When visiting Porto in November 2016, we were amazed by the diversity, creativity and radiance of the Azulejos, that are pretty much covering everything in Portugal in general and Porto in particular.
Azulejos have their origin in the Arabic az-zulayj meaning “polished stone” and were introduced into Portugal by king Manuel I after a visit to Seville in 1503. The Portuguese adopted the Moorish tradition of horror vacui – “fear of empty spaces” – and covered walls and buildings completely with azulejos.
Nowadays in Porto, the Bank of Materials protects this architectural heritage by removing the azulejos from buildings that are collapsing, being demolished or modified and giving them back to the city. Free of cost for the owners of a house missing some repetitive azulejos, this amazing service aims to rehabilitate the facades of Porto’s houses and makes sure, that Porto remains its unique character. It’s recycling, upcycling and patrimony preservation – all in one stupendous solution.
Visit the Bank of Materials in the Palacete dos Viscondes de Balsamão at Praça Carlos Alberto in the Cedofeita neighbourhood to check out their wonderful, historic azulejos – or indulge in the explosion of form and colour right here:
If you want to discover more of Porto, you might like this Porto City Guide or this article about its surprising amount of Art Nouveau architecture. If you want to know more About Portugal or learn some Useful Information, check out those pieces.