There’s a lot of great design in Porto! From creative independent designers to excellent art galleries, Porto’s design scene is blooming.
As a first timer in Porto, I was surprised both by the rich selection and the high quality of design in the city.
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Design lovers visiting Porto should head straight to Rua de Miguel Bombarda and the surrounding area, otherwise known as Porto’s art district or art block.
Wandering the streets around the art block reveals lots and lots of design shops, art galleries, antique shops, artisans’ ateliers, independent fashion stores… You get the picture.
Besides the art block, which is very close to downtown Porto, there are more design shops all around the city.
Here are some that caught my eye:
Adjacent to a creative coworking space, Cru is a project that lets the creatives working there sell their work, alongside other designers from Portugal.
The shop also features items by people who were not originally designers, but turned to design and handicraft as a second career.
They sell many exclusive items and truly unique gifts and some eco friendly products too. You’ll find jewellery, fashion, candles (smell them!), notebooks, art prints and more.
In the art block, among many contemporary art galleries, this one stood out with its bright interior and walls full of art.
It’s a beautiful gallery dedicated to illustration and drawing. It features wall art, prints, art books and zines. The focus is on local artists, but they also display art from international illustrators.
It opened 9 years ago and grew in size and popularity over the years. The gallery has a monthly exhibition plus occasional one day shows. Walk in and browse the art on the walls – there’s plenty of it!
One of the coolest shops in Porto. It’s a pretty large space packed with gorgeous things. Take your time exploring this one, it has many charming and original items to discover.
The style is pretty eclectic, and mixes modern design with vintage items. They offer mostly Portuguese designs, including wall art, ceramics, fashion, accessories, art prints, notebooks, bags, lamps, rugs, furniture and even bicycles!
Kuri kuri means cute in Japanese and pretty much sums up what this shop is about!
This is the place to browse a beautiful, colourful and very diverse collection of items related to Japanese culture: books, photos, clothing, accessories, even food.
This shop has been around since 2009 and run by a sister and brother who import the items themselves.
An interesting historical fact I learnt while chatting to the shop owner: Portugal was the first European country to enter Japan, in a failed attempt to evangelise the Japanese, and so the two countries share a special connection.
A large concept store, wonderful for lovers of vintage design and oddities. The store layout invites you to explore.
All around the store you’ll find small sculptures, ceramics, jewellery, furniture, accessories, kitchenware, some amazing lighting, plants in the garden and separate rooms for fashion.
The style is not exclusively vintage / retro. They are modern and contemporary items as well.
Street art has become a big thing in Porto, since the rules about the use of urban walls were relaxed a few years ago. This gave more freedom to the artists and made the city even more beautiful.
When you enter the colourful space of Circus Network, you’ll find a shop / gallery selling posters, art prints, books, zines and vinyl records with a strong street art theme.
I later discovered that this was in fact a 3-in-1 project: a shop / gallery, a coworking space for creatives and others, and an agency representing artists. The main focus here is on illustration and street art in many different styles.
Circus Network’s involvement in Porto’s excellent street art scene is impressive. They organised a street art festival and represent many of the artists as an agency. You can pick up a street art map at the shop and do your own self guided tour.
There’s so much more!
There’s more style in Porto than I can cover in one post! Here is some more beauty for you to explore:
CCB (Centro Comercial Bombarda) – A shopping centre of the alternative kind. Instead of predictable chains, this shopping centre is home to small boutiques, studios, elegant cafes and even a record store.
Galerias Lumière – A great 70s building hosting many small design shops and cool cafes.
Porto Fashion Makers – A city guide and map focused on lifestyle. You can browse online or pick up a paper version is one of the shops featured in the guide.
Check out the simultaneous gallery openings (inaugurações simultâneas) that happen at all galleries in the art district at once on some Saturdays – see the Facebook page for updates on the next event.
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