Nini Andrade Silva is definitely a figure that doesn’t pass by unnoticed when it comes to Portuguese design. With her origins and heart set in Madeira, this bespoke designer is definitely an international force when it comes to promoting Portuguese craftsmanship. CovetED will let you in on the exclusive interview we had with her during the LDC Summit.
Nini Andrade Silva is a person whose path definitely took her in several directions especially to countries such as New York, London, Paris, South Africa and Denmark. She’s been known for having many interior design projects all over the world, projecting the name and fame of Portugal’s quality design and craftsmanship in that regard. When it comes to describing her style she states that it’s definitely “minimalistic with a little bit of soul to it”.
Madeira is definitely one of the main inspirations for her work and design. That can definitely be seen in some examples of her work such as the Garouta do Calhau collection, heavily inspired by the pebbles on that island. She confessed that she feels a sense of peace unlike any other place in the world she’s been to.
“Madeira has always given me much peace, much freedom, not to mention the sea, the light. And I think a person who’s in this environment has to create.”
The fact that Nini Andrade Silva has worked in different countries and dealt with different cultures has given her a unique sensibility to distinct cultures. She even recalled a past client who had a reading room in a bedroom and a pantry within a room with windows. From that experience, Nini became more aware of some cultural differences from country to country and from culture to culture.
“The difference is so big from country to country that what we definitely need to do is try to know, meet the people, the culture, respecting and then proceed with creations.”
Nini is a definite defensor and promotor of Portuguese craftsmanship, believing that every design of craft piece is special, either if its’ being shown in its country of origin, or in a foreign country. During the interview, she recalled an episode in which she introduced some of the best examples of the arts and crafts from her country to Colombia, a whole different country from the Portuguese.
“We took the traditional concept of the piece of traditional craftsmanship and we adapted it to present day. For example, for the nine hotels that I designed in Colombia, we did everything based on craftsmanship. From the carpets, all of them handmade, to the tapestries that we lined on the walls, the jars. It was so much craftsmanship that we used on those hotels that I remember the local people thanking me for showing Colombia how much craftsmanship was worth and it was very nice to see.”
The designer also criticized the fact that many designers dream too much os making their “piece of a lifetime”, emphasizing the importance of keeping the focus on producing a simple yet usable piece. Having defined herself as a person who “doesn’t follow any trends”, seeking “to create them” instead, Nini Andrade Silva is an example of a person who appreciates a challenge even to the hardest of clients.
“When a client doesn’t like an idea I think I’m in the right path! Because you can tell he never saw it. When we show our work to the client we’ve been through a careful study of the process, and if we’ve studied it, then we’re already sure that that is what we want to show.”
In regards to the future of Portugal when it comes to preserving their arts and crafts and also regarding the recognition from other countries the designer feels happy regarding the confidence that many people in the country have gained. She feels that more and more Portuguese involved in that industry are becoming more confident in their design work, feeling that it’s very good that they can get to defend both their history and their work.
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♦ Discover All About Nini Andrade Silva With Our Exclusive Interview Below ♦