Archive for July, 2007

Lisbon’s Design & Fashion Museum preview

Monday, July 9th, 2007

Mude-Lisbon's Design Museum A couple of weeks ago I posted about the opening of Lisbon’s Berardo Museum. In about 18 months, the city will see the opening of yet another world-class collection. In reality it will be a reopening, since a part of it has already been on display at Lisbon’s “Design Museum.” That museum closed last year and in its upcoming incarnation will be renamed “Design and Fashion Museum,” since it will also include fashion pieces by some of the world’s leading designers. An old palace is currently undergoing a 4,5 million-euro facelift to hold Portuguese businessman Francisco Capelo’s acclaimed collection.In the time leading up to the (re)opening, there will be temporary two-month-long thematic exhibitions in a small space by Saint Anthony Church and the Cathedral. There are only about ten pieces at a time, illustrating a selected theme and different design perspectives.

The first exhibition took place in April and May, and the theme was humor and irony in design. I visited this space back in May and there were some amusing pieces such as a shirt with the iconic Rolling Stones lips (which you can see pictured at GoLisbon’s Design and Fashion Museum page) This time, the fashion pieces were by Jean Paul Goutier, and much more classic. They were part of a group that also consisted of design objects, all falling under the theme of “in the feminine form.” As you can see on this picture, curiously enough, more lips were at the center of this exhibition, but this time in the form of a couch, designed by Studio 65 in 1971 (the colorful lamps pictured are by design icon Phillip Starck).

This current exhibition ends on July 31st, and a new one, with a different theme, is planned for the upcoming two months. This is yet another way to wet your appetite for the grand opening of the museum, when all of these and many other pieces (about 1000 design objects and 1200 fashion pieces) will be on display at MuDe, Lisbon’s Design and Fashion Museum.

7 Wonders of Portugal

Monday, July 9th, 2007

The ornate stonework of Batalha Abbey Last Saturday, apart from the New 7 Wonders of the World, the 7 Maravilhas de Portugal, or The Seven Wonders of Portugal were also announced. Mario had already informed us about this back in January, and recently visited one of the winners and one of the finalists.

The 7 winners turned out to be …

  • Castelo de Guimarães
  • Castelo de Óbidos
  • Mosteiro de Alcobaça
  • Mosteiro da Batalha
  • Mosteiro dos Jerónimos
  • Palácio Nacional da Pena
  • Torre de Belém
  • The GoLisbon site already included information about all of these wonders, and in fact every one of the 21 finalists is already mentioned in these pages. For more information, check out our page on the 7 Wonders of Portugal.

    The wonders north of Lisbon

    Monday, July 2nd, 2007

    In a few days Lisbon will be hosting the mega event that announces the new Seven Wonders of the World. The Unfinished Chapels portal of Batalha Abbey Portugal will also be announcing the results of its nation-wide vote for the country’s own seven wonders. As I mentioned in a previous post, I voted for both the world and the Portuguese wonders, and the current publicity for the event led to a personal desire to visit a couple of the candidates on the Portuguese list.

    So I got on the road from Lisbon and headed to the center of the country. My first stop was Batalha and its famous abbey. This World Heritage monument will undoubtedly rank among Portugal’s seven. It had been a while since I visited it, and now after seeing other similar Gothic cathedrals throughout the world, I can say with certainty that the World Heritage status for this particular Gothic construction is quite merited. The gigantic intricate portal of the “unfinished chapels” alone is a stonework masterpiece, and the cloisters that also mix the singular Manueline decoration make a trip here worth it for those who enjoy visiting architectural wonders.

    The intricate architecture of Tomar Convent Further north, but not too far away, is Tomar and its even more exceptional Castle and Convent of Christ. Here too, the Manueline mixes with other architectural styles, and one of its windows is officially a Manueline masterpiece. Just like Batalha, UNESCO recognized its architectural and historical significance (it once was the headquarters for Prince Henry the Navigator’s Knights Templar), and declared it a World Heritage Site. Just as outstanding as the Manueline window is the eight-sided chapel or “charola.” The magnificence of its decoration surely is one of Portugal’s highlights, and should also make it to Portugal’s top seven wonders.

    In between the visits to these monuments, I stayed at the Pousada of Ourem. Of all the pousadas I have stayed at (which I also mentioned in a previous post), this one was the one that failed to impress the most. The pool at Ourem Pousada I have gotten used to the outstanding features of other more historical and better-designed pousadas, so this one (built into a series of medieval houses by the ruins of the castle of Ourem) just felt like any regular hotel. Still, it is perhaps the best choice for those touring the center of the country and who wish to visit Fatima, Tomar, and Batalha (you can have more information about this pousada and even book it here at GoLisbon.com).

    The outcome of the world-wide 7 Wonders vote (as well as Portugal’s) will be announced this weekend, July 7th, and will have Hollywood guests such as Hillary Swank and Jennifer Lopez. I also hope to hear Batalha Abbey and Tomar’s Convent announced on stage as part of Portugal’s main wonders.