Joana Astolfi



“I`m not in a rush for anything at all. I am very thankful. I feel good where I am right now. I`m entirely here and where I am is eternal. I live life this way”.
Let us wind back. Let us go back to the beginning. Although we would be able to tell this story with identical intensity whether we started at the beginning or the middle. It is the story of Joana Astolfi. Sitting in a chair at her house, with her daughter Duna cuddling affectionately in her lap, Joana passes through a few years of her life to tell us how she came to the moment we met. What connects her to things, to people. “Art has been my starting point and is always my destination point”, cautions us someone who is considered one of the most inspirational personalities of the current creative scene. In Lisbon, Joana directs Studio Astolfi, a project with around 20 co-workers, building unique stories based on art and architecture. “Art in the context of Studio Astolfi is structured, planned, framed. It is often a specific site, always part of a concept, a narrative. In other words, the base is to tell a story, to study what is behind a client, a company, a brand, an object, whatever it is. And then we create our own story on top of that. But art is the essence of my work. When I came back from FABRICA (Communication Research Centre in Treviso, Italy) about 15 years ago, I had some pressure on me because I was the first Portuguese woman to study there and I was always asked if I was an artist, architect or designer and I would answer “what does it matter”? At the time, the interchange of these areas was not as strong as it is today. Nowadays everything is more diluted, more transversal.
With a degree in architecture, Joana admits that at the beginning she was divided between architecture and art: “I have a father who is an architect and a mother who was a gallery owner. It was great to grow up in these two worlds, always passing a great deal through my father`s studio, doing mockups with him, helping in the process, seeing things grow, going to construction sites with him. I remember seeing his drawings and then thinking, “gee, how is this possible, this is already here, it has walls”. It fascinated me”. Joana lived in the middle of her mother`s gallery, the artworks, the artists` studios. The parents’ figure is essential. “If they were not my parents I would had to have them in my life”, she says with a warm smile. Honest. She was contaminated by the creativity of both.

Featured in ROOF 16


Text: Cátia Fernandes
Photography: Studio Astolfi
Portrait Photography and Studio Astolfi: Isadora Faustino

Studio Astolfi

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