by Lauren Cocking
posted on April 11, 2019
Lisbon has made a name for itself as one of Europe’s creative capitals over the years, thanks to some stellar street murals, revamped industrial spaces, and innovative galleries with niche interests. Surreal tiles, anyone?
While you can get a taste of the Lisbon art scene by wandering the streets, lined as they are by the tall, traditional, tile-covered buildings so typical of the Portuguese capital, this is one city in which you ought to scratch below the surface. With that in mind, dip your toes into the offbeat world of Lisbon art at these six quirky destinations.
Photo Courtesy: ogalerialisboa
Illustration fans won’t be able to drag themselves away from Ó! Galería without buying at least one print. This gorgeous gallery is filled with original illustrations from (almost) exclusively Portuguese artists. English- and Portuguese-language zines are stacked on the table-tops, cool illustrations are hung, hodgepodge, on almost every wall, and wire baskets filled with art prints hold prime rummaging potential. Just remember to ask before you take photos.
Photo Courtesy: LX Factory
Inaugurated in 2008, LX Factory lies in the Alcântara neighborhood, somewhat outside the urban heart of Lisbon’s city center; however, it’s worth the trip. Situated in what was once an industrial manufacturing complex, LX Factory is now a cornerstone of the Lisbon art scene. Homewares, a surprisingly spectacular sardine store, and even a charming chocolate café can all be found in and around the central building, while the external walls are a wonderland of street art and elaborate murals.
Ler Devagar bookstore, 1300 Taberna, Nae vegan footwear, Ponto das Artes workshops, Landeau Chocolate
Photo Courtesy: alojadaceramica
Simple, understated, and high-quality best summarizes the vibe of A Loja da Cerâmica, a cute ceramics store in Lisbon’s Mouraria neighborhood. From the overflowing wicker basket of decorative ceramic fishes which lie by the door — their portable, somewhat kitschy nature surely meant to draw in the tourists — to the shelves of bowls, plates, and even olive dishes, any one of the handmade products here would add a touch of curated cool to your home. And just to the left of A Loja da Cerâmica, you’ll find one of Lisbon’s most vibrant, street art covered alleyways: the Escadinhas de São Cristóvão.
Photo Courtesy: horus_87
The Calçada da Glória, a staggeringly steep street (even by Lisbon standards), is better known for the traditional tram which shuttles locals and visitors from top to bottom. However, it’s also the site of one of the city’s only legal street art set-ups, backed by both the council and the Galeria de Arte Urbana street art project. While the works change every once in a while, you can rest assured that there’ll always be something worth seeing (and snapping a photo of) here.
Photo Courtesy: underdogs_gallery
Bringing together the sometimes at-odds concepts of street art and art gallery and melding them into one cohesive, creative entity, Underdogs displays work by up-and-coming contemporary artists and serves as a space for artistic residences. However, if you’re in the market to buy some art, stop by the Underdogs Gallery sister store — known simply as Art Store — near the Mercado de Ribiera.
Photo Courtesy: aurorabosna
You’re never far from exquisite tilework in Lisbon, but few places come close to Surrealejos — the name of which is a clever portmanteau of “surreal” and the Portuguese word for tiles, “azulejos” — in terms of quality and sheer originality. The store is a tiny slip of a thing, no larger than a single room, and yet the entire place is decked out with tiles tailored to the Instagram generation. Single tiles are decorated with Flamingo-gramophones and burning hearts, while the multi-tile mosaics are impressively imaginative and delightfully bizarre.
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