Viúva Lamego creates, since 1849, unique pieces using traditional methods that embellish the world. Viúva Lamego, whose manufacturing facilities were located in the building where today is its store, in the Largo do Intendente in Lisbon, initially produced utilitarian products (such as jars, etc) in red clay, and faience and tiles in white clay.
In the early 20th century, tiles were gaining importance and the production in red clay was ending. In the 30’s, Viúva Lamego began to work closely with plastic artists, who, in Viúva Lamego’s facilities, increasingly began to use the tile to express their creations.
The masters of Viúva Lamego continue to manufacture a wide range of tiles, always using hand painting, to execute special works from the creations of authors, and to develop new products, which perpetuate the integration of tiles in Architecture.
Throughout the manufacturing process each tile is taken care by the artisans. The raw material and the enamels used add depth to the colour, making each tile unique, beautiful and versatile. There are not two equal pieces. These are the features that make it so unique.
The collection Plain Colours is being complemented through the times and reflects the combination between materials and technique, reinforcing the wish to find new solutions that expand the available colour range. The glaze on these ballast tiles gives an idea of depth, highlighting the irregularities of the piece.
The traditional Portuguese Tile, in which Viúva Lamego has a predominant role, depicts various references in terms of taste, technics and motifs, announcing an ongoing dialogue between the past and the future.
In Portugal, the tile is used as an expression of originality and assumes a role of usage that is complex and extended in time. The Portuguese tile, throughout these five centuries of usage, has incorporated multiple economic, social, and cultural influences that characterize it beyond a mere decorative proposal.
By the end of the 16th century the “Hispano-Árabe” (“Moçárabes”) tile was imported from the Iberian Peninsula. They are patterned tiles with motifs that intertwine and repeat themselves in geometrical radial schemes, already applied with an architectural sense. Technically, these are tiles in biscuit, with reliefs that delimit the designs, where the enamels, after being applied, will then fill those drawings, colouring them.
In the late 16th century begins in Portugal the production of the tile using the “Majolica” technique. This technique consists in covering the tile with a white glaze, where designs can be painted without mixing the colours.
In 1668, with the end of the War of Restoration, one witnesses a resumption of political and trade relations with Spain, France and the Netherlands. With the economic and financial recovery, palaces are built or renovated in an artistic form. The 17th century tiles are characterized by the use of a specific design in one piece, which connects to the others, forming a larger design, or a new design with a set of repeated motifs, usually simple designs. In the first half of the century, the predominant colours are blue and yellow in a white background. In the middle of the 17th century the dominant colours became the manganese and the green, displaying more singular patterns. At the end of the century, the dominant colour was the blue. Tapestry motifs prevail.
The Panels and Murals transpose onto the tiles scenes from the engravings of the time, taking into account the environment to which they are intended.
Sub-title: Plastic Artist in the Viúva Lamego Atelier
In the first half of the 18th century we witness a sumptuousness, extraversion and theatricality by the court of King John V. The use of the blue colour, initiated by the end of the 17th century, remains. The patterns are characterized by single figures.
Between 1755 and 1780 (18th century – “Pombalino”) in the post-earthquake period, with an economic crisis in Portugal, there is a need for the reconstruction of Lisbon. The use of tiles undergoes a great dynamization, presenting new patterns, some in polychrome. Records of saints, who protected the buildings against natural phenomena, are also a constant in this period.
At the end of the 18th century – D. Maria, the tiles are marked by the serenity and freshness of the designs of linear and graphic treatment, often featuring free combinations of branches, wreaths, ribbons and laces.
For each pattern it has been tradition the use of a listello and / or corner that is based on some part of the pattern, generally simplifying it and completing it with stripes of colour. Also used as complement of the pattern tiles are the denominated “Pintas” tiles or the Completing tiles.
The Portuguese Traditional Tile collection of Viúva Lamego is also complemented by various designs presented as Contemporary.
The Pritzker Prize for Architecture exists since 1979, by the initiative of the Hyatt Foundation, which aims to distinguish annually an architect (live) whose work combines talent, vision and commitment.
In each year there are about 500 applicants from 40 countries, as it is a highly relevant prize internationally, also known as the “Nobel Prize of Architecture”.
Viúva Lamego is proud to have in its portfolio works executed in collaboration with three of the winners of this distinction. They are the Portuguese architects Álvaro Siza Vieira (Pritzker Prize in 1992) and Eduardo Souto Moura (Pritzker Prize in 2011), and the Dutch architect Rem Koolhaas (Pritzker Prize in 2000).
Get to know some of the author and public art works developed by Viúva Lamego, by each of the Pritzker Prize winners.
Architect Álvaro Siza Vieira:
- Baixa-Chiado Metro Station (Lisbon), in 1997
- Pavilion of Portugal, on Expo 98 (Lisbon), in 1998
- Pavilion of Portugal in Hannover (Germany), in 2000
- S. Bento (Porto) Metro Station, in 2005
- Sanctuary of Nossa Senhora do Rosário de Fátima (Fátima), in 2007
Architect Eduardo Souto de Moura:
- Pavilion of Portugal in Hannover (Germany), in 2000
Architect Rem Koolhaas:
- Casa da Música (Porto), in 2004
Being hand-made according to the same procedures used in past centuries, the Viúva Lamego tiles have characteristics such as the uneven surface, almost regular contour and relatively inaccurate dimensions. The high specialization of Viúva Lamego in hand-painting ensures an unique quality of execution, both in the reproduction of traditional Portuguese tiles and in the implementation of projects in Architecture or in the artistic creation.