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The very first collection designed by Made in Situ, the Portuguese publishing house headed by Noé Duchaufour-Lawrance, Barro Negro celebrates an artisanal process dating back to the Neolithic period.

Soenga. A traditional firing technique in which the pottery is buried in the ground. A skill that immediately attracted French designer and architect Noé Duchaufour-Lawrance. Practised in many parts of the world, but particularly in Portugal, this technique was once practised by small groups of potters, often families, who gathered to fire their wares together. Today, this custom has faded, but is still celebrated annually. Every spring, Soenga is celebrated in the village of Molelos. Ceramists and potters gather their wares, which are then pre-fired in the open flames and carefully stacked in a large round hearth, lined with a bed of pine and corn leaves. This mound of pottery is buried with burning pine, then covered with peat, creating a dome with small openings from which the fire is fed. These openings are eventually completely closed, to create a hermetic chamber. The clay, lacking oxygen, absorbs the carbon. Once the kiln is open, Barro Negro is revealed.

Research into black ceramics in Portugal led Noé and his team to meet Xana Monteiro and Carlos Lima de Barraca dos Oleiros. Both are master ceramists who cultivate a deep respect and love for their craft. 

The result is a collection of four sets of twelve vases. They are presented as metaphors, representations of the bonds felt during Noé’s first experience in a Soenga community. Each piece is unique in its expression and form, and recalls the silhouette of individual characters joining hands, gathering in circles. The vases are complemented by four lighting fixtures. They embody the landscape of the Serra do Caramulo and its granite boulders, which reminded Noé of his childhood in Brittany. The designer sculpted pieces that conveyed the feel of these massive rocks, in their juxtaposition and presence. Finally, perfume diffusers, taking the form of spheres set on granite mountain discs. These are born of material and atmospheric sensations. “They are an ode to the process and place of cooking, the sensory synthesis of Barro Negro. »

Lisa Agostini