Best Portuguese Interior Designers: Nowadays, it’s impossible to talk about Portuguese Interior Design without mentioning Nini Andrade Silva. The Portuguese Interior Designer was born in Funchal, Madeira, and is the personification of the mission and values of Secrets from Portugal: to take the Portuguese culture abroad, elevating it. That’s why we had a lovely talk with one of the most prestigious Interior Designers in the world where, besides discovering more about her vision and concept of interior design and architecture, we got to know a little bit more about her love and passion for the country that saw her be born.
The woman that “doesn’t follow any trends. Instead, I seek to create them”, has interior design and architecture projects all over the world. Nini Andrade Silva has been recognized for her superb work by many institutions, and she has become a frequent presence in prestigious publications such as The New York Times, Financial Times, Wallpaper, Condé Nast Traveler, Architecture Digest – just to name some of the most important. The Portuguese Interior Designer is also the author of different and unique furniture lines. She’s known for her versatility as she embraces her passion for painting, with her work exhibited in important collections and contemporary art museums, such as Ireland and New York.
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Her passion for design started with the travels “to the outside, where design was already seen as a future career”, she told Secrets from Portugal. The United States, she mentions, were way ahead in the area of design, “and that was fascinating”. “I knew I wanted a career that would allow me to “spread my wings” or to create fantasies and magic, and design is a bit of all of that!”
“In design, there’s no right or wrong. There’s magic, dynamic, function, matter, aesthetic, passion…” I like to surprise people with different and unexpected ambiences, allowing people to enter into new worlds and have different experiences! When we work with the universe of emotions and sensations, everything is possible!”
When we talked with Nini Andrade Silva about her design projects, we couldn’t help but notice that she can’t pick just one to distinguish as her favourite or the most challenging one: “It’s like with children!”. “I say it with a great dose of honesty. I only accept a challenge if I know I will be able to do my best. I have a great team that’s 100% dedicated to every single project. Therefore, the final result can only be something that we proud ourselves of”. Besides that, Nini Andrade Silva doesn’t deny that there are more challenging projects, depending on its nature.
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In her creative process, “a story” is all it takes to start a new project. “It can be just a detail or a curiosity that gives sense to the creation. I used to say that the wind and rain inspire me, a wrapped paper, an unexpected moment, a person… The starting point is a click for the process”. And Nini Andrade Silva also doesn’t disregard the importance of getting to know the surrounding environment.
Besides not having any references nowadays, Nini Andrade Silva confesses she’s an admirer of her peers all around the world, “because there are more and better professionals in design and not only that, but I prefer to focus on my own references searching for the new and unseen”. Nini Andrade Silva is a seeker for daily inspirations, that live inside a process that defines the DNA of her Atelier and the people that work with her.
Nini Andrade Silva and Portugal
The Interior Designer born in Madeira is a self-proclaimed passionate for her country. She has a direct relationship with her motherland, a unique connection with Lisbon, the city she chose to work, and she has found a bit of her “home” in Porto. In what concerns Madeira, the greatest secret of the Island is the memories she holds about it: “the rocks, the sea, the light, the imposing nature and the people! Madeira is an infinite source of energy!”.
And if you’re visiting Madeira for the first time, what could be better than having the advice of someone that was born there and knows the island like no one else? “For those visiting Madeira for the first time, don’t forget to visit my Design Centre! It has an excellent restaurant and you can get to know a little bit more about my life and work. It’s a unique place with great energy”. Nini Andrade Silva’s Design Centre is located in Forte de Nossa Senhora da Conceição, a place with one of the best views over the Funchal bay. “Madeira is always better in the company of Madeiran people because we know the land better”. To Nini, what truly characterizes the island is the nature and its unique landscapes, the art of Madeira embroidery, the mastery of the work in wickerwork, “and, of course, the Madeira wine“.
In Lisbon, the Portuguese capital, Nini Andrade Silva has found the place to install her “business card” for her clients that travel to Portugal. “Even though I love Lisbon, this was the chosen place for a strategic issue, but I confess I love Porto and I found a bit of home in that city”.
But that doesn’t mean Lisbon doesn’t have its own magic, because it does! “Lisbon is fascinating because of the weather, its unique light, but also because of the security and the innocence you still feel when walking around the city. We have gardens and amazing museums, the Rio Tejo, that is one of the most beautiful ones I know, the old buildings contrasting with the modernity of times… If you go to Lisbon, don’t miss the sunset and a walk on the riverside at the end of the afternoon. It’s unique!”
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