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  • Writer's pictureClaudio Fibonacci

Exploring the Enduring Beauty of Portuguese Design: A Tribute to a Timeless Cultural Legacy

A New Book Celebrates the Timeless Allure of Portuguese Design Culture

A Journey into the Heart of Portugal’s Design Ethos

A new literary masterpiece, Patterns of Portugal, takes readers on an extraordinary journey exploring the vibrant visual culture of Portugal. The book, resulting from three years of travel, research, writing, and photography, offers a deep dive into the unique design language that defines this captivating country.

The Genesis of the Project

The project was inspired by a profound conversation with Luísa Souto de Moura, an esteemed architect and the mind behind the serene Duas Portas boutique hotel in Porto. She encapsulated the essence of Portuguese design as “plain, yet poetic,” a notion that became the cornerstone of this exploration.

Portugal’s Craft Ethos

Unlike its European counterparts who embraced modernity, Portugal’s design culture has retained its uniqueness, largely due to historical circumstances such as the Salazar dictatorship. This period of economic hardship necessitated a resourceful approach to design, utilizing local materials and tools.

Key Highlights from Patterns of Portugal:

  1. The rich tapestry of colors and patterns that define Portugal’s visual culture, from the blue-and-white azulejos to the vibrant hues of bougainvillea.

  2. The influence of Portugal’s natural landscape on its architectural and artistic palette, seamlessly blending the country’s diverse environments with its built environments.

  3. Notable examples of Portugal’s design culture, such as the azulejo panels at Porto’s São Bento Railway Station by Jorge Colaço.

The Enduring Charm of Portuguese Design

The book narrates the author’s extensive travels across Portugal, from the sun-kissed shores of the Algarve to the bustling streets of Lisbon and the verdant valleys of the Douro. Throughout this journey, the unique poetry of Portugal’s design culture, so eloquently described by Souto de Moura, unfolds in every corner of the country.


Patterns of Portugal is not just a book; it’s an invitation to explore the depths of Portugal’s design ethos, a tribute to its resilience, creativity, and the unbreakable bond between its people and their environment. This work is a must-read for design enthusiasts, historians, and anyone fascinated by the rich cultural tapestry of Portugal.

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