Layers of Invisibility in Portuguese State Furniture Design, 1940–1974

Sofia Diniz, João Paulo Rosário Martins

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In Portugal, the political regime resulting from the 1926 military coup – led almost throughout by António de Oliveira Salazar (1889–1970) – was known as Estado Novo. One of its main features was a policy of promoting architectural works and basic infrastructure in the country through the centralised organisation of services and a strict definition of procedures. In 1929, even before the creation of the Ministry of Public Works some three years later, the Directorate-General of Buildings and National Monuments (Direcção-Geral dos
Edifícios e Monumentos Nacionais – DGEMN) was set up, an institution responsible for the planning and construction of public service buildings and the maintenance and conservation of Portugal’s national monuments.

In 1940, the intentions that motivated the DGEMN were replicated in the realm of furniture, with the creation of the Furniture Acquisition Commission (Comissão para Aquisição de Mobiliário - CAM), which remained active until 1980. As laid down by the law that created the commission (Decree-Law no. 30.359), the work of the CAM was to focus on ‘studies and the acquisition of furniture for the State’s buildings that are to be newly created, and others that have undergone radical alterations or extension works’, with the aim of ensuring ‘harmony between the furniture used and the architectural language of these buildings’ to ensure the adoption of common principles’, and to ensure ‘the appropriate technical management and controls’.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)125-142
Number of pages18
JournalFootprint. Delft Architecture Theory Journal
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2015


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