Timeless and comfortable.

Ana Anahory, architect by education, and Felipa Almeida, graduated in Art History and Curatorial Studies, joined forces in 2011 and founded AnahoryAlmeida, a design and creation studio for architectural, interior design and furniture projects. Since then, its work has mainly focused on interior design for restaurants and hotels. In an interview, Ana and Felipa tell us how it all started and what they value most in the projects of the special places they create.

How did it all start?

It all started with a request from José Avillez for his first project, his first restaurant. That’s when we started working together. As José Avillez continued to open restaurants, we continued to make interiors together. In the second or third project, we understood that we should continue the work already done and establish a collaboration. It was not in a very thoughtful way. It happened.

Was it a fluke?

It was a fluke … it was built.

Your approach is very multidisciplinary. What added value and advantages does this multidisciplinarity bring to your work?

It allows us to work on projects with a stronger language. Who do not live only in architecture. They are more integrated and call for other arts. In the 50s and 60s in Portugal it was something that was done a lot. There were many ateliers that were not just composed of architects. They were also made up of artists, potters, painters. And that was a little bit lost and we thought it was nice to reintegrate the arts and architecture in the same studio.

Do you consider this integration a trend?

It could happen more. There is still a separation. Architecture on the one hand, the arts on the other. We think that projects gain a lot from being whole, complete, thought together.

How do you create special spaces and places? What are the elements that cannot be missing?

As a starting point, the area where it is inserted. Then, it has a lot to do with the concept that the customers brings with them and what they want. Customers always have the project a little bit dreamed, imagined. It is always part of a gastronomic desire or a space they want to fill and inhabit. Basically, the soul of the project starts from there. Then, we take a trip through the crafts, and cultural and aesthetic tradition of the region where we will develop the project. In other words, the project obviously starts from the client’s dream and we continue it.

There is, therefore, an exploratory basis, a very large research on your part…

We try! We think this is what gives the project personality.

ROOF got to know one of your projects up close, São Lourenço do Barrocal.
Besides being beautiful, it is a project that takes us, effectively, to the roots of the Alentejo region…

Yes! It should be noted that it was the project to which we had the most time to work. This was very important. We had all the time while it was being built to explore, make prototypes, know the history of the country estate, the family, travel around the country, look for the right craftsmen. Two years. This does not exist. It’s gold! It is very rare and makes a lot of difference.

When you don’t have that more personal background to explore, is there more freedom to develop your concept?

The fact that there is a story does not fail to give us freedom. Sometimes, that story ends up making the project even more interesting. We have a way to follow. Now, in the case of restaurants, everything is open.

You work a lot with wood and brass. The atelier assumes it as a choice. How does these types of materials enrich your work?

They bring us timelessness, naturalness, comfort. It is, above all, for the vibration they bring, for being natural. They are harmonious. They really help to create comfortable environments. Whenever we can, these materials are made in Portugal.

If you had to define your style in some way, how would you do it?

One thing we always look for in our projects is the question of comfort and durability. They have to be timeless! In addition, there is always a bit of Portugal in our projects.

What is the most challenging thing about meeting different types of concepts and projects?

Respond to the clients and offer them a project that makes them happy.

Mariana Ribeiro
Philippe Simões


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