Conceição Amaral is the CEO of the Ricardo Espírito Santo Silva Foundation (FRESS), a foundation whose goal is the preservation and promotion of the know-how of Portuguese decorative arts. Conceição was part of a panel on the first day of the Luxury Design & Craftsmanship Summit 2019 about the Present and Future of Craftsmanship. CovetED has the pleasure of interviewing Conceição during the event and today we uncover some of the thoughts of the incredible CEO.
What are your first impressions of the Summit?
CA: Having a full house is extraordinary, I really enjoyed it. At these events, we aren’t used to big stages, because the traditional crafts and techniques don’t always attract many people. The panels are very interesting and it’s also very interesting being able to cross the institutions with the workshops, the techniques but also the artisans and all that of those that are on the field.
Can the Summit be the first step towards protecting the arts at a national level?
CA: These meetings are important because they create a dynamic. You talk, you reflect. People meet, they talk and it’s always important because it has this side with conferences and debates, that are extremely important. I think it should be complemented and it is complemented with everything that’s being done at a national level, regarding other institutions and other structures.
Throughout the years, FRESS has shown a big interest in elevating the Portuguese arts and traditions. Is it important for companies to protect Portuguese cultural heritage?
CA: Of course, because the institutions can’t do it all by themselves. We can’t expect that the Government and its institutions do it. It’s really interesting that in the North, where there’s still a lot of traditional and ancient know-how, there’s a structure like this that promotes this, that talk about it and debates it. And I think it should be associated, this is a national cause, it’s not just of the North or the South. I think it’s everyone’s cause, to give continuity to the traditional know-how and it’s obvious that the crossing of companies, society, public and private institutions is all that we must be able to do, join everything.
Is mass communication essential in the protection and developing of these ancient arts?
CA: I don’t think that mass communication is very healthy to maintain quality and excellence. The future really is in the hands of young people and we must be able to fit them in.
You’re working with FRESS since 2007. How do you describe your work at the Foundation?
CA: It’s a work with a lot of passion for a project in which I believe in and always have. It’s an extraordinary project, a very rare cultural project because it has an anchor in the museum. The project is really interesting for the promotion of crafts because the museum is where you can see the original pieces. This is a project that makes sense and that we felt it was lacking in the country.
In what projects is the Foundation involved in at the moment?
CA: The Foundation keeps its usual structure, the museum and its activities, the stimulation of the workshops, the school, training and the field of preserving and restoration. Regarding projects, we’re involved at an international level in several projects with the Michelangelo Foundation. We’re also working with the Ministry of Culture, in the fields of know-how and trying to find solutions to better qualify these crafts. We’re also involved in several projects regarding artists and designers.
Besides the gratification, was it an important step to the Foundation having participated in the Doppia Firma event with the Michelangelo Foundation?
CA: We were contacted by the Michelangelo Foundation to participate. Emmanuel was contacted to have the piece that we made at Doppia Firma, the ‘Beverly’, which is a sideboard made with eight types of wood. The piece was showcased in Milan and Paris. For us, this is extraordinary because it’s a way of promotion and marketing of a project in which we’re involved in and we started working with international designers to promote the traditional know-how of the crafts and the Foundation.
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