Portuguese brand De La Espada set to host London open house pop-up
Portuguese furniture brand De La Espada last debuted one of its new collections at the Milan Furniture Fair in 2011. Since then, it has avoided what its co-founder Luis De Oliveira describes as the ‘inhuman halls and booths’ of the annual Salone del Mobile and has instead curated a series of more intimate presentations in retail spaces, galleries and homes. ‘The home sits right at the heart of our agenda,’ he explains, ‘so we find a natural advantage exhibiting inside people’s houses.’
According to De Oliveira, this approach offers an antidote to the poor experience and levels of waste that can be produced at trade events. In June this year, De La Espada hosted a week-long open-house in a Lisbon apartment, where guests were able to view the latest products whilst attending a cello recital or a series of talks on design theory. The rooms also became the backdrop for a specially commissioned performance created by local artist Joana Astolfi that utilised pieces by designers including Jason Miller, Neri & Hu, Luca Nichetto and Matthew Hilton as props.
The Lisbon residency was a follow up to a similar event staged during the Stockholm Furniture Fair in 2018. These open houses aim to create experiences and memories that visitors will treasure, as well as helping to immerse them in the company’s values. ‘When we make De La Espada products, we pour attention into detail and try to think of the bigger picture that surrounds them,’ De Oliveira explains. ‘When we speak to our audience we are not afraid to convey this intensity, which means that we instinctively seek ways of communicating that leave a memorable mark.’
In September, ahead of the London Design Festival, De Oliveira and his wife Fatima will take the next logical step and invite guests into their own home in west London. Over five days, they will host tours, lectures, concerts and shared meals in an authentic and personal environment that is far removed from the city’s showrooms and exhibition halls.
Looking ahead to the event, De Oliveira claims that he is embracing the opportunity to let people discover how his family lives with the meaningful objects and furniture they produce and collect. ‘The message becomes more earnest when delivered at home,’ he says. ‘If we [as a brand] are about intensity, about being earnest and credible, then despite the can of worms that comes with opening up our home, I see this as a worthwhile path to follow.’ §