It’s 9:30 am when Ana Krausz opens the door. Because she goes to the gym in the morning, she is always the first to arrive. She opens the blinds, prepares one of her paleo pancakes with coconut flour and sits by the computer eating. Then comes Paula Cosme Pinto, who always seems to have a myriad of articles to write. When Vasco Águas and Inês Matos Andrade arrive and ask her if she wants to get some coffee – a ritual that is essential to their life before they start working – they always get the same answer: ‘Let me just finish this paragraph.’ Every single day they mock her for that, even when they don’t have to wait for her. Armando Ribeiro arrives midmorning but has been answering emails at home since 8am. He’s always smiling, and with news to tell. But he’s not the only one: during those first minutes when the five of them finally come together in the office, no one stops talking. Everyone seems to have something new to share with the group. They are only five but they could not have been more different people in their career paths and life stories. And it’s this difference that unites them and makes O Apartamento the eclectic and down-to-earth project that it’s supposed to be.
O Apartamento opened in May 2015 with a fixed address in Lisbon. But more than a geographic location, the spirit of sharing is its real starting point. O Apartamento is a project made from person to person. It’s about showing to Lisboetas the best from around the world and to showcase Portugal to those from abroad by opening the doors to events that bring together creative minds from different spectrums and different places.
But let’s go back in time with this story, when there was no house and not even a key to get in. There once was a man with an idea simmering in his head. As a design lover and a compulsive magazine buyer, Armando dreamed of the possibility of one day being able to bring to Portugal the most out of the box titles and creators, to hear their stories and share with them the stories from his city. Part of that dream was to do it inside a real apartment: with a stove and pans that could be used every day, a couch that would be more than a piece of furniture and a bed with a warm duvet to welcome the guests. He would call this idea ‘O Apartamento’.
In 2014, he decided it was time to put his dream into practice and, before it was a real apartment, O Apartamento took its first steps and invited English magazine Cereal to Lisbon for an experimental event. In this experiment Armando was joined by Inês and Paula, both journalists, one specialized in gastronomy (with a fork and a knife tattooed on her right arm), the other dedicated to feminism. And then they were three. Together they started looking for a home and finally found an apartment in a residential area of the city, overlooking a school and a garden. They fell in love with the light coming in through the windows but also with the traditional neighborhood, representative of the genuine local life they wanted to show the world.
And so we come to May 2015, the month of the official opening of O Apartamento. Armando’s initial concept is still there: every three months it is home to international magazines, like the Catalan Openhouse, the Berliner Freunde von Freunden and Londoner Riposte. But its agenda shows that the spirit that gets things going today is as versatile as it is fidgety. O Apartamento has already been a pop up store, a supper club; it has served dinners, and even a barbecue by renowned chefs. It has been used for macramé, a macrobiotic kitchen and naked cakes workshops and hosted a photo exhibition. More recently it was the home to an artist in residence, a pop up cafeteria for brunches from two of the coolest cafés from Stockholm and a concert venue for a Brazilian showcase. All of this in a 120 square meter apartment, where anyone who wants to enter must ring the bell and go up to the fifth floor in an old elevator with wooden walls.
Needless to say, with such a constant and all-round schedule, the team eventually grew. In early summer of 2015 came Vasco, an architect with an unparalleled ability to give new life either to a piece of paper or a coil of rope. After the summer came Ana, who devotes much of her time to healthy lifestyle habits, from exercise to food. She only can’t resist to the chocolate pancakes Inês sometimes makes in the afternoon. The kitchen seems to be the centre of the world in this apartment, sometimes around the stove and some- times around the table. It’s where they have friends over for lunch or the five of them get together to decide on what will happen in the following months.
Now that the world has come to take a peek inside O Apartamento, it is time for it to venture out. After the summer O Apartamento has some secret plans on taking this concept to other European cities. But even though everyone likes to hit the road and share their ideas and drink the best that is made in the world, they still think that there is nothing like their kitchen back home, with their laughter resonating from the walls and the smell of Inês pancakes tempting their taste buds.