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Known for being a cool cat travel capital steeped in historic culture and timeless tiled art, Lisbon’s classic azulejo tiles are an integral part of the city’s imprint. Yet, as much a fan of contemporary wall designs as ancient ones, Lisbon is also a creative hotspot for stylish graffiti design and urban art, which has led to the tiles having had a bit of a spray paint makeover lately, to international acclaim.
Not only is graffiti celebrated and encouraged by the Municipality itself through its GAU department (galeria de arte urbana), but Lisbon holds an annual summer festival called MURO that sees graffiti artists flock from far and wide to push the boundaries of urban art. This isn’t a city of ‘tags’ and scrawled names, however, oh no, here graffiti is a careful, painstakingly stencilled art form, demanding respect (and many “wows”, too).
One of Lisbon’s most famous graffiti artists is Alexandre Farto, known as VHILS, who delicately drills his strikingly beautiful designs into walls, merging his artworks into the building’s foundations, while also pushing urban art in a way that hasn’t been seen for decades. One of the artists that VHILS represents is Diogo Machado, known for his work as Add Fuel. (As in, to the fire).
Aware of the effects of our fast-paced, modern world in which increasingly little is held as sacred or noticed for its inherent beauty, Add Fuel sought inspiration from his native Portuguese culture and its well-known azulejo tiles, adapting them to the times while maintaining their very presence as a culturally celebratory and important one.
For more on all things cool + culture check out our Culture Kids Edit, and for more on all things Lisboa living – well, peek in our full-to-bursting Travel Journal for our Lisbon Design Guide full of style den hotspots and places to pick up the best interior finds, to an exploration of MAAT Lisbon, the riverside design hub for all things tech, architecture and art. Check out our Art + Design category for more art and design guides to major cities such as: Gothenburg, Vienna, Zurich, New York, the list goes on…