In June, my bloke showed three of his works at a big exhibition at the Gulbenkian Institute in Lisbon. He’s been working on a large tile project himself, for Spier Architectural Arts, and is really into pattern, so was naturally blown away by tile and pattern riches he saw in Lisbon.
One of the gifts he brought for me was this beautiful old tile – or azulejo – that he found at a market, and also a little book with a DVD called Desvio/Padrão (Standard/Deviation) by Joana and Sara Morais.
This book and DVD (see a trailer here), documents the tiles in Lisbon Metro, all of which were designed by Maria Keil in the who was commissioned to design tiles for the new subway system in Lisbon – a project that continued from 1958 – 1972.
From the book: “Maria Keil’s azulejos talk of an ambiance proper to the Lisbon city. Tiles in general might be felt unconsciously but they are still part of a collective memory”.
I was enchanted to discover her vast range of geometric designs, put to such quotidian use, and also so happy that these tiles have been allowed to survive their unfashionable years so that they can be appreciated and celebrated now.
Please forgive the image quality in this post. I wasn’t able to find many images of Maria Keil’s work online, so took screengrabs of the DVD.