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The TILE in the Architecture and Urbanism of Lisbon – from Art-Nouveau till today

Updated: Oct 23, 2019


Just like other decorative arts - such as wall painting, stained-glass or bas-relief - tiles played an important role in Art-Nouveau and modernist architecture in Lisbon. Artists like Bordalo Pinheiro and Almada Negreiros worked closely together with architects in innovative works combining architecture with various other forms of art, including #tiles.


In the late 1950s, the tile production acquired a more clear urban character, being used in the decoration of first Lisbon’s metro stations and exterior public spaces.


Maria Keil (1914-2012) worked intensely in #tiles, introducing a new visual thinking close to abstractionism in this field of art.

The use of #tiles in public artwork was largely promoted by Eduardo Nery, whose work explores light and colour by playing with optical effects. It was also Eduardo Nery who first created tri-dimensional geometric shapes which have been further elaborated by the contemporary artist Maria Ana Vasco Costa.


After the construction of Siza Vieira’s Portuguese Pavilion for the Expo 98, the use of monochromatic #tiles as a cladding material became widely spread among architects.

Tri-dimensional ceramic pieces cover the newly built MAAT (Amanda Levete Architects) and the Oceanario extension (Pedro Campos Costa), giving the idea of colour and form variations.


The plasticity of clay was brilliantly explored by the sculptor Querubim Lapa. The artist's ceramic panels have great poetic expression and colour and decorate many places in Lisbon: the interior of cafés and shops, schools and other public buildings, and urban spaces.


Read previous post: The tile in the architecture and urbanism of Lisbon – Why tiles?


Get to know these art works joining our Art in the Architecture of Lisbon walk!


Post and Photos credits: Lisboa Architecture Walks & Trips



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