Vase Public Installation

Merit Award 2014

Located in northern Portugal, the Municipality of Paredes has been framing itself in the context of creative cities, finding an engine for development and sustainable growth through talent and creativity. Its history and industrial capacity, in particular the furniture sector (representing 61% of national production), are key factors in Paredes being recognized as a creative center.

Artur Fontinha’s public seating structure, Vase, was designed to support these aspirations. A student in the University of Oporto Faculty of Fine Arts, Master Program in Art and Design for the Public Space, Fontinha designed Vase to be a landmark in the public space, engaging citizens with its playful use of scale, symbology, and the appropriation of a public tree.

With Vase, Fontinha also wanted to increase awareness of the deforestation caused by the use of non-certified forest products, the importance of sustainable forest policies, and the socio-environmental responsibility that these represent to assure a sustainable future for our forests.

Made of certified plywood suitable for exterior use, the Vase was created through a handcraft process that took 120 hours to produce all of its 750 pieces. Stainless steel cables with lockers secure the structure. It seats five people. Fontinha’s design considered factors such as ergonomics, proportion, material, modularity, and optimized production methods.

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Jury Comments: 

“This project brings humans and nature together in a surprising, whimsical way and at the same time, celebrates the importance of trees in the urban environment. We also like how this project plays with scale.”

Design Firm: 

Artur Fontinha


Municipality of Paredes, Portugal

Location City: 

Paredes, Portugal

Project Area: 

100 sq ft

Open Date: 

June 2014

Project Budget: 


Photo Credits: 

Artur Fontinha

Design Team: 

Artur Fontinha (University of Oporto Faculty of Fine Arts, Master Program in Art and Design for the Public Space)


Schréder Iluminação, S.A. (lighting) 


GLOBALDIS (plywood), Rocha & Leitão, Lda. (ironmongery), Artur Fontinha (manufacturer), Faculty of the Fine Arts of the University of Oporto, Municipality of Paredes (transportation and on-site installation) 

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