Throwback Thursday: The Portuguese Design of The 50´s to the 70´s! Today we’re telling all about the Architectural and Design style of the 50´s and 70’s in Portugal. We are doing so with the help of Design in Portugal, a Portuguese Study Program that provides a comprehensive understanding of the role played by the main actions and actors of the Art and Industrial Architecture Nucleus, later (1971) called Industrial Design Nucleus, of the I.N.I.I. (National Institute of Industrial Research), an institution that promoted design in Portugal by creating a seminal sector of industrial design in the Nuclei, which led to the institutionalization of the discipline!
Engineers, architects and designers start to be a new aesthetical discuss, and the actions start. António Ferro, a conservative Republican of the regime, was the one political responsible of New State Ditactorial for the propaganda and national culture, between 1933 and 1949. After the Second World War, he continued ahead of the fostering of culture. Due his conservative political ideals, he and Duarte Pacheco avoided that the national artistic production disappeared in the obscurity of the regime. He allowed openness to the creations of contemporary artists and architects with the aim of developing the economy.
In architecture, the great public investment has originated a style in modern itself, the “Português Suave” style which we can also find in interior design furniture. The artistic modern expressions had a loophole to manifest itself in accordance with the European progressive standards. We can find Literature influences in Communication Design. Notorious writers as Fernando Pessoa, Mário de Sá Carneiro and Almada Negreiros and painters as Amadeo de Souza-Cardoso e Santa Rita Pintor expressed originals, revolutionaries and progressives ideas published in the Orpheu magazine with strong critical, futuristic and Modernism spirit.
Architects as António Garcia, Daciano da Costa, Ascenso Belmonte, A. Sena da Silva, Gastão Martins Machado, Eduardo Afonso Dias, painting and artists as Almada Negreiros, Eduardo Nery, Vieira da Silva, Paula Rego began their creative modern work in partnership with Portuguese companies in a new order design statement. Iconic design furniture inhabits the middle-class Portuguese houses, public buildings such as hospitals, schools, ministries, public offices, theaters, the parliament.
In modernism concept, the Hidden modernism, a term used to translate a very own style used in Portugal in architecture and functional design objects that we can identify as a uniquely modern approach. This brings us aesthetical modern design in furniture and objects that were used to create pleasurable environments in the interior of private or public constructions as dams or of the mines underground work galleries‘ as well as to equip the surprisingly modern workers houses’ in the neighborhoods, conceived by the youngest yet talented and cosmopolitan architects and designers.
The great designer of furniture and interiors that was not architect, José Espinho, a craftsman, with Olaio and Sousa Braga drew part of the domestic landscape and aesthetics of midcentury Portuguese furniture and environments. OLAIO Furniture Factory hired n José Espinho as a consultant of Industrial Aesthetics. This happened in the 30’s, leading governmental suppliers of furniture in the Portuguese modern period to acquire some of the most iconic design furniture m of that period. A part of the country’s history sits in this company, with José Espinho design, chairs and armchairs being a significant part material of Portuguese midcentury modern legacy that marked the Design in Portugal. The Olaio Company reopen in 2016 relaunching the brand and marking the beginning of a new production of quality Portuguese furniture.