A Casa Deles
Their House

A project by Mariana Pestana and Pedro Lino

Photographs of the Silvade Fisherman’s houses of Espinho, Portugal

  Self Publication, with the support of A Vida Portuguesa, 2014
  Foldout pamphlet, Colour (13 x 90 cm)
  Mariana Pestana & Pedro Lino; Words by Alvaro Domingues

The fishermen neighbourhood of Silvalde is located on the outskirts of Espinho, a town in the north of Portugal. Its semi-detached houses are organised alongside regular, orthogonal streets; at the top of each door sits a protective saint that watches over each house, and every house is of a similar size and structure. They differ only in the materials and iconography that adorn each facade. As complementary and ornate tile patterns contrast with the apparent simplicity of each dwelling, these mirrored houses are allowed their own unique identity, their own personality. As you register the differences, the scarce resources that support the malleable character of these houses engenders an essential and practical creativity as an ever present quality threaded through these streets: a creativity exercised with such rigor and dedication that it becomes a kind of poetry.

This photographic sequence, inevitably distanced from Portugal’s northerly coast, celebrates the creativity, self-determinism and spontaneity of these buildings. It illustrates an improbable encounter between a rural and a super-urban aesthetic. It commemorates an outsider architecture—one that reflects a very Portuguese reality: a culture hampered by scarcity, and yet exhibiting a constantly changing improvisatory and imaginative cultural milieu.

Mariana Pestana is a founding member of the art & architecture collective The Decorators. Pestana holds a PhD in Architecture from The Bartlett School of Architecture, and she recently curated the exhibitions ‘The Future Starts Here’ at the V&A in London and ‘Eco-Visionaries: Art and Architecture After the Anthropocene’ at the MAAT in Lisbon.

Pedro Lino is a filmmaker. With a background in graphics, fine arts and animation, his work is grounded on the desire to explore singular and imperfect worlds. His films have been screened and awarded in festivals worldwide and he’s currently developing new works in fiction, documentary and art installation. 


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Hotel is a magazine for new approaches to fiction, non fiction & poetry & features work from established & emerging talent. Hotel provides the space for experimental reflection on literature’s status as art & cultural mediator. The magazine is bi-annual, the online archive is updated periodically.

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