The architectural designers at Filipao Nunes play with light, colour, shadow and texture to stimulate the senses and bring buildings alive
“We design for people, to awaken their feelings and emotions while always taking care of form and function,” says Filipao Nunes, Interior Designer and founder of the company that bears his name. “I believe that identifying with our surroundings and engaging with respect gives a unique sense of belonging.”
Filipao set up his company in 2016 in Monterrey, Mexico, having trained in his native Portugal, then in Spain and Denmark. Mexico’s culture and history were significant for Filipao’s creativity. Working there was at once a challenge and an advantage. He not only had to adapt to a different architectural language, but also a different architectural training, coming from the Portuguese and Spanish traditions where “rationalism and architectural purism are predominant”. Filipao’s status as a foreigner, on the other hand, keeps his curiosity constantly awake. “Curiosity is an important and fundamental part of evolution, as it involves questioning and not taking anything for granted,” he says.
Today, Filipao maintains a multidisciplinary studio, which he considers an extension of his home. Filipao, his team of over 50 young talents and his family “share a common vision, that of creating sensory experiences in everything we design”.
The studio’s primary focus is hospitality and hotel design. Recently, it has expanded its portfolio to include large-scale housing projects, all of which reflect Filipao’s ethos of creating “sensory” architecture in which residents can “live, feel and breathe”. However, hotel, hospitality and restaurant design is where Filipao Nunes is internationally recognised. “Restaurants are places that allow us to create deep sensory experiences, as in each of our projects,” says Filipao. Examples of this include Ilios Cancun, winner of more than 14 global awards, including the Restaurant & Bar Design Awards 2021, and Ilios Tulum, which won The Americas category at Design et Al’s Hotel & Property Awards 2021. A design response to Mayan and Greek culture, the latter mixes modernity with natural greenery, which once dominated the site. “Just as it has happened throughout history, we aimed for nature and vegetation to reclaim the space, imbuing it with colours, textures and shadows that give a unique personality to the architecture.”
Filipao Nunes plans to extend its operations, in Europe, the US and the Caribbean, matching the global reach of its founding vision: “If your dreams don’t scare you, they’re not big enough.”