May 14, 2010  |  MoMA Stores
Discovering Portuguese Design

Whistler Cork Creamer, Sugar, Cups, and Teapot from Destination: Portugal

We recently travelled through Lisbon, Porto, and beyond to find products for our eighth Destination: Design collection, which introduces designers and design themes from around the world. This year’s collection—Destination: Portugal—highlights lifestyle products usually found only in Portugal, and the selection process was an exciting journey for us. We had a number of partners for the project, including Ministry of Culture, Portugal; TemaHome; Turismo de Portugal; aicep Portugal Global; and Fundação de Serralves, who helped introduce us to Portuguese designers, artisans, and manufacturers creating everything from umbrellas and filigree jewelry to furniture, teapots, weather predictors, and notebooks.

Throughout our travels we were blown away by how many young designers were putting a modern spin on their country’s design traditions and incorporating Portugal’s indigenous materials in their work. Approximately 50% of the world’s cork is produced in Portugal, and we quickly learned that the cork industry has suffered dramatically as more and more wine and champagne makers have moved from cork bottle closures to screw-top lids and plastic closures. Many of the designers and manufacturers we met with were utilizing cork in ways we never could have imagined. Among the cork products that made it into our final Destination: Portugal collection are a wine cooler, a notebook, a tote bag, an apron, a watch, and a serving tray.

In addition to the cork items, we also found many other useful, functional, and beautiful objects that have never before been available for purchase in the United States. We found designers creating products that repurposed materials that might otherwise be thrown away; these items turned everything from detergent containers to wine bottles to milk cartons into fresh new designs. And rounding out the collection are a number of “Portuguese classics”—highly functional, timeless products that are suitable for everything from toasting bread to infusing soups to cleaning up.

Be sure to visit MoMA Design Store locations or to see this collection while it lasts. Like all Destination: Design collections, this collection will only be available for a very limited time. And as always, every purchase supports the exhibitions and programs at MoMA!