Manuel Aires Mateus: Silent Living Collection

Architecture can scream “look at me,” but it can also whisper — or in this case, be silent. Portuguese architect Manuel Aires Mateus is the visionary behind four homes in the Silent Living collection. The properties, owned by Joao Rodrigues, are spread over Portugal in urban, beach and rural locations. What they have in common is design restraint and use of natural materials — and a deep respect for the surroundings. Santa Clara 1728


The duo’s latest project is the six-room guesthouse Santa Clara 1728 in Lisbon, which opened in January 2017. Located in an 18th-century building, the original limestone stairs are still intact, and the color palette is muted, from the upholstered linen furniture to the bleached wood. There are touches of modernism, such as Davide Groppi’s ‘Simbiosi’ lights.

The first property was Rodrigues’s beach home in Comporta, Casas na Areia. The simple A-line thatched home is inspired by the surrounding rice barns. Sand floors reinforce the connection to the beach, and the furniture is crafted from wood such as the “Bigfoot” table from e15. The home was selected to represent Portugal in the 2010 Venice Biennial.

Cabanas no RioCasas na AreiaCasa No Tempo


Next, Rodrigues and Mateus salvaged two fishermen’s huts and turned them into Cabanas no Rio in Comporta near the River Sado. Simplicity and absorbing the silence of the surrounding area were the guiding design principles. One hut houses a kitchen and relaxation area, while the doors of the showering area can open to the elements. The next project was on a larger scale. Rodrigues turned his grandfather’s farm, Casa No Tempo, into a minimalist retreat. The most striking feature is the outdoor zero entry pool. Surrounded by olive and oak trees, the pool appears sunken into the countryside, and has just a pair of Ile Club Daybeds by Piero Lissoni as decor.

Photo credit: Syvona Askayo, RenCe Kemps, Nikolay Ivanov, Nelson Garrido, Álvaro Manso, Bernard Touillon

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