Daciano da Costa


Daciano Costa was one of the most outstanding Portuguese designers. He refused the title of "pope" of design, but this was how he was seen by his colleagues of different generations.

Portuguese Design

He is the author of the interiors designs such as the emblematic Portuguese Nacional Library, the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, the Teatro Villatret, the Estoril Casino, the Belém Cultural Centre, or even the recent Casa da Música. The author of the first serial Portuguese designs ever made, such as the metal office furniture produced at Metalúrgica da Longra in the 1960s. "He is one of the first designers to be invited to work in a factory and to do so using the project design methodology", says João Paulo Martins, who was commissioner of the exhibition Daciano da Costa Designer, organized by the Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian in 2001. The work carried out by the collaboration with Longra, since 1961, was to last more than 30 years, says João Paulo Martins, one of the most productive relations of the national industry with design - "the Cortez line entered the imaginary of the Portuguese work space."

His office furniture has become a contemporary classic. He created environments in the interior spaces of the Biblioteca Nacional and in Gulbenkian. His work integrates interior architecture, furniture design, industrial, exhibition, and graphic, as well as scenography and costumes.

See Work

"Ephemeral and theatrical"

The representation is intrinsic to us. Maybe it has a little theatrical sense of things. I can not help but observe the movements of people in space. Because architecture is for people to live. How objects are for people to use and enjoy. Architecture without people is desert. The desert is a tremendous thing. Architecture is also the space that is occupied and the space that is unoccupied. This dynamic relationship ...

two words from Daciano da Costa that were used at the entrance of the Gulbenkian retrospective exhibition.

"Until then the architecture of interiors was more understood as interior design. It was forgotten what was around. For him, it was a project of continuity"

says João Paulo Martins, who worked in Daciano da Costa's atelier and currently teaches the Design course at the Faculty of Architecture of the University of Lisbon.

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