FERREIRA DE SÁ. Bridging the gap between old and new Portugal.

The first thing to fall in love with in Lisbon is its light.  Second, its colours.  Third, its zig-zag of many patterns – in streets of dizzyingly arrayed paving stones and on buildings covered with ever-amazing, omni-present ceramic tiles.  Foster & Bloom had the chance to combine all three while working on the creation of The Lumiares boutique hotel, in Lisbon’s Bairro Alto — when we found the rugs and flat-weave tapestries of Ferreira de Sá.

The Lumiares hotel’s owners were keen to break from the corporate norm and offer their guests a new, unique, authentically Portuguese experience.  Asked for creative input, Foster & Bloom set out to discover the best and most original elements of Portuguese design.  Patterned tiles?  Everywhere.  Ceramic swallow birds?  Ubiquitous.  But the Portuguese tradition of hand-woven textiles felt like a new discovery we needed to share.  And when we made our way to Espinho, near Porto, we found the company to help us showcase it best.

At Ferreira de Sá’s factory in northern Portugal, we died and went to textile heaven.  Founded in 1946 and family-owned for three generations, a devotion to high quality design and craftsmanship has made this decades-old Portuguese company the largest & best-known producer of handmade rugs in Europe.  From the portrait of the company’s founder hanging over the stairwell to the fact that today one can meet his grand-son in their showroom, it is clear this is a company that has proudly honed and perfected its craft over time.

On the factory floor, we observed first-hand the ancient hand-looming process as well as more cutting edge ‘tufting’ techniques on giant vertical looms, and came to appreciate this company’s efforts to preserve a legacy of traditional weaving and knotting methods, while constantly innovating to adapt to the demands of a modern textiles market.

For The Lumiares, Ferreira de Sá’s designers helped Foster & Bloom to re-imagine traditional Portuguese patterns to suit our own contemporary, geometric design theme. We painstakingly selected each colour in our own 100% wool, bespoke handmade tapestry from a library of 150 shades and watched as the experienced hands of artisans effortlessly made our vision a reality on Ferreira de Sá’s wooden looms. Click here to watch our tapestry in production.

The result speaks for itself.  Like The Lumiares hotel, our tapestry bridges the gap between old and new Portugal, and encapsulates the beauty of Lisbon’s light, colours and patterns – in a new and special take on traditional Portuguese handcraft.

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