quarta-feira, 29 de abril de 2015

The importance of place

Lisbon based Catarina Portas is proof, if ever proof was needed, in the social and economic value of heritage. A former journalist, she was passionate about the naive vintage packaging of Portuguese products still in production and she travelled the country in search of small producers handed down through generations. In May 2007 she opened A Vida Portuguesa to highlight the unique qualities of Portuguese manufacturers and to showcase Portugal in a surprising light.

“When we opened the first shop in the beginning people would come in and stat looking around and asking “is this a shop or is this a museum? But for me, A Vida Portuguesa is not about nostalgia at all, it’s about identity, which is quite different.”

Living through political and economic turmoil, the Portuguese had fallen out of love with Made in Portugal. A Vida Portuguesa is helping to rekindle not just manufacturing but also a contagious sense of pride.

“Perhaps all the things that happened late in Portugal can be an advantage. Because we kept manufacture. And nowadays, in Europe, they don’t know how to produce things, they know how to import things, how to brand things, they don’t know how to make them. I love factories. I really love the alchemy between the story and the know-how, ho to do the product. I really admire the people behind these factories, the people that, generation after generation, kept these factories working, alive, producing, giving jobs to the community. To me, they are really valiant people.”
Words: Gillian Dobias. 
Image: Ceara McEvoy.
For Monocle

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