Barn again

In ru­ral Alen­tejo, a for­mer farm turns bou­tique art re­treat

Wallpaper - - December - PHO­TOG­RA­PHY: FRAN­CISCO NOGUEIRA WRITER: MARY LUSSIANA

An art-filled bou­tique ho­tel in Por­tu­gal’s ru­ral Alen­tejo

P or­tu­gal’s ru­ral Alen­tejo re­gion, best known for its wide plains punc­tu­ated with white­washed me­dieval hill­top towns and olive groves, is now home to a unique, art-filled bou­tique ho­tel, Dá Li­cença.

It comes cour­tesy of Vic­tor Borges and Franck Laigneau, who met 12 years ago in Paris, where Borges worked as di­rec­tor of tex­tiles and silk at Her­mès, and Laigneau as a gal­lerist. The pair came across the site, a clus­ter of 19th-cen­tury for­mer agri­cul­tural build­ings, while search­ing for a hol­i­day home in Borges’ na­tive Por­tu­gal. Ar­riv­ing as the fierce Alen­te­jano sun set on the sur­round­ing cork, fig and olive trees, they fell in love with the place. No mat­ter that it was too big for a sim­ple pri­vate re­treat; the cou­ple de­cided to up sticks, aban­don­ing their Parisian ex­is­tence in or­der to bring the build­ings back to life.

Once the farm of nuns from a nearby con­vent and later used by an olive oil co­op­er­a­tive, the build­ings were trans­formed and ex­tended by lo­cal ar­chi­tects Pro­cale. The main house now con­tains three guest rooms, while the nearby out­build­ings have been turned into five spa­cious suites, two of them with pri­vate pools. A se­ries of ter­races and two fur­ther swim­ming pools com­plete the project, and of­fer prime spots for stargaz­ing in the dark Alen­tejo night.

Borges and Laigneau de­signed the in­te­ri­ors them­selves, com­ple­ment­ing the dark gran­ite floors with lime­washed walls and hand-carved basins made of the lo­cal pale pink mar­ble. Laigneau’s ex­ten­sive col­lec­tion of art and fur­ni­ture, mostly drawn from the Scan­di­na­vian Jugendstil and Ru­dolf Steiner’s An­thro­po­sophic move­ments, is dot­ted through­out the ho­tel and show­cased in the for­mer olive mill, which is set to open as a restau­rant in spring next year. The eclec­tic se­lec­tion in­cludes pieces such as an an­tique Nor­we­gian wooden cup­board sculpted in bas-re­lief by Lars Kin­sarvik, a metal sculp­ture by con­tem­po­rary Por­tuguese artist Rui Chafes, and a Steiner-in­flu­enced ta­ble by Hans Itel.∂

Dá Li­cença, Outeiro das Freiras, Santo Estêvão, Estremoz, Por­tu­gal, tel: 351.962 950 540, dal­i­cenca.pt. Rates: from €270 per night

THIS PAGE, THE RE­CEP­TION AREA IS DOM­I­NATED BY A 1960S METAL CHIM­NEY, AT­TRIB­UTED TO ITAL­IAN AR­CHI­TECT ICO PARISI. ALSO ON DISPLAY ARE A 1900 FINNISH JUGENDSTIL THRONE (FAR LEFT) AND A PAIR OF MAR­BLE SIDE TABLES DE­SIGNED BY CO-OWNER VIC­TOR BORGES AND CRAFTED BY LO­CAL ARTIST FRANCESCO PLUMA OP­PO­SITE, IN THE ‘MOON CUBE’ GUEST ROOM IS A DAY BED IN THE ANTHROPOSOPHICAL STYLE, BY HEIN­RICH ECKINGER, C.1940; WALL LIGHTS BY PAUL-LOUIS BRINDEAU DE JARNY, C.1910; AN OIL PAINT­ING BY EJNAR NIELSEN, C.1927; AND A PAINTED IRON SCULP­TURE BY RUI CHAFES, NÃO ME LEMBRO DO TEU ROSTO, 2004

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