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In Profile: Às Duas por Três

Designer in Profile: Às Duas por Três

Às Duas por Três have been shortlisted for Hotel Design – Europe Award and Lobby/Public Areas – Europe Award in The International Hotel & Property Awards 2023. Read more about CEO/ Creative Directors Inês Cesteiro and Sónia Rodrigues, below:

Name: Inês Cesteiro and Sónia Rodrigues

Company: Às Duas por Três

Position within company: CEO’S and Creative Directors

Website: Às Duas por Três

Tell us a little about your background in design (education, experience, etc):

Inês Cesteiro has a degree in Interior Design, taken in Fundação Espírito Santo e Silva – E.S.A.D., in Lisbon, and a BA in furniture design, in the same institution.

From a tender age, she showed the ability to be a team leader and a project manager, with a special ability to develop personal bonds. Her biggest skill is to generate emotions that create trends. In 1998, Inês started working in the interior design field, and from the year 2000, she worked as a team leader and project manager of various design studios. It was at that phase of her career path that she consolidated the passion that she already had for the field, dealing with every stage of a project as a whole.

Sónia Rodrigues completed, in Fundação Espírito Santo e Silva – I.A.O. a decorative painting course. She also attended the Interior Design course in Fundação Ricardo Espírito Santo e Silva- E.S.A.D., in Lisbon.

Sónia has a special ability for the different details of every creation, because it is in them that lie the identity and differentiation of each project. Since the year of 2000 she manages and develops decorative painting projects, interior design projects, event management and shop window design projects with various studios.

The career paths of Inês Cesteiro and Sónia Rodrigues, that had already crossed paths various times, ended up coming together at last in 2008, with the biggest challenge of all: the foundation of Às Duas por Três.

The spirit that was in the basis of the dream of opening an own business is the same spirit that we carry until today, with each project that we embrace. Each cliente has its own dream and each project is that dream under construction. Functionality, aesthetics and comfort, so that each space becomes unique, are the key values that follow the development of every concept and environment, so that the final result has a unique and timeless character.

How would you describe your personal design style?
We create and develop concepts and projects, with creativity, always thinking about the client, developing unique, emblematic and seductive spaces.We have comfort and well-being at the centre of our worries, combining aesthetic, function and design. We consider our style to be contemporary, but we always make the effort, when possible, to recover the history of the spaces, since it carries its own identity. That history often allows us to add small details that offer the space a unique identity, creating memories that evoke emotions.

Where does your design inspiration come from?

Our inspiration is daily and it comes from everything our senses capture. Here, is where the client and its dreams take a main role, since it’s for the client that we create. In that regard, all details are important in the creative process. From nature and its organic shapes, movements, new materials, everything reflects in an imagination with no limits. We are always aware of everything that is going on in the world, from fashion, photography, architecture, to design. In a world in constant change, we have our focus in the constant change of human needs and demands, since they reflect in the conception of spaces.

For a creative mind, inspiration is the reflection of a healthy mind, therefore a sunset, its wonderful colours or the simple movement or a tree, can be the start of an idea.

In what direction do you feel that design is moving towards in a general sense?

Design is facing new challenges, in a global era in constant and fast change. The future goes through an authentic design, commited to environmental, social and economic sustainability, developing new products/spaces, simple and intuitive, adapted to the new lifestyle and consumer demands. We think the Redesign movement is still the future, in combination with ecodesign, reinventing and focusing on new ways of thinking and a contribution to a more sustainable world.

This whole context makes the designers work more demanding and intense in the search for new solutions.

Name five key themes to consider when approaching design in 2023 and beyond.

– Sustainable EcoDesign
– Function/form
– Design adapted to the current needs
– Technology adapted to function and aesthetics
– Metamorphosis between past and presend, preverving ancient techniques combining them with present design

If you could offer one piece of advice when it comes to design schemes, what would it be?
Less is more.

How important are The International Hotel & Property Awards? The International Hotel & Property Awards represents excellence and it values projects that stood out in a vast and very competitive market. For us, this nomination is a great honor, a prestige and a milestone in our careers, that we face with pride and the same sense of responsability, since we started our company.

What projects are you currently working on?
Restaurants, Hotels, a nightclub and residential spaces.

What was your favourite project to work on and why?

Nicola Rossio Hotel, for its historical load and the location, in one of the most important and emblematic plazas in Lisbon, sharing walls with Nicola Café, one of the most visited spaces by tourists.

Since it is a bulding that follows a Pombaline style, a portuguese architectural style, it had many challenges to take in consideration and to overcome.

The entire concept was thought about and developed by our studio, from the colours, textures, materials, signage as well a the conception and design of all furniture. Almost everything was custom designed, since all rooms in the hotel had different dimensions and layouts, so we had to adapt each to the developed concept.

The biggest challenge for this project was the fact that it was all developed during the Covid-19 pandemic, what also made it even more special: a hotel filled with history, thought and conceived in a very unique moment for humanity. For that, it will forever stay in our memory.

What was your most challenging project to work on and why?

The Love Tiles showroom in Lisbon, in the year of 2016.

LoveTiles is a ceramics brand that every year renews its showroom, inviting designers/architects to develop the space for the launch of the new ceramics collection.
In 2016, our studio was invited for that year’s renovation, and it was a massive challenge to develop a residential concept where the ceramic was the star of the space. Thus demystifying the idea that ceramic is a cold and uncomfortable material. It is possible to transform spaces with this material providing comfort, aesthetics and design.
The biggest challenge for this project was to presente the new collections, all different from each other, combining them with previous collections, always making sure that the products being launched would stand out, without losing the harmony and aesthetics of the space.

By creating and thinking about those spaces, we developed new inspirational solutions of how to apply those new ceramics in residential, hospitality and commercial spaces.

Which products/services could you not live without when designing? A blank paper and a pen. The beginning of everything.

What are your aims and goals for the next twelve months?
Developing, in a conscious and sustainable way, the ongoing projects, fulfilling the proposed goals, and aiming for the final product to create emotions. Embracing new challenges and concepts, with the same enthusiasm as always.

Final thoughts; tell us a little more about yourself and your daily inspirations:

Art, design and everything that involves those fields have always amazed us and led us to develop a great passion for interior design, always in the search for new knowledge and information that can help us grow professionally and personally .

We love smells, colours, the feeling of the wind in our faces and sea water on our feet. All that is freedom of movement to feel and absorb the natural elements that the world has to offer us. Those are the moments that reflect creativity and are important in life and balance.
Live today like there is no tomorrow, feel the moments like there are no others, because we are only passing by.

Your most treasured possession?
My kids.

Your favourite holiday destination?
The Vicentine coast, Portugal.

Your favourite hotel, restaurant & bar?

Hotel: Areias do Seixo, Povoa de Penafirme, Torres Vedras, Portugal Restaurant: Azenha do mar . Odemira . Portugal
Bar: The old Pier by Zarca, Vila Nova de Mil Fontes, Portugal

Your favourite book, film & song?  

Book: The Unbearable Lightness of Being . Milan Kundera Film: Black Cat, White Cat . Emir Kusturika
Song: Crash in to me, Dave Matthes Band

Your favourite food and drink?

Food: Vegetarian Chili

Drink: Gin Tonic

Your favourite way to spend an afternoon?

By the sea reading a book.

If you weren’t a designer, what would you be?

… Designer

Anything else interesting?

All fields connected to art and culture are áreas of interest for us, highliting painting and photography.

design et al only work with the world’s leading companies in the Design & Architecture industry.

If you think you have what it takes to compete in The International Design & Architecture Awards, submit your application by clicking here.

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