLobo are fond of saying that they produce work which is ‘passionately inspired and hand crafted’. The interior design industry isn’t known for understatement or false modesty but on this occasion we have to agree. For interior designers looking for something with both quality and edge, Boca Do Lobo is well worth a second look.
Riluc, as you may have gathered from their Aline Chair, are fans of Stainless Steel. This highly polished piece puts us in mind of American Artist Jeff Koons, and we suspect we should apologize for that. Unlike some of Riluc’s work, this isn’t a piece that invites you to actually use it. It doesn’t scream comfort. Nevertheless it’s lines are quite beautiful and it demonstrates a willingness to master a medium that we see very little of.
Sotrue! makes claim for being a furniture design concept that highlights authenticity while blending it with the excellence of innovative production, based on age-old skills allowing for the most perfect combination of manufacturing, quality, design and functionality’. In other words, traditional skills and sensibilities combined with very contemporary, and uncompromising, design as is demonstrated in the Taboo Sideboard, above. And that seems to be a theme amongst the furniture we saw from Portugal. It is all very well made, much of it is distinctly Portuguese in a way that we can not immediately define, and it is all fresh and modern. And that really isn’t what we expected.
Maybe it is the hint of Art Deco that makes this chair so irresistible? Maybe the details like the stitched back and coloured legs attracted our attention? Or it could just be that use of the sexiest of all reds after which the Lipstick Chair is named that made it stand out amongst teh very large crowd in Milan. In any event, Munna create furniture which is close enough to tradition to be eminently usable but with enough flare to announce its presence. Clever trick!