Manuel Amaral Netto
Designer and entrepreneur, Manuel Amaral Netto is one of those people that are missing in Portugal. Joining his passion for design and the capacity of local manufacturers, Manuel founded UTIL, a furniture and accessories brand. The pieces from UTIL, designed to bring joy to everyday life, fit perfectly into the type of homes we like and select for The Nest. We talked to Manuel about design, his house, Lisbon and the neighborhood where he lives:
Tell us a bit about yourself...
I was born in Lisbon and returned to the city about 5 years ago. I graduated in industrial design from ESAD in Caldas da Rainha and have a master's degree from ECAL in Lausanne. I have worked for different design offices between Milan, Rotterdam, Padova and Lisbon and more recently I have launched a furniture and accessories brand, UTIL. Parallel to this project I develop others related to product, furniture, interiors and exhibition design. I like to work close to the industry and the craftsmen, in order to find the best solutions for the different projects.
What do you like most about your house?
I especially like the neighborhood where we are. It is an area that we have been learning to like more and more. Despite being a small house, we still have 3 bedrooms, and with a rather high ceiling it gives a sense of space, which is very nice.
“The perfect house is one with lots of natural light and a garden. An open view would be the cherry on top!”
Where do you live?
Since returning to Lisbon, I live in Alto de Santo Amaro. At the time it was still relatively easy to find a house here, but even though we took the first place we saw because we were going to stay close to friends. And that's how we got to know our neighbourhood and our neighbours. Today the neighbourhood has changed a lot. The local garden is perhaps the biggest privilege of the neighbourhood. It was all rehabilitated a couple of years ago and since then is always full of ‘customers’. It's tiny, but it's perfect for bringing the kids at the end of the day. And in this garden we already know many of our neighbours, some of whom we became good friends. It is also a neighbourhood whose population has not changed so much and as such it is easy to go to the barber who tells us how the neighbourhood has changed in the last 50 years or to the grocery store where you can ask whatever you need to find in the neighbourhood. We are very glad we landed here.
And if you did not live there, where would you like to live?
I lived in Campo de Ourique until I was 10 years old and since forever I have had a very close connection because I still have family members living there. Nowadays I would like to come back precisely because it is a space that is very dear and familiar to me. Despite being a hell to park a car is a neighborhood that has plenty of gardens, cafes, grocery stores and so on.
Since two years ago I have my studio near Pedrouços and this has made me discover this part of the city, which I had hardly known before. And it's been a great find. This whole area, which stretches between Ajuda, Junqueira and Restelo, is very pleasant.
Why do you like Lisbon?
Due to its relation with the sea and the river. It is a city with small, labyrinthine streets that open quickly, gain space and show various perspectives of a place with a south-facing, internationally recognized light. I really like this area between Rua da Academia das Ciências and Praça das Flores. I like Alvalade and its new spaces like the Isco Pão e Vinho. I really like the Ethnology Museum in Restelo. I also like the river and Capelinha de Santo Amaro.
In the house of whom would you like to see an UTIL piece?
At my parents' house! It is a house with classic interiors, like many other Portuguese houses. I would like to see the UTIL pieces in the most varied environments and my parents' house would be the perfect context. I like to imagine that the UTIL's pure and elementary forms can function in both modern and nostalgic environments.