quarta-feira, 2 de dezembro de 2009

Entre os heróis da Monocle

Monocle é uma revista de tendências ou, segundo os próprios, "a briefing on global affairs, business, culture & design". Um projecto de Tyler Brûlé, que também já tinha dado ao mundo editorial a Wallpaper. Para este último número, de Dezembro/Janeiro, fizeram-se as previsões do ano que se avizinha, esse redondo 2010, e escolheram-se 20 figuras à escala mundial. A lista inclui profissionais dos mais diversos quadrantes, da imprensa, da política, da cultura. E ao lado de um dos conselheiros de Barack Obama, aparece a empresária portuguesa Catarina Portas.

"Our Heroes - Worldwide (...) people who we think deserve a bigger stage. (...) all of them offer something that could make the year ahead that bit better. Together they could transform your vision of the countryside, retune you to the pleasures of CDs, get your dance feet into gear(...), give you a fresh education and even renew your belief that all sorts of predjudices can be tackled.(...) Catarina Portas, Retailer, Portugal.

While multinational chains pour into Portugal every year to promote new products, independent retailer Catarina Portas plays the contrarian. In 2006, the 40-year-old journalist turned shopkeeper opened A Vida Portuguesa, a Lisbon store that sells forgotten brands from the country’s past. The idea came to her while she was doing research for a book on 20th-century daily life in Portugal. “When I started to look at historic brands, I noticed how quickly they were vanishing,” she says. Part social anthropologist, part businesswoman, she scours factories and workshops to stock up on ceramics, foodstuffs and toiletries once commonplace on store shelves.
Keen to revive local crafts, she displays items in their original packaging. “These used to be found in pharmacies and grocery stores. Now they’re valued as people want to try and help Portuguese manufacturers."
Her interest in the old also extends to urban planning – she’s restored kiosks in central Lisbon that serve traditional beverages and sweets. Some might label her a sentimentalist but Portas agrees otherwise. “What I’m doing is tied to identity, not nostalgia, which is very different.” Sales suggest she’s on the right track as she’s opening a second shop, in Porto, and launching an e-commerce site. If we ran Portugal, we’d call on her to help brand the nation."

December 2009-January 2010

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