If design is your dream and craftsmanship your passion, if you are a professional or even a curious enthusiast, don’t forget: Monday, January 21 is a day you should definitely mark on your calendar. “Portugal: Eldorado archi, design, craft?”… so many questions to debate in the groundbreaking conference, starting at 02:00 pm until 02:45 pm in Hall 7 (The Talks) at Maison et Objet 2019. Will you join us in this adventure full of riddles and enthusiasm?
When several great European designers moved to Portugal, the world asked them why. Two answers emerged: the existence of craftsmanship skills and a certain state of mind with the human at the center. Truth or fantasy? Are you ready to find out?
In this outstanding conference ready to break some boundaries and explore the Portuguese contribute to the finest craftsmanship, everyone will have the pleasure to hear the remarkable designer Joana Astolfi from Astolfi Studio; the celebrated interior architects Artur Miranda and Jacques Bec from Oitoemponto and the renowned Amandio Pereira from the Covet Foundation for Design & Craftsmanship, moderated by the journalist Guy-Claude Agboton.
Amandio Pereira is the founder & CEO of Covet Group, an international creative company that embraces and manages 11 luxury design brands. His journey in the design world started in 2005 when he founded the renowned Boca do Lobo. Deeply connected with the Portuguese legacy of fine craftsmanship, he soon started to draw attention to his statement and his edgy furniture and lighting collection’ brands after he finished his degree in Product Design by Politecnico di Milano.
Injecting a new vitality into a previously conservative industry in Portugal, Amandio revealed strong leadership and entrepreneurship skills managing nowadays a corporation with 40 distinct businesses with more than 500 employees. Due to his motto in life, “to inspire the world through Design and Craftsmanship”, in 2018 he established the Covet Foundation. The CF is a non-profit institution which works as a tribute to Arts & Crafts, while promoting a valuable environment across industries, where skilled artisans are encouraged and treasured worldwide.
Joana Astolfi (b. Lisbon, 1975) is an artist, architect and designer who draws visual inspiration from a wide universe of found objects. Porcelain statuettes, miniatures, vintage chairs, lamps, toys, diaries and photographs of people she never met fill and shape her creative vision. Her artworks, installations and window displays are inspired by imperfections, mistakes and the irrepressibility of humor.
A keen sense of history also characterizes her interior design and architectural work for commercial and private clients. Distinctive surfaces, fixtures, details, textures and patinas bring depth and complexity to clean, simple lines and illuminated open spaces, always with an eye toward the history and memory of the place. Astolfi sees objects and spaces as experiences, caught in time, but also capable of transcending and bridging time – and she leads her audiences on this fantastic journey.
Astolfi lived and worked in London, Munich, Venice and Los Angeles, finally returning to Lisbon in 2007 to bring to life Studio Astolfi. Starting from Joana’s creative vision, Studio Astolfi is a team of artists, artisans, sculptors, designers, architects, and technicians who specialize in telling stories, evoking memories, and captivating the curiosity of their audiences. Astolfi’s work was exhibited in several countries and acquired by many collectors. She is Portugal’s window designer for Hermès since 2014 and an invited artist window designer worldwide.
Oitoemponto, meaning “precisely eight o’clock” in Portuguese, arose in 1993 from the perfect alchemy between two strikingly different but truly complementary personalities. It is almost the ideal success story. With Artur Miranda’s experience in the world of fashion and design, the project set himself apart by its decidedly modern vision of decoration, a clearly marked desire to break with the established codes and dare the most unexpected combinations, while at the same time fostering and developing an innate sense of color. Jacques Bec brings to the duo a refreshing enthusiasm and the French touch, as well as the precious know-how acquired during his studies at the Met de Penninghen graphic arts school in Paris.
Together, the two designers create sublime décors for dozens of lucky people. Each production is the fruit of long hours of coordination during which the lifestyle of the client is examined in minute detail in order to create an optimum match for their needs and wishes. The result is a subtle mixture of the owners’ tastes and the incomparable talent of Jacques Bec and Artur Miranda. Unique places, at once refined and convenient to live in, bright and discreet, modern and timeless… A delicately joyous and chic atmosphere, just like the two designers, is created.
The Porto Showroom was born when Artur Miranda and Jacques Bec wanted to create a place that would serve as both work space and showroom, and in 2002 took over 300m2 premises in a quiet, upmarket neighborhood of Porto, not far from the sea. The location is the reflection of their work: a successful fusion of furniture by the leading designers of the 1940s to 1970s, delightfully and harmoniously rubbing shoulders with numerous creations by Oitoemponto as well as a very selective array of works of art and unique pieces from reputed designers, all carefully surrounded in perfume created by Frédéric Malle. This is the workshop for all the staff of Oitoemponto, which now embraces around ten designers and four architects, enabling the creators, since 2007, to dedicate themselves to very large scale projects both in Portugal and abroad – London, Paris, Luanda or São Paulo, for example.
Even though their work is based in Porto, Jacques Bec and Artur Miranda travel frequently to Lisbon, where they manage multiple projects. Rather than invest in a pied-à-terre, they prefer to check into the Ritz where they find the discrete opulence and the numerous art works reminiscent of the atmospheres they create. As this luxury hotel became their “second home”, so it seemed quite natural for it to host their second showroom. Situated on the ground floor of the establishment, a selection from the work of the two designers is on display in the 16 m2 corner, alongside candles and scents from Frédéric Malle and “Oitoemponto, architecture & intérieurs”, the book devoted to the work of the two designers, published by La Martinière. This is a refined yet cosy reception space, in perfect harmony with the five-star setting.
Passionate about the authenticity and exceptional skills of the craftsmen they work with daily, Jacques Bec and Artur Miranda invested in a Portuguese company specialising in the manufacture of luxury stationery items. Conceived by the designers and crafted in the purest tradition, Fine & Candy products are a skilful blend of very contemporary sources of inspiration and ancestral know-how. Like the world of fashion, the brand proposes two collections a year, which systematically include a few exceptional pieces created in collaboration with the artists in vogue at the time. These classical and crazy “stationery works”, of an absolutely incomparable charm, are on display in the eponymous store located a short distance from the Porto showroom.
Lastly, Guy-Claude Agboton, from the Law Faculty, Ecole du Louvre, Ecole Supérieure de Journalisme, fell into the world of design via an internship at Marie-Claire Maison. In 1993, decorating became a trend. With the strong return of vintage design, he then worked with IDEAT magazine. He is now head of the design section for this publication, a real expert in everything, without any specialization. Writing on this field, its cult objects, its big thinkers, on art, architecture, photography, or fashion, is not so much a matter of getting lost in a excess of subjects, but more about analyzing the human factor at its core. People are what this journalist focuses on, from design studios to factories, from Mexico City to Paris, via Tallinn.
We are proud to be present and have a voice in this years’ edition of Maison et Objet Conferences. We hope to share our message with the world: it is crucial to elevate master artisans, arts and crafts and ancient techniques, challenging them and bringing them into luxury design.
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