Two Times


R2 Design

Practice Area


Ermida Nossa Senhora da Conceição


Project Vision

Dois Tempos (Two Times) is the second in a series of typographical installations produced by R2 Design in the old Hermitage of Nossa Senhora da Conceição, in Belém (Lisbon), now in use as an art gallery.

With the goal of attracting new customers to the gallery, R2 developed a project that could also be integrated in ExperimentaDesign Lisboa 2009, an international design biennial. The biennial theme was “It’s about Time.”

With six months to design and produce the project, R2 developed the concept, designed the typography, researched materials, and implemented the installation. They chose Intasa MDF hydrofuge sheets and fluorescent paint to create a dimensional typographic statement that reflects on time and the current state of affairs.

Using headlines plucked from the pages of international newspapers such as the Diário de Notícias, Jornal de Notícias, The Guardian, Le Fígaro, and The New York Times, the installation humorously relates the social, religious, political, economic, and technological themes of our times. The text includes such nonsensical headlines such as “Suspicious paper bag closes Metro for two hours” (in Diário de Notícias, May 7, 2009), “World’s oldest woman dies happy” (in Jornal de Notícias, January 3, 2009), and “Church recommends seven days of sex” (in Jornal de Notícias, November 25, 2008).

Countering the ephemeral and two-dimensional nature of the original means of communication (newspaper), the content is re-presented at street level, with variable luminosity and volume, on the building’s facade. The project may be seen on a 24-hour basis, but with distinct appearances at day and night. At night, the facade is transformed into a huge light-box where the text is progressively separated from the background by increasing its contrast and legibility. The properties of the ink used make it possible to emit light of varying intensity that slowly fades over time.

With the aid of a flashlight, it is possible to intervene in the installation, leaving a provisional and individual record.

Project Details
Big impact in a small, narrow space. This exhibit draws visitors in to discover more, and is a perfect blend of old and new. The old church’s decorative classical pediment contrasts with the bold three-dimensional letterforms both visually and conceptually. The ‘glow-in-the-dark’ feature invites the child in all of us to interact by contributing our thoughts (if only temporarily) with a flashlight. Picasso, watch out!
Juror 1
Design Team

Lizá Ramalho, Artur Rebelo (art directors/designers)

Design Firm

R2 Design


Feitos e Efeitos (fabrication), Maria Sousa, Sofia Guedes (production)