Interior Design of the Social Areas of the Consulate General of Portugal in San Francisco

Interior Design of the Social Areas of the Consulate General of Portugal in San Francisco

In 2023, SUSDESIGN was contracted to renovate the interiors of the General Consulate of Portugal in San Francisco. The project was completed later in the year and the Consulate hosted an opening event during the San Francisco Design Week.


This project involved renovating the public spaces of the Consulate General of Portugal in San Francisco, in order to transform them into a more authentic, modern, and welcoming environment. The State of California is home to the largest Portuguese population within the United States (with the majority coming from Azores and employed in the cattle industry). As such, the Consul General commissioned a project that could reflect a more modern and dynamic Portugal, replacing the existing bland, generic furniture and furnishings that previously occupied the spaces.




SUSDESIGN proposed an intervention that integrated Portuguese designers, sustainable materials, Portuguese tiles, and leftovers from the Portuguese Presidency of the Council of the European Union's (PPUE21) lounges - namely the carpets (originally made from nylon recycled from end-of-life fishermen's nets) and the Forest Chair. The main theme of the project was the similarities between the two geographies of Portugal and California - the light, the climate, and the connection to the ocean, while also acknowledging the Iberian peoples that had called both geographies home for centuries.




The overall idea of the intervention was to complement the traditional wooden interior claddings of the walls of the consulate (which created a warm but dark atmosphere) with bright colors through the use of the bright blue carpets of the Presidency and a lighter colored material pallete.


Entry Hall

The entry hall of the consulate, located at the heart of the building, was designed to be free from clutter, allowing for it to function as a greeting space as well as a non-obstructed passage area to access the various parts of the house (including the living room and dining room). A natural cork Quercus Suber table, with the Consul's artwork and books on cork, San Francisco, and Portugal was placed for guests - contrasting with the dark wood cladding of the room. A deep-blue circular carpet, upcycled from the carpets of the Presidency, was placed at the center to add some color to the wood-cladded environment. For the exhibition for the San Francisco Art Week, the Forest Chair and two 'Lagarta' expanded cork stools were placed on the circular carpet.


Reception Room

The reception room was the main area of intervention, integrating two "islands" which were framed with the use of gradient blue carpets, again, upcycled from the original carpets of the PPUE21. The room's fireplace, which originally integrated bland white tiles, was covered with a dark cork cladding. The bookshelves were also covered with cork to create a more clean, uniform look. Tile artwork from ADD FUEL, were placed above the fireplace / bookshelf / storage unit, while a strong LED light bar hidden along its top provided additional lighting during the evenings. 


One of these 'islands' integrated a more formal theme, placed in front of the room's fireplace, with the use of Branca Lisboa Sofo couches and Corqui lounge chairs. A Patria Lusa Cascais coffee table, which integrates traditional Portuguese tiles, aesthetically and functionally supported the seating group. Several Lagarta stools were also placed around the space to provide support in the form of both seating and as a surface to place things on. Four ceramic sardines from Bordallo Pinheiro, decorated with different sea / ocean graphics were selected to complete the seating group, as well as a Corque lamp to provide ambient lighting.


The second 'island' maintained a more cozy, informal theme, integrating a large leather couch (one of the Consul General's personal furniture), two Corqui lounge chairs, and one of the original Forest Chairs from the PPUE21. Two Dot Puffs - one in natural cork and one dyed blue - were placed in the center to provide additional seating. A Lagarta stool was also included to provide seating or serve as a coffee table. The furniture was flanked by two Corque lamps to provide ambient light, and three rainbow colored 'Diversity Andorinhas' ceramic swallows from Bordallo Pinheiro were placed on the wall behind the seating group.


Dining Room

The original table and chairs in the dining room were maintained, as they were in good condition, and to decrease waste and keep costs low. The existing carpet was replaced with one of the PPUE21 carpets, and the cushions of the chairs were covered with natural cork - which provided a contrast with the dark wood cladding. The fireplace was also covered with dark cork to complete the look of the room and to provide coherence with the rest of the house. A Patria Lusa Tavira coffee table was included to support the room as a surface in addition to the dining table.


Project Details
Client: MNE
Local: San Francisco
Year: 2023
Team: Ana Mestre; Rasim Can Savaskan