Company: De Fontes
Position within company: Chief Administrative Officer
Tell us a little about your background in design (education, experience, etc.)
I undertook my degree in International Business in Porto and I have no education in the design subject. I believe I was born with a passion for furniture design because my family has a manufacturing company. Since I was a kid I remember I drew and produced my own pieces in wood.
How would you describe your personal design style?
I don’t see myself as an interior designer. The right term must be creator as my main job is managing the company, and the designing work is my second plan.
Where does your design inspiration come from?
Luckily the internet provides us the simplest and fastest way to get inspired and see something new everyday. But my real inspiration I get from my day-by-day experience in the workshop. It is very important when you are on the field, during the production process, to help, plan and build each piece. We are fortunate to be a company which is able to produce the most modern piece or a XVIII replica with carvings, marquetry and old techniques. I learn everyday about techniques, materials and finishes and it’s very important to have that knowledge because when I design a new product I am aware of the best techniques to produce it and its manufacturing costs.
In what direction do you feel that design is moving towards in a general sense?
From my perspective, the future of design will be attached to technology development. Currently the technology allows the designer to be more creative and there are magnificent works in which the idea is minimalist but much more sophisticated both at the level of the design and the execution of the final work. In my opinion, I think the choice for more noble and natural materials will continue in exponential growth, as well as the use of traditional manual techniques.
Name five key themes to consider when approaching design in 2017 and beyond.
– Natural resources
– Use of technology
– Mixing colours
– Sustainable materials
– Sensory experience (a story behind each piece)
If you could offer one piece of advice when it comes to interior design, what would it be?
Always make it personal. When I mean personal, I want to say the project must be focused on client’s themes and passions. I feel it’s important that the designer adapts to each client as a case study to make him/her comfortable and mostly happy with their home. Even if the designer only uses some key-products such as family furniture, memories from trips or a simple theme which the client can really enjoy and feel good at home.
How important are The International Design and Architecture Awards as recognition of talent and achievement?
It’s the first time I have participated in a contest and for me everything is new. To be shortlisted just made me happy and confident about my company’s future. Our company is so small that we never expected this recognition coming from a category we are starting to invest (lighting). I truly believe in the organisation team of The International Design and Architecture Awards who have been doing a great job so far, and I hope this can be a platform for exponential growth for our company recognition.
What projects are you currently working on?
Right now, my focus is to develop new products for our Royal Club collection. The core business is still the tailor-made design for our clients but we consider it is a must to increase our own collection to achieve other clients and most important, show them what we are able to produce.
What are your aims and goals for the next twelve months?
The current year has been amazing and I can’t wait for 2018 to bring us more surprises. We received requests from markets we never worked with and I expect to grow on this global journey spreading De Fontes name around the world. Our plan is to get into new foreign markets though a few shows and partnerships and I am really confident about that as our team is more prepared and our product design is getting more attention from the Media and buyers
Final thoughts; tell us a little more about yourself:
Your most treasured possession?
Watch and accessories collection
Your favourite holiday destination?
Your favourite hotel / restaurant / bar?
Tough question as I am a food lover and I live in a country with a wonderful gastronomy with so many good places where to eat and appreciate good wines and gin.
My favourite hotels are in the Douro region. We are fortunate to have a refreshed wine region so calm and beautiful to spend a weekend after an intense week of work. Hotels such as Six Senses Douro Valley, Vila Galé Collection Douro and Douro Royal Valley Hotel and Spa are always a great choice.
Your favourite book / film / song?
Book – I confess, I don’t read books very often. I prefer to read magazines, articles and news, but If I had to choose one I would go to Da Vinci Code.
Film – James Bond films
Song – Comfortably Numb by Pink Floyd
Your favourite food and drink?
Seafood and Champagne
Your favourite way to spend an afternoon? (in no more than 25 words)
I love travelling, so a day discovering a new city would be nice finished with a nice cocktail by the sunset at the end.
If you weren’t a designer, what would you be?
That’s a tricky question as I am not a designer. But if I didn’t work on the furniture industry I would like to be a real estate investor or a tennis player.
Anything else interesting?
I’ve been around my family’s company since I was a little baby, so I’ve always been passionate about the art and the things we can do with wood. Helped by other employees I started learning and producing my own pieces for home and as a gift for my friends. When I was younger I used to be a drummer and play with my rock band around Portugal then I quit to fully dedicate my strengths and thoughts on my professional career. Now I still work with passion to give my contribute to the Portuguese furniture design, my family and especially my colleagues which work with us for more than 10 years, and some for more than 30 years.
I love to travel inside and outside of Portugal, and explore nature places. I live to work and work to enjoy living!