Graça Viterbo – A Designer Ahead of Her Time

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Graça Viterbo is a good example of a visionary woman ahead of her time. She was the creator of Viterbo Interior Design all the way back in in 1979, an interior design legacy which continues its track today with the daughter of the founder, Gracinha Viterbo taking up her mother’s mantle.

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At Viterbo, their story is told by each Viterbo project tells for itself. Founded in 1971 in Portugal and formerly known as Atelier Graça Viterbo, Viterbo Interior Design is definitely seen today as an inescapable brand of international reference with a clear mission on its record: the creation of lifestyles through the professionalisation of art.

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This company, which has been operating in the market through a long career of over 40 years, is distinguished nationally and internationally by its unique genre, which reflects lifestyles as unique as those that define the challenge of each project as well as the personality of each client. This is a good example of a company that successfully manages to anticipate trends and combines them with an irreverence of unusual materials combined with the work of many experienced craftsmen along with a specialised and multifaceted team.

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“For me, the person who chooses Viterbo definitely knows what he is picking. Our clients definitely know what we have always done, how we did it and what the end result is: high quality, great refinement and much knowledge.”

The prestige of Viterbo is recognised worldwide by the media and by the press, deserving the most praiseworthy references and awards. What is even more special about the prestige of Viterbo? The fact that it is a family business run by both mother and daughter: the founder, Graça Viterbo, and her daughter, Gracinha Viterbo, who has been the creative director of the studio since 2008.

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“Each time you venture, you end up creating a style of your own. In order to create one has to create oneself first.”

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Graça Viterbo’s career started all the way back in the 40s as soon as she completed the Decorative Arts Course at Fundação Ricardo Espírito Santo Silva (1964-1966) and in Interior Design at the Inchbald School of Design. Ever since the year of 1973, Graça Viterbo’s name became a huge reference regarding Interior Design, in Portugal and abroad.

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She led the Viterbo Office between 1979 and 2008 has been responsible for several iconic projects that received countless international distinctions. She has defined her own style as being a classical style with a touch of renovation from modern trends.

Looking back at her career she thought about the most challenging steps of her career, more specifically the time when she began to receive tasks of great responsibility. As a matter of fact, Graça Viterbo is the type of person who looks back at the past century in Portugal and she definitely feels that the changes from the 20th to the 21st century are well present.

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She looks back at a time in which establishments such as hotels, shops, restaurants, bars, exhibitions, courses, and associations were seen by the people of that time period as totally new ideas unlike what they were used to. The concept of luxury lifestyle as we know it today barely existed in those days and Graça is one of the main testimonies to testify on that. 

“In 50 years, there were many dreams I had. There were also many of those dreams that I actually managed to execute and perform.”

Her legacy has since then been carried out by her daughter Gracinha Viterbo, the current partner/project and creative director. Gracinha has been managing to create her own legacy through her own vocation and also the influences of her Mother. She has even worked alongside one of the teams of famed British Interior Designer Kelly Hoppen.

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Gracinha is a chameleonic type of designer who creates unique and inimitable ambiences reflective of stories, experiences and memories that manage to leave a mark as unique as the identity of each client. As a matter of fact, Gracinha Viterbo chooses her own daughter as her idol for the present and the future.

“Not an Inspiration, but a lot of Inspirations …. they are all around us.”

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From Graça Viterbo’s perspective, it is very important that in order for a change to happen certain principles and rules are kept, that a certain balance must always present in every project. She also believes that there are two main searches that must continue: the search for the beautiful even if it means looking for the bizarre, and the search for comfort even within minimalism. Above all, Garça Viterbo urges the search for talented interior designers as an action that must continue always.

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