Hugo Silva and Joana Santos present DUO for their brand DAM. We’ve asked the designers about this new product, getting to know about their methods and processes.

Designers photograph by André Rocha

What is the essence of DUO?

With a strong geometric character, DUO is a fantastic dialogue between two different types of a natural material – light and dark cork. Its main characteristics are the visual and tactile qualities of the surfaces which makes the seat warm and pleasant. It also helps reduce environmental noise, given the material’s sound absorbing properties, making it perfect for lounges, bars or restaurants.
DUO exists in 5 versions. Each one rise from its two-dimensional pattern of tile becoming into a three-dimensional volume and ending in a circular shape. So, you can alternate between two functions: a square table and a circular stool. Together, the stools create vibrant compositions for the environments and a game of shapes according to the place from where they are observed.

Who is the responsible for the concept?

The design team is composed by Hugo Silva and Joana Santos. All products we develop emerge from a dialogue of ideas between the both Designers. Naturally, each designer is specialized in certain phases of the project and has different experiences and interpretations of each draft. So, the argument for DUO is the sum of these specialties and thoughts.

The exact definition of the concept was not a fixed process. It was being adapted, not only by our ideas but also by perceiving how it could be applied in its materialization.
Hugo: I remember that in the first prototype of DUO, the production team misinterpreted the drawing. As a consequence, a new form appeared which brought new possibilities for the product. With this mistake, we adapted the argument because we liked it.

When did the research started?

In the particular case of DUO, we already had a very extensive research on a theme that we wanted to work on the DAM brand – the tiles. The beauty of the national tiles is admired by everyone who visit Portugal. In our specific research we used the tiles that began to be used in the houses of Porto city from the 19th century. An idea brought by Portuguese emigrants who lived in Brazil. There, they built their houses with tiles on the facades to protect from humidity and increase thermal insulation. In Porto, tiles were mainly an ornament of the facades. This increased the number of tile factories in Porto and Gaia, which started to export the national tiles to Brazil.

This subject that we love has already been approached by us in other projects. For example the interior wall coverings for the Muratto brand, the Pattern Tiles Collection presented in 2016 at the Ambiente Frankfurt fair.

In the case of DUO, we look for graphic elements that could be deconstructed and materialized not in a two-dimensional but three-dimensional model. Thus was born the most fun part of the project – add to the shapes objective utilities such as sitting or dispose things.

How was the product developed and how long did the process take to get to the final product?

The development of a new product for the DAM brand always takes place between 6 months and 1 year. It’s not a quick process, we do not want it to be. Ideas are always born on paper, they undergo successive adjustments in 3D modeling and production and they also must respect resting times. The “resting” of the idea is essential in the project. After a time of maturation, we continue the process. In the specific case of DUO, it has already emerged with the first prototypes. Then, we explored new materials and redefined the graphic patterns to apply in the geometry of the product.

We do not want to create objects with a lack of content and meaning. We want to give to the market something that we believe to be important. We need to feel identified with the product, not only as artifact makers, but also as conscious people that the resources of our planet are limited.

After this cyclical development, the product’ validation is confirmed with the first orders.

What reasons were found to present it?

The reason that guided the DAM brand to present DUO is its constant mission of adding value for the professionals who develop interior projects in the residential sector and Hospitality. This value is given by a single story that accompanies each product. The DUO’s mission is to refer to the memory of the tiles through a set of vibrant geometric shapes. This narrative was combined with cork, a material that identifies our country, which we deconstruct in two different shades, light and dark. What led designers to create DUO was the passion for drawing, for the natural materials and for the manual process, often unpredictable.