Telling a story through objects is what Joana Astolfiknows how to do best. With the convergence of her three souls – designer, architect, and artist – in one body, the Lisbon-based designer displays a unique and totally personal way to express her vision succeeding, at the same time, in creating individual stories in her projects.
Claus Porto – Lisbon
“Humor and the playful side of the things I create are fundamental. I’m very close to that only child I was who created her own world.”
Born from a Brazilian architect and a Portuguese art gallery owner, the duality inherent to her character is what makes her one of the most resourceful and researched names of the design industry in Portugal and in the rest of the world. Joana Astolfi’s distinct aesthetics – based on the reutilization of objects as memory’s visual tools – reveals a child-like wonder, a capability of reaching the essence of things through the typical curiosity of a child.
O Antigo Talho – Lisbon
Her studies, first architecture at the University of Wales in Cardiff and later in Munich, gave the Portuguese designer a wider scenery that leads her to Fabrica, the Benetton research center in Treviso (Italy), where her signature style came to be. In 2005 Joana Astolfi came back in Lisbon, where her eccentric professional vision translated into a small studio and shop in Bairro Alto, where she collected objects found at flea markets and old shops: these objects found a new life through the transformative hands of Joana Astolfi.
Cantinho do Avillez (José Avillez Restaurant)
Her sensibility toward the importance of the memories hidden behind objects and her knowledge of Portuguese traditions and style made her the perfect choice for creating installations or redesigning some iconic places in the capital: from the centenarian Portuguese soap-maker “Claus Porto” to the iconic André Ópticas in Chiado to the famous chef José Avillez’s restaurant, thus managing to enhance the locations’ narratives.
André Opticas – Lisbon
Joana Astolfi’s particular approach was behind the installation for Portuguese furniture brand De La Espada in Stockholm: the exhibition became an interactive one through the performance called “Let’s Pretend this never happened” in which she chose two actors to tell a story through everyday gestures. But the partnership that launched the Portuguese designer is the one with Hermès through the windows displays she created for the French brand: windows reflect a specific message – the same way the magnifying glasses Joana Astolfi wears around her neck let her see – that capture people’s attention; craftsmanship and originality revolve around the products and the design becomes the medium of her curiosity.
Hermès Paris – Charles De Gaulles (Summer 2018)
“When I enter a restaurant, a shop or a house, my eyes are like a magnifying glass. Then I create a kind of mental encyclopedia from which I then take things out.”