Take a peek in the beautifully decorated rooms and public areas of one of the Lisbon’s most authentic hotels. Nicolas Roucos, General Manager of The Lumiares Hotel & Spa, will walk you through this unique boutique hotel and all its secrets, which also makes an ideal location for photography and film productions.
Production Paradise: Can you tell us more about the history of the hotel?
Nicolas Roucos: The Lumiares is a charming 5-star boutique hotel with 53 spacious, beautifully designed and decorated rooms that draw upon the authenticity of the city and the personality and charm of the historic building, a former 18th century Palace in the heart of historic Lisbon. The fully renovated hotel has all the key amenities and facilities for business and leisure travelers who want to feel at home when away from home. It combines 5-star hotel amenities with the space and style of a high-class apartment. The style is personal, not “corporate” – relaxed, not “stuffy”.
Production Paradise: What are the architectural specificities of the building? What were the inspirations/influences for the decoration of the different areas?
Nicolas Roucos: The design concept relates to the relationship between light and pattern in the Bairro Alto area of Lisbon.
This is reflected in the bold black, white and brass-accented flooring in the reception area, a custom-curated / bespoke collection of abstract and geometrical original artworks on display throughout the rooms, and a captivating sculptural brass chandelier dominating the building’s Grand Staircase.
The Lumiares’ philosophy is to highlight the authenticity and personality of Lisbon by collaborating with local Portuguese businesses to showcase ‘The best of Portugal’. Almost every item of furniture, artwork, textiles and room accessories has been conceived, designed and manufactured in Portugal, some within 500 meters from the hotel.
Design, interiors, and artworks for The Lumiares were a collaborative effort between key members of the management team/development group, keen to share with guests everything they love about Portugal.
The starting place for design and artwork was the location. The Lumiares is perched on the central edge of Bairro Alto. This Lisbon quarter is home to a bohemian mishmash of everyday residents, artists and merchants’ studios, restaurants, quirky shops, lively bars, and cafes; a warren of asymmetrical buildings with mismatched facades of varying heights and hues, its narrow streets and pavements cobbled in Lisbon’s iconic square paving stones. Surveyed from above, the quarter forms a striking grid of patterns, light and dark; painted walls adorned with Lisbon’s beautiful hero colors – sky blue, rosy pink and warm ochre. These colors change and intensify throughout the day – creating yet more contrast as the unique, golden light of Lisbon turns to dusk. By day, the neighborhood is sleepy and quiet, while at night it comes alive; a place of contrasts.
In design terms, a day-to-night, light-to-dark transformation was brought to life to capture Bairro Alto’s topography of pattern and grids – choosing boldly geometric prints in the materials, fabrics, artwork, and flooring, accented with the colors and golden light we see all around us. From the lobby’s bold black and white and brass-accented flooring, the colorful abstract original artwork of Maser, to designer Beau McClellan’s captivating sculptural and cubic brass lighting installation in the hotel’s central stairwell, the unique character of the Bairro Alto quarter was central to the design theme.
In keeping with the company’s ethos of sharing a unique, indigenous experience of Lisbon, many local brands are featured in the rooms. Almost every item of mid-century modern furniture at The Lumiares – from bedside to coffee table – has been conceived, designed and manufactured in Portugal by leading bespoke furniture manufacturers and suppliers Room 2 Fit.
A centerpiece of the living rooms is a hand-woven wall tapestry commissioned by The Lumiares to Ferreira de Sá, one of the oldest producers of handmade rugs in Europe, family-owned and run for generations. The 100% wool tapestry is a contemporary take on traditional Portuguese patterns and features Lisbon’s colors of pink, blue and ochre yellow. Our living room floor rug is a bold, original ‘Lumiares/Bairro Alto’ design also created specially by Ferreira de Sá. Custom-commissioned collections of abstract photography by Portuguese photographic artist Vasco Celio throughout the hotel explore the relationship of light and pattern between the river Tagus and Lisbon’s tram lines. All tableware in the kitchen area is by Portugal’s own porcelain makers, Vista Alegre.
The leather room directories/compendiums were designed and finished by hand in Lisbon by contemporary artisan leather crafters Project 226, and contain notebooks hand-bound by a Santa Catarina bookbinder – sourced and designed especially for The Lumiares by Lisbon artisan collective Malta & Companhia. This same collective helped produce Lumiares’ very own bespoke maps of Lisbon, designed by Ileana Rovetta: a labor of love by the team to share their favorite locations in the city.
The hotel’s bedrooms feature plush rugs by Ferreira de Sá, and soft bed throws in 100% wool by Portugal’s own Burel Factory, made in Serra da Estrela mountain range. A hand-woven tapestry bed cushion has been designed with bold color palettes in mind and procured from Mizette Nielsen of Fábrica Alentejana de Lanifícios, artisan weavers in Alentejo. Original artworks in the bedrooms by contemporary urban artist Maser and artist Jeff Lowe also inspired by Lisbon’s colour and pattern, while handmade letter-press typography artworks – a special commission by graphic artist Joao Rei, hand-pressed in an age-old studio in the Azores – inspire guests using words, featuring poetry of Lisbon’s own poet Fernando Pessoa.
Production Paradise: What services do you currently offer?
Nicolas Roucos: We offer all the services of a 5-star hotel, including private transfer to and from the airport, a spa and a gym, two restaurants, and a rooftop bar, complimentary digital newspapers, minibar drinks as well as apartments with kitchenette and secure parking.
Production Paradise: Lisbon is a beautiful city; what point of view does the hotel offer on it?
Nicolas Roucos: The hotel has a rooftop with a 180º view on the river and Lisbon.
We are in the heart of Bairro Alto, the historic center of the city. Bairro Alto is a popular neighborhood of Lisbon, known for its narrow streets, restaurants, many shops, and nightlife.
Production Paradise: Why is your hotel an attractive destination for photo & film production teams?
Nicolas Roucos: The hotel’s contemporary art-deco feel, the rooftop, the penthouse balconies, the 18-century staircase, the spa, informal Mercado snack bar, and the lobby all combined with the location make it an attractive option for production teams.
Production Paradise: Can you tell us about some productions that took place in the hotel?
Nicolas Roucos: We have had productions coming from many different countries, from Austria and the United States to South Africa, for example. Unfortunately, we cannot name them for privacy reasons.
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