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Final destination: Portela do Mondego

June 6, 2024

There are a lot of reasons to come to Coimbra. You can experience a city with a rich history and natural surroundings.

From the chapels to the mountain ranges and many, many more. But let's start by listing just a few. You can visit the Paço das Escolas, an architectural collection of buildings that form the core of the University of Coimbra, one of the oldest universities in the world and the oldest in Portugal. Old monuments such as churches or libraries, like  he Biblioteca Joanina.
But there aren't just old buildings. There is the Mondego River, great places to visit and a city centre full of restaurants, bars and lots of other ways to have fun. You can also visit Coimbra's Botanical Gardens or, if you want to listen, enjoy Coimbra's mythical Fado, either at Queima das Fitas or in a warm and cosy Casa de Fados.

These are just a few of the reasons for a visit to Coimbra. But if you are going to stay, then there is one place in particular that you need to look at. One that is located by the river, with a wonderful view and close to the rich nature of the Coimbra Botanical Garden: Portela do Mondego. There you will find a condominium built by JPaiva, with the finishing touches in the interior design by yours truly.

So let's start the tour, with Portela do Mondego as the first stop. And, who knows, maybe you'll stay forever to enjoy all the other Coimbra experiences over and over again, to really enjoy them.

We had a mission: to put all the finishing touches on the interior design. A mission with its challenges, of course, such as budget and a tight schedule. To achieve this, and to meet expectations and aesthetics, we focused our work on a very specific palette: black, grey and gold. A three-way concept with a variety of solutions, ranging from real stone and wood to lacquered finishes and ceramic simulations of different materials. All to achieve a single goal: balance.

This balance has a purpose, because it's intimately linked to the area and its surroundings. The Portela do Rio apartments are located in the centre of Coimbra. Close to the river, not far from the city centre, with breathtaking views to the other side and close to the Botanical Garden. A mixture of urban feeling and natural tranquillity.

Let's focus on the 3 main areas: kitchen, bedroom and bathroom. Each with its own details, although united by 3 main elements that appear in different ways in each picture.

The kitchen is the star of this tour. Its worktop, with its grey silestone and white veins, is a natural eye-catcher. A subtle but unavoidable piece that sets the tone of the room. It balances the weight of the wood throughout the floor - a simulation in vinyl - and the cabinet. Not only that, but to give the room a contemporary feel. To achieve this, black enters the room in a lacquered way, with an open wound in the middle of the cabinet, creating a harmonious mood between all the elements that make this kitchen a place to stay, relax, have a chat or simply enjoy the view.

Let's move on to the bedrooms.

There is one detail that links the kitchen and the bedrooms, and it's not the food. The cupboards. They don't go all the way up to the ceiling. It was a choice that allowed flexibility in the building process, in terms of the schedule. But we made it feel whole with a stripe at the ends. A stone simulation that creates a closure for a wardrobe that doesn't go all the way into the ceiling, as most wardrobes do.

When we designed the bedrooms, there was a current thought: home office. But without an office, as a way to include more bedrooms, making room for a family and not a workforce. But with the possibility of working comfortably in each bedroom. So every bedroom has a space to think. A mix of stone, wood and black dominates. Always with the intention of creating a sophisticated touch in a cosy space.

On our way to the most intimate and essential rooms in the house: the bathrooms.

The most important thing is simplicity. It's an everyday relationship. Many times a day. The black materials create a visual link with the kitchen. Although here the stone is simpler. Done in such a way as to maintain peace and quiet, without anyone getting tired. On the walls, the large-format ceramics do a better job of simulating stone, escaping the banality of tile (we love you either way, tile).

The shared bathroom is another story. It's a place that doesn't have those heavy hygiene rituals, so it's a bit more rock n' roll. A simulation of a stone corridor that makes an "I have to go to the toilet" a very chic gesture.

This is the end of the tour, so thank you for visiting. Don't forget to come back soon, because Coimbra is a place to be, not just to visit. Even Coldplay couldn't resist playing 4 shows in a row here, so we think that's enough evidence to start thinking about Portela do Mondego as a final destination.