Lisbon For Design Lovers
If you've checked your insta lately, you'll have noticed plenty of posts on Portugal from travel influencers everywhere. Many are drawn to the country's beautiful coastline, mouthwatering pastel de nata and affordable European charm, but design lovers will discover an entirely different side of the city. Sprinkled between the city's colorful tiled buildings and medieval architecture is a host of design-centric spaces that are worthy of every visitor's attention. Here are 8 not to miss.
Michelle is the travel writer, photographer and wanderer behind the site Livelikeitstheweekend.com. She has spent the last two years on the road working from a laptop and exploring some of the most beautiful places around the globe. You can see her travel highlights over on her Instagram @Livelikeitsthewknd
The first stop on any design-lover's list in Lisbon should be LX Factory, an ultra cool urban complex in the Alcântara neighborhood, which houses everything from design studios and quirky boutiques to coffee shops and office space for Lisbon's creative set. Don't miss Sundays, when the street gets shut down for pedestrian-only traffic and the LX vendors come out to sell their antiques, jewelry and home wares.
Relatively new to the design scene in Lisbon, the Maat Museum was designed by the London-based Amanda Levete Architects and opened in 2016. The building's curved white facade sits in sharp contrast to the city's iconic 1960s 25 de Abril Bridge. Inside, you'll find rotating exhibits on contemporary art, technology and architecture, but you're really there to see the exterior, especially at sundown when the light setting over the Tagus river casts a golden glow onto the museum.
There is no shortage of delightful hotels in the city, but we're partial to The Lisboans, which opened its apartment style accommodations just 2 years ago. Each of the seven apartments feature custom furniture and antiques, with original finishes and floor-to-ceiling windows that look out onto the city. The Lisboans has recently expanded to include the buzzy Prado restaurant, which has become a favorite spot for locals.
For shoppers in search of one-of-a-kind products and a charming atmosphere, Embaixada is a must-visit. Housed in the stunning XIX century new-Arabian Ribeiro da Cunha palace, Embaixada features two floors surrounding a gorgeous courtyward lined with one-off boutiques selling up-and-coming designers. Peruse the shops, take in the architecture, and sip craft cocktails at the on-site gin bar, aptly named Gin Lovers.
A guide to Lisbon's design scene wouldn't be complete without Mude, the city's Museum of Design and Fashion. Located in the heart of the city's historic center, the museum's interior is all exposed beams and gutted walls, which plays in stark contrast to the impressive collection of works on display including haute couture by John Galliano and Vivienne Westwood and furniture from Charles & Ray Eames and Hans Wegner.
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Portuguese National Pavilion
Built in 1998 as the architectural centerpiece for the Lisbon World Exposition, the Portuguese National Pavilion is now an iconic landmark that sits at the northern end of the city along the Tagus River. Created by Álvaro Siza (in collaboration with Eduardo Souto de Moura), who was once Portugal's most prolific architect, the gate-like structure has a curved canopy and supporting cables, so that it hangs effortlessly over the plaza like an elegant sweeping sail.
Verride Palácio Santa Catarina
If you're looking for luxury accommodations with authentic Portuguese flair, check into this historic renovated townhouse. The interior is a stunning mix of modern and vintage details. We love the Royal Suites, with their wooden sculptured ceilings, rococo-style plasterwork, and hand-painted silk wallpaper. Don't miss cocktails at the hotel's rooftop bar Suba, which has sweeping views of the city.
Santa Clara 1728
You'll find romantic details in every corner of this gorgeous hotel designed by local architect Manuel Aires Mateus. Design nerds will fall head over heels for the converted building's six spacious suites, which feature open-plan bathrooms and soothing elements like pale wood, plush white linens and natural light. The hotel's public spaces are done up in striking floor-to-ceiling oil paintings in gilded frames that lean against walls and Limestone staircases. Bonus: Lisbon's most legendary flea market Feira da Ladra is just steps away.
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