Ombria, the luxury sustainable development in the Algarve; owned by the Finnish Pontos Group; has announced a partnership that aims to preserve the Algarve’s arts and crafts by supporting local artisans and raising awareness of their work.
A recent publication, the Red Book of Algarvian Craft Activities, warned that many artisan activities are endangered but can still be saved if awareness is raised and knowledge is passed down to younger generations. The research also identified crafts that still support some villages and have an economic importance for these populations. Palm and cane basketwork is, according to the book, one of those techniques that needs “urgent safeguarding”.
Leni Farenzena, an architect specialising in object design and one of the artists partaking in the order placed by Ombria, says: “My craftsmanship, just like that of other local artists, is an important representation of Portugal’s culture. Traditional knowledge is undoubtedly part of our cultural heritage but is at risk of disappearing. It is extremely important to preserve and value what we do as it is part of our identity.
“I first heard of Ombria and its initiative via Loulé Design Lab; a hub that hosts creative professionals within a co-working environment. I was keen to get involved as I believe that Ombria will have a positive impact on our region by creating jobs and involving local craftsmen.”
Ombria boasts a selection of apartments, townhouses and villas available to buy and each property comes fully furnished. To give local artists a platform and provide maximum exposure, the interiors of the residences feature a wide selection of locally crafted art and objects such as paintings, ceramics, hand-woven baskets.
Bernadette Martins, who creates ceramic artwork, says: “My art is bought by tourists as well as local businesses. Still, one of the biggest challenges us local artists have is to promote our creations in a way that it attracts the level of buyers that we need to continue our work. Ombria’s initiative presents a new and very exciting approach as it will allow us to showcase our artwork to a wider audience of property owners as well as travellers who will be visiting the resort.”
Additional pieces of locally crafted art will be incorporated across Ombria’s 5-star hotel, managed by renowned Viceroy Hotels & Resorts, and its facilities such as six restaurants, spa, kids club, library, gourmet shop, Golf Clubhouse and conference centre.
Joao Richard Costa, says: “We are creating Ombria to be an integral part of the local community and celebrate its culture. The artists we have met with are inspired by the surrounding nature of the Algarve and have always used the region’s natural materials which is something that Ombria incorporates in its architecture. It was therefore inherent for us to team up with the creative talent from the area in order to maximise exposure for their art and represent the Algarve’s cultural heritage.
“To further give visitors the opportunity to learn about the different arts and crafts from the region, we will also be hosting a number of workshops. This will not only allow artists to share their passion but give them the opportunity to personally interact with likeminded visitors from all over the world.”
Those wanting to experience additional workshops can partake in ones organised by the City Council, spread all across Loulé. Joana Dias, Head of Executive Production and Development of Loulé Design Lab, adds: “We have already had high interest from visitors who wish to find out more about our local craftsmanship. These workshops, in addition to Ombria’s efforts, give us hope that future generations will still be able to enjoy and appreciate the Algarve’s arts, crafts and cultural heritage.”