The reclassification project for the Vista Alegre site in Ílhavo, which is a finalist for the 2018 edition of the RegioStars European awards, seeks to ensure the preservation of the identity of that porcelain company and strengthen the brand in the world.
The project has as an anchor the expansion and requalification of the Vista Alegre Museum, but this was only a first step in a requalification of the place of Vista Alegre, in Ílhavo, where the factory was founded in 1824.
With the support of European funds, the group invested € 44 million to “rejuvenate” the place by giving new life to the chapel and theater, modernizing the factory and reconverting the former palace of the place into a five-star hotel.
The intervention of the oldest porcelain company in the country is among the finalists of the RegioStars 2018 awards, an award with which the European Commission distinguishes innovative projects and good practices of regional development, supported by European funds. The winner will be announced on Tuesday at a ceremony to be held in Brussels, where the European Week of Regions and Cities is taking place.
“We used to say that we are not a factory, with a few shacks and some machines. We are a factory with a soul that puts its DNA in each one of the pieces,” Vista Alegre administrator Paulo Soares told Lusa news agency.
In this sense, the requalification project of the whole place where Vista Alegre was born seeks to follow the vision of its founder, José Ferreira Pinto Basto, who “always had a concern in the social part”, which offered daycare, theater and a club of football for the workers.
“It’s a factory that, when you go outside, you can not imagine that inside is a factory of reference worldwide in terms of technology,” said Paulo Soares.
According to the official, the requalification project seeks to continue this brand of the company, maintaining “the cultural identity that Vista Alegre has and does not want to lose.”
“It is the maintenance of the spirit of Vista Alegre and not a distortion, to resort to a simpler intervention and move to an industrial unit made from scratch,” he said.
For Paulo Soares, this identity also contributes to “the worldwide recognition of the brand”, as well as for the use of the industrial heritage as a tourist asset in the region.
“We have received thousands of visitors and many of them later become consumers,” he said, noting that the museum was re-created to explain the plant’s evolution over its 200-year history, as well as changing world trends. design.
Regarding the presence in the group of finalists of the RegioStars awards, Paulo Soares points out that this appointment gives Vista Alegre the possibility of remaining and looking forward to a future with a further 200 years to go.
“We are very proud to be part of this story.”
Portugal has four projects among the 21 RegioStars finalists, two from the North and two from the Center.
The i3S – Institute for Research and Innovation in Health and the Business and Shared Services Center of Fundão compete in the category of support for the intelligent industrial transition, the Kastelo project in the area of better access to public services and the Museum of Vista Alegre in the category of investment in cultural heritage.
Portugal is also represented in the international project ClimACT, a consortium of nine European institutions led by Instituto Superior Técnico, in Lisbon, which aims to support the transition to a low-carbon economy in national schools, but also in Spain, France and Gibraltar.