Design in Portugal: a vision with Culture

14 Feb · 10h00

Portuguese design exhibition in the lobby of the Justus Lipsius building in Brussels © Portuguese Presidency of the Council of the European Union 2021 - Tony da Silva/Lusa

People hurry through the atrium of the Justus Lipsius building in Brussels, rushing between meetings, commitments, exchanges of information and decisions. Inviting passers-by to experience this space, whose appearance will make them want to slow down, or even stop, to enjoy a moment of calm and reflection is what Bárbara Coutinho, Director of MUDE, was aiming for.

Favouring organic materials, all the pieces in the atrium affirm their rationality, economy and lightness of design, providing a pleasant space with a clearly defined ecological identity.


Sugo Cork Rugs, by Portuguese textile designer Susana Godinho © European Union

Sugo Cork Rugs, pioneering use of cork in weaving

Textile designer Susana Godinho designed and made the two rugs that mark out two gathering or meeting points in the atrium. These geometric pattern rugs signal the innovation that came from the cork industry and the weaving industry working together. Manufactured by hand using traditional looms and made from cork, linen and 100% Portuguese wool, with no chemical dyes, these rugs are an excellent example of sustainability and eco-design.

Sugo Cork Rugs, in partnership with Amorim Cork Ventures, created cork thread to be used for weaving, produced from the waste left behind from making bottle corks. The use of cork thread for weaving increases waterproofing and sound insulation in the spaces where the rugs are used, as well as giving them anti-allergenic properties.

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Tables Flora, by the duo of Portuguese designers Joana Santos and Hugo Silva © Portuguese Presidency of the Council of the European Union 2021 - Tony da Silva/Lusa

'Flora' tables, a tribute to Portuguese cultural heritage

The different kinds of tables in the Flora line, designed by Joana Santos and Hugo Silva, can work separately or together, providing different kinds of supports. Made from wood with a lacquered finish in different colours, these tables stand out for their bases made from 100% dark agglomerate cork, biodegradable and recycled, highlighting the great versatility, high performance and environmental value of this raw material, used in Portugal for many generations.

Designers Joana Santos and Hugo Silva set up the Portuguese company DAM in 2013, blending design, traditional know-how and new technology in order to present quality furniture and accessories that are truly evocative, telling stories, appealing to a more lasting relationship with objects and renewing our collective heritage. Their strategy is also based on promoting the local economy as a fundamental element in sustainability.

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Aranha chairs by Portuguese designer Marco Sousa Santos © Portuguese Presidency of the Council of the European Union 2021 - Tony da Silva/Lusa

Aranha chairs, a tribute to the art of carpentry

Aranha chairs, designed by Marco Sousa Santos for the Branca company, illustrate how design and manual dexterity are an asset. Made from solid beech with the seat in interwoven wicker, they stand out for their harmonious lines, their stability and comfort.

Branca is a furniture design company in Lisbon, founded and run by Marco Sousa Santos, who values working with local producers that share his taste for detail and love of handcrafted wood. This designer has also brought out several collections of new products with national and foreign designers.


These sustainable and environmentally responsible proposals were chosen to match the priorities of the Portuguese Presidency of the Council of the European Union, promoting the reinterpretation of traditional crafts in association with new technology.