It took over two years for Stéphane Mulliez, a French artist residing in Lisbon, to make her dream come true. She wanted to find the right place to create a residency for Portuguese and international artists, but also curators, to foster the growth of new projects and socio-cultural exchanges.
The search reached its goal in the western part of the city, a building from the 18th century with splendid historic azulejos, in the Belém museum district. A former school with magnificent architecture, offering 300 square meters of space, as the perfect spot for the coexistence of artistic activity and living space.
The structure has been re-christened La Junqueira, a non-profit initiative for total inclusivity, hosting each artist for a maximum of three months. The renovation, conducted by Mulliez herself in collaboration with the architecture studio Specific Architectos, set out to reduce decorative effects to a minimum, in order to highlight the works of art.
The facility nurtures creation and provides visibility for the works, including studio visits on the part of art professionals, workshops with local residents, and convivial occasions. The lodgings for artists cover a 21 sqm flat (with private kitchen and bathroom), a studio of 70 sqm, an art library and a garden. At a distance of 10 minutes on foot, there is also a second atelier of 100 sqm, for large-format works.
Mulliez has a passion for architecture, contemporary art, antique stores and second-hand items – she admits that she is a “compulsive bargain hunter” – and these factors have been helpful in the choice of the furnishings. Her well-honed, refined taste has brought pieces by Fermob into the garden, with dramatic but minimal lighting by Vibia at the entrance. The living area features pieces by Cassina and Cappellini, carefully mixed with classics by Harry Bertoia and the Eameses, and a Tolomeo lamp by Artemide.
For the dining room, she has chosen a table and chairs by Jean Prouvé, and suspension lamps by Tom Dixon. In Stéphane Mulliezìs office, stars of the past (the Eameses) coexist with those of the present (Flos, Vitra).
In all these spaces, the works of art by the residents and other artists are never in the background, and in fact they seem to tie everything together. At the moment La Junqueira is hosting Anais Lelièvre, whose stay will culminate in May with an exhibition and a catalogue, in keeping with the house rules. The selection process for the next artist-in-residence starts in June. Best of luck!
Photo © Francisco Nogueira