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Vintage tiles are showcased across simple pine shelves inside this new shop for a specialist tile seller in Lisbon, designed by the four brothers who run the business. The four Cortiço brothers inherited the Cortiço & Netos business from their grandfather and have opened a new store in Lisbon’s historic Mouraria district. They built a series of tall wooden shelves to display his 30-year-old stockpile, which encompasses discontinued lines from the 1960s up to products from the present day.

The brothers have also expanded the portfolio of the family business to include a range of tiled homeware items. Taking advantage of the shop’s high ceilings, they present the new items alongside the tiles – which offer the only colours in the otherwise minimally designed space. “Considering the several hundreds of different tile patterns and the vibrant array of colour palettes, we decided the store wouldn’t need much decoration – the tiles should stand proudly on display,” said the brothers in a statement.

More unusual examples of ceramic glazing, including a set of brightly glazed toilet bowls, are perched on top of the wooden shelving. Bathroom fittings, coasters and other small homeware items are dotted among the boxes of tiles in the pigeonhole shelving. “The result is a large tile wall, which overwhelms the visitors with colour, variety and, on a typical Lisbon sunny day, light and brightness,” said the designers.

The walls are painted a pale dove grey and the floors are covered in large neutral-toned tiles, creating a backdrop for an ever-changing decoration of tiles as the stock changes. The serving counter positioned under an arch in the centre of the space is clad in the same neutral tiles so as not to distract from the products. “It goes by relatively unnoticed at first glance, which does not bother the owners since the goal was to steer the attention to the tiles on display,” added the brothers.

Long wooden boxes on a table in front of the counter allow customers to flip through tile samples like vinyl in a record box. To one side of the table, a smaller wooden unit displays a section of homeware items and on the wall above tiles balance on three narrow ledges. Towards the back of the shop stands a timber tile-cutting bench with a display unit along its front, while a dark wooden table by a tile wall serves as a consultation area. The brand is part of the Association for the Interpretation of the Industrial Tile, which works in cooperation with Portuguese universities to promote research into the history of tile-making.

Photography by Pedro Sadio

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