Portuguese furniture is slowly but surely making itself known on the interiors-brands-to-know circuit. Despite its impressive back catalogue of the industry’s finest makers and a long craft-rich history (from handprinted pottery and Arraiolos rugs to rush seat and linen weaving), its reputation has long remained one that’s known but rarely shouted about. But all of that is changing.
Here, our Senior Creative Buyer celebrates eight of the finest Portuguese furniture makers in the land…
Image Credit: Domkapa
It’s a challenge to usher the words ‘made in Portugal’ without upholstery specialists Domkapa coming into conversation. Founded only in 2009, this contemporary furniture brand – based in northern Portugal – started life designing and making upholstery collections underpinned by its four design pillars – traditional hand-sewn techniques, high design, comfort and quality materials. From seams that are corded, piped, double-stitched and slotted to finishing processes like darts, tucks and hand-crafted pleats, the Domkapa design team aspire to make every piece one of a kind.
Later, the Portuguese brand furthered its reach by welcoming case goods and tables into its collections, from coffee and side tables that complement its existing sofas and armchairs (see the Bondi collection as a case in point) to cotton velvet-lined folding screens – to invite Domkapa into the home is to welcome both craft and couture.
Image Credit: Laskasas
Another Portuguese furniture brand whose history is surprisingly short considering the design accolades that it has already amassed. In a small town, not too far from heritage-rich Porto, Celso Lascasas established a multi-disciplinary interiors label, which he hoped would meld his country’s craft roots with the intelligence of contemporary making. 17 years on, it would be nigh-on impossible to deny his vision has been realised for Laskasas has a now global audience for whom it provides not simply furniture but the opportunity to ‘decorate life’ – the company’s mission statement.
Part of the wider Laskasas Group (of which Domkapa is also part), Laskasas’ pieces span the decades with Mid-century media units, Art Deco console tables and contemporary sofa silhouettes all part of its exceptionally designed collection.
Image Credit: Brabbu
‘Fierce’, a word that Brabbu has anchored itself to since its very beginnings. To Brabbu, fierce communicates the dynamism of its designs and the relentless attitude its artisans possess for perfection. Fierce also reflects the intense pace of life that faces us all and the need therefore for our homes to help us slow down and feel safe and comforted. A piece by Brabbu then is a piece that is empowered and will translate that same sentiment to its environment, to its home.
Brabbu states eight things that you can expect from its collections. Multi-category furnishings is one (there are rugs and lighting as much as bookcases and dining chairs), a made in Portugal promise is another, and so is a commitment to forecasting trends and customisation so that the bespoke Brabbu furniture route is always an option.
Image Credit: Muranti
Just by hearing the inspiration behind its two collections is enough to capture the imagination and win the heart of Muranti’s captivated following. The first ‘muse’ is of the time-honoured technique of unearthing gemstones, and the second is by the spectrum of tones seen in the gems themselves. Mystery and artistry are what then enshrouds each and every one of its creations, as does a remarkable harmony between colour palette, materials and making methods.
The Muranti collection starts and ends its design journey in Portugal where its workshop is a treasure trove of the highest calibre materials that its artisans transform into heirloom pieces of furniture. American walnut and cotton velvet punctured with capitoné button tufting come together to form desirable benches, and black gems and milky quartz unite in the base of glass-topped coffee tables – and this is just the beginning…
Image Credit: Alga by Paulo Antunes
Every fluid curve, every soft arc, every lozenge-shaped sofa, every cove-backed chair from Alga by Paulo Antunes is as easy and elegant on the eye as it is to sit upon, hugging you in and mellowing your mood in but an instant.
Building on Paulo Antunes’ already established reputation for linking notions of visual comfort, high craftsmanship and wellbeing, ALGA was launched as a new arm to the business, focussing on custom-made pieces that are handmade to order. Art Deco influence is evident (one glance at its oversized headboards confirms this), but so is the sensibility of living spaces with a range of scale. There are pieces to suit bijou Parisian apartments – cue its cute and compact Cambra and Lima armchairs – as much as there are those larger in footprint to mesmerise in open-plan lofts or luxurious hotel lobbies.
Image Credit: Ochre House
Furniture from Portugal yes – Porto specifically at its very own custom-built workshop – but designed in London, Ochre House is a fusion between two design territories to bring its audience a wealth of luxurious, authentic pieces with a contemporary aesthetic.
Established only in 2018 by Kieran Hawkin and Paul Fielden, their shared vision was to specialise in bespoke commissions for projects of all shapes and sizes, from single-room renovations to complete refurbishments of some of the world’s most esteemed hotels. Case goods and upholstery are at the core of its offering with interior designers as its primary clientele, making Ochre House designs a bit of an industry secret, known in only the most design-savvy circles.
Image Credit: Insidherland
No ordinary furniture from Portugal, the collection by Insidherland is the work of acclaimed architect Joana Santos Barbosa who, after having later studied at Central St Martins to finesse her interior design skillset, is able to marry spatial appreciation with deeply considered detail.
To possess a piece by Barbosa is to connect with the emotion she pours into her creations as well as her expressions of artistry – every piece begins life as a traditional sketch before being translated into a precise, detailed drawing for she favours a slow, thoughtful hand to anything rushed and harsh.
Traditional Portuguese making techniques are evident throughout her work, be it marquetry or casting brass into forms meticulously detailed (see her Alentejo side table whose pedestal base is inspired by Portugal’s native cork trees) and undeniably collectible.
Image Credit: Royal Stranger
Marrom emerador marble, gold leaf, walnut, honeycomb mosaics, marshmallow finishes and a palette ranging from Deco mint green to heritage navy – exquisite doesn’t quite do justice to the collection by Portuguese brand Royal Stranger.
Another that is based in the Porto powerhouse region of furniture design and making and another Portuguese furniture brand to stem from the imagination of two architects, their instant appeal is to colour lovers and those who gravitate towards dramatic, daring, decadent interiors. A highly creative team of designers and artists, Royal Stranger’s pieces push furniture design to innovative new levels to give rise to silhouettes that are as playful as they are chic with a noble palette of materials, and naturally, archetypal Portuguese craftsmanship as their beating heart.