Design Ecosystem in Lisbon

{ 🇵🇹 } – Lisbon: A New Destination for Designers?

Lisbon’s skyline. Photo by Elisa Michelet.

Lisbon, the capital of Portugal, can be considered the door to Europe. This is because the city, located on the coast, is divided from the North American continent by the Atlantic Ocean. One of the most visited cities in Europe can be a real delight for the casual traveller, but can it also prove worth a visit for designer aficionados?

Lisbon: The Door to Europe

Lisbon is a city that gets a lot of attention from travellers around the world. It is the capital of the small European country of Portugal, a nation that once held a vast colonial Empire that formally ended in 1999, when Portugal transferred the sovereignty of the territory of Macau to China.

Modern-day Lisbon, located on the westernmost edge of continental Europe, on the Iberian peninsula, often serves as a door to Europe from people coming from North and South America. Visitors flock here to appreciate its historical architecture, pleasant weather, and delicious culinary culture — but are these the sole reasons… ?

The State of Design in Lisbon

Portugal has seen a big increase in visitors in recent years, but they’re not only coming for all the things Portugal is known for — more and more people are coming to discover Portugal’s design scene. Despite its small size, the country has a lot to offer to those who are looking for new and interesting ideas.

The country’s specific position, in-between Europe, Asia and the Americas, has determined peculiar architectural, artistic, literary and, of course, design styles to appear. Those have also been influenced by a particular attitude of the Portuguese people to do things last minute, but nevertheless do them quite well, summarised by the word desenrascar.

A typical tiled façade in Lisbon. Photo by João Ferrão.

It should be noted that design education wasn’t a thing in Portugal before the end of Salazar’s dictatorship, which ended only in the early 1970s. This meant that until that moment, Portugal was not really open to the developments that had already been taking place in other Western European countries during the 40s, 50s and 60s, and this includes, of course, design.

Portuguese design has come a long way since then, and today the country’s designers are represented by a variety of organisations, among which the most important is the Associação Nacional de Designers, which is Portuguese for National Association of Designers.

(experimentadesign) and The Ressabiator are the main blogs dedicated to promoting design in Portugal, and are therefore a good place to check out to see where the country is heading towards and get a feel for what Portugese design really is.

Getting a Design Education

Nowadays, getting a design education in Portugal is an interesting option for many people, especially for students coming from other European Union countries, who can choose a partner academy or university through the Erasmus+ programme.

Nowadays, IADE – Creative University’s Faculty of Design, Technology and Communication is one of the main institutions providing bachelor’s and master’s degree programmes, as well as post-graduate studies, in design fields such as advertising, branding, fashion and space design.

Another institution worth looking into is the Faculty of Fine Arts of the University of Lisbon, which is recommended for those seeking a more artistic study programme.

Where to Work From?

Portuguese people know how to take a moment to just rest and enjoy the simple things in life, therefore it should come as no surprise that cafés are abundant in Lisbon.

Finding a place you’ll feel right at home in won’t be difficult, but to make it easier for you we’ll suggest you two places in the city which are laptop-friendly and provide a great atmosphere for working — hello, kristof in Baixa and WISH slow coffee house inside the LxFactory in Alcantara.

If you want to contribute to Phase Magazine, write to us here:

Gianmarco Caprio Avatar

Gianmarco Caprio / Content & Community Manager @ Phase

Content creator, editor and community manager at Phase.