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João Valente | Maria Pita Guerreiro | Dion Soethoudt  |  February 2017


João Abreu Valente has a diploma in Product Design at Lisbon University of Fine Arts and a masters degree in Contextual Design at Design Academy Eindhoven.

Recently settled in Lisbon where he opened his own design studio and a cultural space called Arquivo 237. Since 2006 he has been invited to integrate design exhibitions in Germany, Spain, France, Holland, Hungary, Italy and Portugal. In 2015 won the national prize for young designers – Daciano da Costa Prize.

He has been working in exhibition design, furniture and product and his personal approach to design is mostly about researching new production processes.



Maria Pita Guerreiro graduated in Product Design at FBAUL, during this time she studied abroad for a semester at Complutense de Madrid, getting to know other design fields. She also studied painting and graphic design which gave her a more sensitive sense for the look of her projects. She’s attracted to textures, different materials and elementary shapes, believing always that simplicity of the form is the key for her work. She is collaborating with João Abreu Valente since May 2014.



Dion Soethoudt is both a newborn rabbit and an ancient tree. This is to say: Dion is made of contrasts. He can spend hours on the silliest detail or work roughly for the overall image. Rude and tough or sensitive, vulnerable. Less than a whisper or the loudest of noises. A man too sure of himself and the most insecure boy in the world – who knows?


Dion’s endless energy flows into his numerous projects. He has a sense for discovering remarkable details in a plain situation, and finds humorous or inventive ways to make these visible for everyone.


The initial focus of the residency went through a process of research that was transversal to the different properties of Basalt and divided itself between visual features and the geological characteristics of the different types of local stones.

The work done within the residency had an approach of several panoramas, from both plastic experiments as well as functional ones.


Art Residency organized by Pico do Refúgio – Casas de Campo with the support from Instituto Cultural de Ponta Delgada.




Pico do Refúgio was previously a tea factory and, as such, we wanted to keep this industrial environment, recreating the transport of the wooden beams. The chosen wood, as the project name indicates, is Cryptomeria, a specific wood of Azores, which is very appropriate for humid environments.

The beam was cut centered on the trunk, which means that in ends of the lamp it is possible to identify the pattern of the tree circumferences. The metal tubes that hold the structure are hollow on the inside in order to route the electric system from within, thereby emphasizing the wooden beam.


The light projection was the biggest problem identified, due to the fact that it is a very spacious place with a high ceiling, where the required needs were opposite: ambient and general light, as well as clearly focused light to benefit the areas of socializing and leisure. As such, we created a doubly-illuminated hanging lamp, where each part has 4 lamps, two of which have the beam of light focusing up, and the other two focusing down, so that the light can reach the entire room in a very effective way.


BASALT – Povoação 

Trivets drawn from the Basalt stone from Povoação, São Miguel. The use of this type of basalt relates not only by the plastic diversity it presents but also for its geological feature, since it has a great capacity of heat absorption. Consequently, this type of basalt traditionally served as the material used for the construction of furnaces and fireplaces.

Two types of Basalt Povoação were used in the trivets to create a single pattern. These complete each other, where the remnants of one are used in the other.


BASALT – Olivina 

A cutting board drawn from the Basalt stone Olivina and the wood of Metrosideros.

The choice of this stone relates to the finishing process that this type of basalt offers, being a denser stone that allows to be polished, giving, as such, a smoother and delicate touch, and waterproof feature. The Metrosideros wood is, by default, a very hard wood, due to its slow growth. The name derives from the Greek metra, or “heartwood” and sideron, or “iron”, which refers to the hardness of the wood itself. The wood isn’t just characteristic of this specific place, since it also exists in the Philippines, New Zealand and Polynesia.



The lamp was a continuous process of research for the properties of the Basalt, in order to grasp the essential characteristics and use it accordingly, by identifying the relationship between the material and its possible use.


PICO LAMP has the Basalt stone in its purest and common form, due to its low density that challenges its suspension. The complementary material is Brass, an elegant and soft choice that enhances the roughness of the stone, combined in a game of elementary shapes.


Project commission by VICARA, Exploratory Design.

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