Apartment No. 7
Santa Catarina

The Earls of Mesquitela Palace was built in the 17th century, functioned as a school in the 20th century, and was adapted to collective housing in the 21st century. Our clients moved to a 3-bedroom apartment and commissioned us to design the interiors.

We approached this project as we approach all others, regardless of size or purpose: seeking what is relevant and persistent, avoiding what is frivolous and fleeting. Given the nature of this project, it seemed to us that this exercise was particularly pertinent.

The difficulties of adapting the old palace to the current program are very visible in the apartment. We sought, for each space, to solve these difficulties and to discern its peculiar qualities from the use, the form, the relation with the adjacent spaces and the surrounding context – the Calçada do Combro on one side and the common garden on the other. For the social spaces, we sought an open, light, luminous atmosphere, and for the intimate spaces a protected, filled, textured atmosphere. The corridor articulates these two atmospheres where it meets the entrance hall, and so becomes the most intriguing space in the apartment.

We looked for pieces of furniture, textiles and light fixtures that employ good materials in the right way, that transcend our time, that, combined with the spaces and the surrounding context, produce the atmospheres we mentioned. Perhaps the project could have been easier, but it would surely be harder without the memory of Josef Albers' obsessive work on his Homage to the Square series.

Title Apartment No. 7 — Santa Catarina
Location Lisbon, Portugal
Built Area 225 m²
Conclusion 2015
Team Vasco Matias Correia, Patrícia Ferreira de Sousa, Sebastien Alfaiate and Joana Ramos
Photography Nelson Garrido