Tucked into a hilltop in northeastern Portugal’s Côa Valley – an area, filled with Paleolithic rock carvings, that’s been called “Man’s first land art” – is the Museum of Art and Archeology of the Côa Valley, the first major commission of Camilo Rebelo, working in conjunction with fellow Portuguese architect Tiago Pimentel. The museum’s stone façade and vertical window slits let natural light enter the exhibition spaces; public areas are in a glass space tucked under the main volume. “I was on site at midday while designing the museum, and saw a lizard crawl under a rock. That’s how I knew exactly where to put the restaurant,” says Rebelo, 40, who has worked for Herzog + De Meuron, taught in Switzerland and, now, in Porto. He is currently working on residential commissions and his practice – run with partner Susana Martins – is one to watch.
From their publishing studio set in an antique mansion in Lisbon’s Príncipe Real upscale neighbourhood, Uzina Books has been producing coffee-table titles inspired by Portuguese architecture, a subject that is practically untouched in the publishing world. As part of the 1+1 range, this special collection explores the country’s most important contemporary constructions (such as Carrilho da Graça’s pedestrian bridge over the Carpinteira Stream in Covilhã), giving the readers a detailed insight into the development and completion of the projects.
Founded in 2004, husband-and-wife studio Pinch is one of London’s unsung furniture-making heroes, working with eight different workshops across the UK to release a small collection of elegant furniture and lighting every year. The latest collection includes this modular oak Post Office shelving system.
Norway [WOODEN TOY]
Traditional Nordic toys, these wooden house birds are by young Norwegian designer Lars Beller Fjetland. The brood goes by the name of “Re-turned”, having been made with discarded pieces of wood and turned by hand; each one has its own character. They will be exhibited for the first time at the London Design Festival as part of 100% Norway.
Right on track
UK [POP-UP BOOK]
The delight of a pop-up book doesn’t diminish with age and this new creation masterfully uses the medium to tell the story of London’s King’s Cross redevelopment. Celebrating John McAslan + Partners’ overhaul of the station, the story is told through Lucy Dalzell’s illustrations with the help of Corina Fletcher’s pop-up skills. Michael Palin and Dan Cruickshank provide their written thoughts.
The newest outpost of Tokyo design and home-goods shop D&Department has opened in Ginowan on the sunny island of Okinawa (see issue 56). Kenmei Nagaoka – the founder of D&Department and a tireless crusader for Japanese design and regional crafts – has teamed up with local architects Mix, which runs a shop in the same building. Visiting shoppers will discover D&Department’s regular line-up of Japan-made furniture, kitchenware and stationery alongside a fine selection of Okinawan products, including hand-blown Ryukyu glass tumblers and lacquered wood bowls and plates by local makers Tokeshi.
An exhibition commissioned by the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art outside Copenhagen tasked studios across the region to create updated dioramas of Nordic identity. One came from Norwegian studio Permafrost: the modular depictions of an oilrig and a tanker will wise up infants on their nation’s vital assets.
Showcasing Portugal’s most traditional products – from toothpaste launched in 1932 to kitsch canned food – A Vida Portuguesa is an obligatory stop in Lisbon for anyone interested in vintage brands. Now owner Catarina Portas has opened an outpost in Porto, too. Her interest in retro design started during her days as a journalist, when she researched branding during the dictatorship. “Some of these products were vanishing from the market,” she says. “I loved their fun packages and decided to present them to new generations.” Our favourites are the Claus soaps (see issue 52) and Alentejan blankets.
Get carried away
Young Swede Johan Andersson moved to Stockholm to study advertising in 2001 and promptly gave Sweden’s greatest designer, Olle Eksell, a call. Andersson has since launched a website dedicated to Eksell’s works, releasing a small product collection with some of Eksell’s signature illustrations, including these trays.
Building for the future
Despite the country’s economic doldrums, not all Portuguese companies are doomed. Start-up design brand Wewood debuted earlier this year at Maison & Objet with a collection including sideboards and chairs. Based near Porto in the country’s furniture-making district, it has a team of craftsmen known for their work with solid wood – French oak in this case, the same material that helps to age the region’s famous port wine.
Amsterdam-based creative agency KesselsKramer prides itself on breaking rules; this beautiful new book shows how. It includes contributions from renegade figures including Stefan Sagmeister and Anthony Burrill and, as you would expect, it is a beautifully designed, wittily told romp that might just keep you in your seat next time the adverts come on.