The reception area of the meeting rooms for the Portuguese Presidency of the Council of the European Union in the Europa building in Brussels was remodelled using furniture in wood, cork and burel in order to create a solemn, comfortable atmosphere.
© Portuguese Presidency of the Council of the European Union 2021 / Tony da Silva/LUSA
Hexa by designer Daniel Vieira, armchair Monsaraz designed by Carlos Aguiar and tile panel by Eduardo Nery © Portuguese Presidency of the Council of the European Union 2021 / Tony da Silva/LUSA
The Hexa table was designed by Daniel Vieira, with simple lines in solid wood and a hexagonal tabletop. The table can be combined with others or used separately, either horizontally or vertically, serving as a coffee table, a side table or even a bedside locker. This piece of furniture is based on contemporary, utilitarian and sustainable solutions, paying attention to the quality of the manufacture down to the last detail.
Praising creativity and respecting craftsmanship
The Portuguese Roots wooden armchair, designed by Alexandre Caldas, was created as the progression to armchair of the wooden chair of the same name. The designer reinvented it, taking his inspiration from the metal chair designed by master metalworker Gonçalo Rodrigues dos Santos in the late 1940s.
Portuguese Roots wooden armchair designed by Alexandre Caldas © MUDE - Museu do Design e da Moda
The slope resulting from changing the angle of curvature of the frame that defines the upper part of the back, the armrests and the two back legs of the chair bring the comfort of an armchair, while respecting the design of the lines and angles in the original chair. The use of cork or straw in the back and seat add another distinctive touch to this chair.
Breathing new life into traditional art
The straight lines of the Monsaraz armchair designed by Carlos Aguiar reflect the inspiration the designer derived from traditional kneading troughs made from wooden planks. The burel back and seat of the armchair provides a space that is perfectly shaped and comfortable to sit in. It takes its name from the traditional art of blanket weaving in Reguengos de Monsaraz, characterised too by colourful, geometric patterns.
Babel and Symphonie Three table lamps, Monsaraz armchairs designed by Carlos Aguiar and a tile panel by Eduardo Nery © Portuguese Presidency of the Council of the European Union 2021 / Tony da Silva/LUSA
The beauty of simplicity reflected in the lighting
The handcrafted Babel and Symphonie Three glass table lamps with contemporary lines are a fine example of the excellence of the new approach underway in the glass production sector in Portugal. The lamps are handcrafted by master glassmakers using age-old traditional methods that come from a long tradition of glassmaking in Marinha Grande. The traditional methods combined with modern design have transformed these lamps into unique objects.
The art of welcoming
The tile panel by artist Eduardo Nery was placed at the end of the room by the curator with the intention of welcoming everybody who works here in 18th-century fashion — through the “welcoming figures” normally placed at the entrance to or on the staircases of Portuguese palaces at the time.
Tile panel by Eduardo Nery © Portuguese Presidency of the Council of the European Union 2021 / Tony da Silva/LUSA
Although Eduardo Nery stands out in Portuguese art for his colourful, repeating patterns that create illusory spaces and explore the visual perception of the observer, using Op Art logic, this panel is also characteristic of his work in the deconstruction and surreal reconstruction of the “welcoming figures”, as the artist himself said.
Bárbara Coutinho, Director of MUDE, wanted to use this curatorship to reflect on notions of consumption, durability and sustainability. Her aim was to call attention to the importance of good design, the quality of the materials used and the masterful manufacture of items that are functional and long-lasting, in order to ensure an effective reduction in the waste generated by constant and impulsive acquisition and exchange of poor-quality products.