Portuguese doors, windows & tiles

Posted on February 22, 2015 by Toothpicker There have been 2 comment(s)

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I have a slight obsession with doors and windows of façades, as well as staircases. I can't remember exactly when I started photographing them, but I took the 'mission' slightly more seriously over the past few years esp. during my travels. I must have taken hundreds of photos over the years from Seoul to Berlin, to Singapore etc as I find these architectural details extremely fascinating. If we think of fashion as a means of a personal expression, then perhaps the façade of a building is not so dissimilar.


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In Portugal, there is a diverse array of architectural styles that can be seen on the streets. Hence, I thoroughly enjoyed walking up/down the hilly cobbled streets and taking photographs of windows, doors and the conspicuous tile-covered houses. These architectural details not only reflect the styles and trends of the a certain period (i.e. art deco and art Nouveau), they also reveal the distinctive tastes of the architects or owners.


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The introduction of azulejos/tiles from Spain in the early 16th century by King Manuel I profoundly changed the streetscape of Portugal. Originally this ornamental art form was applied onto the walls and façades of monasteries and churches by master-designers (Porto has some outstanding examples of them); but thanks to the industrialisation of decorative tiles and new methods like transfer-printing, decorating houses with azulejos became fashionable from the 19th century onwards. Now we can still see a startling range of azulejos on building façades when we walk down the streets in cities like Lisbon, Porto and in smaller towns too.


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Although many of these kaleidoscopic azulejos seen on the streets are printed rather than hand-painted, their artistic value should not be underestimated. And most importantly, they convey a sense of vibrancy and individuality to the streetscape of the cities/towns, making them utterly charming and unique.


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This post was posted in Architecture, Traditional arts & crafts, azulejos, Portugal, Lisbon and was tagged with architecture, azulejos, Portugal, Lisbon, portuguese design

2 Responses to Portuguese doors, windows & tiles

  • A very amazing article to read. Thanks a lot for sharing this. Good Work. Keep it Up.

    Posted on June 1, 2016 at 4:00 am

  • Thank you for your support!

    Posted on June 23, 2016 at 12:24 am