Inês Matos Andrade | 2021-03-25

Discriptive memory: TASA Project


What? The Larch Lamps, made of three elements that give life to the inside of the Casa das Artes e Ofícios, is the result of the collaboration between TASA Project and Herdade da Malhadinha Nova. The challenge was made by Rita Soares in 2019, to this Algarve based initiative that puts designer and artisans in a creative relationship, developing contemporary pieces through traditional practices.

Who? Designer Hugo Silva, that has worked internationally in product and indoor design, applies a creative approach that combines natural materials, colours, textures, and shapes with an authentic combination of cultural references and collective memories. In cooperation with craftsmen of Chairmaking and Pottery, they developed this unique and exclusive piece.

How? The intention was to bring inside the space the distinctive character of the heritage connected to the local arts and crafts, and the ecosystem of the Terges river itself, through a representation of this river fish, the larch. In a contemporary approach, the result inputs modernity to this heritage and pays homage to the soul of this place. The wood and bulrush (a local plant), call out to the charmakers work, that used to handmade the chairs and benches used in rural homes.

We spoke to Graça Palma, overseer of the TASA Project to understand a little bit more about the work they develop.

How did TASA Project came to be?

Graça Palma: TASA Project was born in 2010 by the CCDR Algarve initiative, that hired a team of designers to develop a collection of products, a book, and a website among other things, with the goal of making handcrafting a job with future. This perspective of future, with continuity, contemporary, sustainability, innovation, and appreciation of the traditional crafts was always in the centre of the projects and the basis for its actions. The brand was created in 2010-2011, just like the 27 products collection, involving a network of 11 artisans. Furthermore, and since 2013, Proactivetur, a company operating in the Responsible Tourism area, with a great connection to territory and artisans, starts managing the brand, with no costs for the CCDR. Since then, TASA Project widened its intervention and expanded its actions to various activities and services. Currently, there are 48 artisans and 15 designers working on the TASA network. We have developed many projects of customized products, as well and diverse tourism experiences, promoted many courses and appreciation for arts and crafts projects.

How did the designer and artisan’s selection process take place?

Graça Palma: The starting point for the TASA Project’s work is the immaterial culture inherent to the traditional arts, the materials and technologies associated to the traditional practices. The innovation is introduced through product design, the works the functionality of the product and its adequacy to current needs, which implies adapting the design to the technique and promote the combination of materials. TASA works with artisans and designers available and interested in cooperating in innovation processes with these conditions in mind. It works in a networking logic that will widen just as new products and projects are introduced and that covers most the traditional crafts active nowadays: pottery, basketry, Chairmaking, Twisting, Weaving, Ironmongery, Cork, Wood, Tiling and Ceramics.

When did the partnership with Malhadinha Nova started, why and what came from that partnership?

Graça Palma: In 2019, Rita Soares challenged the TASA team to work on the production of a set of ceiling lamps inspired in the larch fish for the Casa das Artes e Ofícios at Herdade da Malhadinha Nova. The intent was to bring natural cultural heritage of the surroundings, namely the Terges river, to the inside of the house. The bulrush is the water plant that surrounds the river and that is the chosen material to use in the lamp’s art. We were very excited with the idea and decided to take the traditional crafts (chairmakers and pottery) and the naturals materials (bulrush, wood, and clay) to create this chandelier exclusively for Malhadinha Nova, designed by Hugo Silva and produced by local artisans. This synergy between design, tradition and tourism comes together in a set of three lamps that pays homage to the soul of the place through a contemporary approach.

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