A true product of the Algarve: “Poisia”
From the hands of craftspeople of the Algarve and from the creativity of designers Joana Cabrita Martins and Ana Rita Aguiar, comes the “Poisia” set, which looks for new forms of inspiring everyday objects in the land and in expertise.
Fernando Henriques was born 52 years ago in the parish of Alte. He began to work as a carpenter at the age of 15 and this was the trade he stuck with until the crisis kicked in. Faced with a lack of work, he found an alternative in nature: “While walking through the countryside I spotted a beautiful root and pictured it as a table.” Because he was able to sell it as soon it was completed, he began to dedicate his time to craftsmanship. He now makes fruit baskets, cutlery, chopping boards, stools, tables… out of the trunks and roots of carob trees, olive trees, almond trees, loquat trees, holm oaks and walnut trees, taking advantage of tree clearing undertaken by his neighbours, which otherwise would lead them to being reduced to smoke and ashes when burnt.
Some years down the line, Fernando Henriques says that he is happy with his new life: “it gives me pleasure to look at a piece and imagine what it could become; nature has such beautiful things.”
It was in this spirit that he developed an interest in the challenge thrown down by the TASA Project designers; that of creating a coat hook and footrest. “The designers compelled me to do things perfectly, which is good, because normally it’s the opposite, with people pressuring me to do things worse, so that they are cheaper.” During the work process, this was the shared language: to make room for establishing the result that they are all satisfied with. And all of them, craftsman and designers, gained something out of the process: him, the opportunity to hone his skills; and them, intensive training in the singularities of each wood.
And you’re wrong if you think that innovation just comes from science and academic knowhow. Master Fernando, when researching in nature’s laboratory, has learnt that you can use berries (from the aroeira tree [pistacia lentiscus], for example) to darken and dye wood; an invention that the designers want to test for dyeing other materials.