Work Areas


The Observatory is dedicated to all facets of traditional artisanal culture’s investigation. Through publications, interviews, essays and audio-visual resources we share visual and theoretical reflection on utensils that are used on a daily basis. Showing their origins, the manufacturing methods, their evolution over time and their future projection. For the near future, our goal is to map raw materials and crafts’ origins and create a material and sensorial database as an archive of knowledge. 

The Artisans’ Voices series makes known, through the voice of artisans, their critical vision of material culture, education, production and consumption. With these videos we wish to promote vernacular knowledge as a leitmotiv for a sustainable future.

O Bunho (Bulrush)
Artisans: Arménio Varela and Maria Júlia
Video: Jorge Murteira
Grafics: Sabine Kornbrust
Interview: Álbio Nascimento and Kathi Stertzig


Our Studio is dedicated to products’ development, experimental interventions and consulting; it is a pronouncedly pragmatic work area aiming to create new useful products whilst working closely with strategies for local and regional development. Onsite residencies and workshops for artisans’ provisions, with craft associations’ support result in ancestral techniques’ reinterpretations and use of locally sourced raw materials. Together we develop special commissions and new collections, which always draw on vernacular practices.


The project’s training and educational part aims to open up future perspectives for diverse crafts and practices. Methodology will be based above all on the close apprentices’ involvement and trainees in the manufacturing processes, making the most of their different experiences, origins and goals. New horizons and new perspectives for situated craft practices can be opened up through workshops, training actions and courses.
This work is also carried out with students from areas such as design and architecture, and through actions on materials, models and technologies. Our aim is to inform these professional areas on vernacular knowledge and traditional culture.


Our Online Shop is dedicated to high quality artisanally made utensils, which are designed for daily use. In a simple way, it provides access to utilitarian objects we would like to see becoming part of everyday life. These objects are either chosen from the artisans’ portfolios; or they are the result of our collaborations, enhancing techniques, forms and contemporary usability.


Newsletter Origem Comum

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