10 Nov 2020

mishmash workspaces: Joaquim Portela Arquitetos

The Porto-based Joaquim Portela Arquitetos, founded by Joaquim Portela has been collecting a series of prizes in the architectural scene. From the Museum of Portuguese Language to the Swiss Alps Chapel awarded with 4 International Prizes, Joaquim Portela Arquitetos atelier has been bustling.

For us, as a brand of office supplies, it is very interesting to have a glimpse of how the minds that idealize spaces think about their own workspaces. Is it a case of saying that, in a blacksmith's house, the skewer is made of wood?

Not at all. We had no way of escaping it. It is a sort of professional deformation. What we do every day is to think about spaces. Especially because I understand that nowadays those who do not think about the space where they work, are massively penalised in productivity terms. In our case, it was like shooting yourself in the foot.

It’s a space that dazzles when viewed from the outside, and that is exactly how our interest was first aroused. Are there any contacts that follow the same method?

Nowadays, fortunately, multiple windows are opened to our office where people can 'peek' anywhere in the world. It is an instrument that is accessible to any company, and that facilitates the dissemination of the work that each one does. This adds responsibility, in the way we develop the work and share it, because we are under greater scrutiny, but it also provides a greater return.


The minimal notebook perfect for drawing.

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Nowadays, fortunately, multiple windows are opened to our office where people can 'peek' anywhere in the world.

Joaquim Portela, Arquiteto

How is your workspace organised? Is it a space that reflects your day-to-day practice?

It’s an 'open space', where we all work in the same work environment, with the same conditions, which facilitates communication between everyone. Even the meeting area, the 'meeting room', is open. It reflects our day-to-day work, our routines, our organisation and even the way we communicate.

How would you describe the process of idealisation, development and construction of your own workspace?

It was based a lot, in the matrix of our behaviours, in our previous office, and in the fantastic characteristics of this space, a building by Architect Souto Moura. It was with these ingredients that we first developed an operating organisational chart, which took advantage of the characteristics of the space and which responded to our needs. Based on this document, we started to design all the furniture and lighting for the workspace. The result is a simple space, that follows a very detailed development process. All infrastructures are embedded in the floor, walls and ceiling, including the sound system.

Is it more difficult to develop a project when the client is ourselves?

In this case, it wasn’t. We had most of the information we needed just a few feet from the desk. We designed and corrected it with the measurements we were taking in our previous studio, to see if everything worked ergonomically. We often came to this studio to assess whether the project would work or not.

How can space contribute to speed up or slow down creativity?

We can only be good at what we do, and creative if we love what we do. It is clear that if space where we work was designed with the responsibility and awareness to develop conditions that make people who work there feel good, this contributed a lot to the conditions of increasing creativity.

We can only be good at what we do, and creative, if we love what we do.

Joaquim Portela, Arquiteto

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Which feature do you think stands out the most in your space?

The natural light and the consequent visual amplitude. It is a much larger space than the area it has in itself. It is known that people's exposure to natural light contributes to a better disposition and energy, increasing concentration and reducing fatigue. Deep down we feel that we are not in a closed space and that contributes to everyone's happiness.


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