Add Fuel was invited by Estrela Town Hall in Lisbon to complete the prestigious Infante Santo Avenue Azulejo Route. Walk along the Azulejo Route, and as its name suggests, you will find a series of large decorative murals covered in the traditional Portuguese tile. The walls, with frontal staircases, link five large housing blocks on the Infante Santo Avenue. They were decorated in 1959 following a renewed interest in architectural tiles.
The renowned Portuguese artists invited to decorate the four staircase panels (1959) were Maria Keil, Carlos Botelho, Júlio Pomar and Alice Jorge, and Sá Nogueira, all artwork linked by the Portuguese culture and the relationship with the sea. The tile route extended in 1994 with artist Eduardo Nery decorating an extra stairway added onto the original development, and also in 2001 where he brought a tile rainbow to the underpass system.
There was one stairway left untouched and Estrela Town Hall, partnered with National Azulejo Museum, to invite urban artist Diogo Machado, aka Add Fuel to finally complete the Infante Santo Avenue Azulejo Route.
Add Fuel is known for reinterpreting the Azulejo tile and selected key patterns and compositions from the street’s existing Azulejos, as an homage to the previous Portugese masters before him.
Add Fuel pays homage to Maria Keil, one of the most important Portuguese artists of the 20th century. Her panel ‘O Mar’ (The Sea) with its flickering diagonals can been seen as an influence in Add Fuels mural, also sharing similar composition with the panel of Carlos Botelho, and the orange shadow reflecting irregular wall of Eduardo Nery.
Sa Nogueira’s panel is more conventional and illustrative, you can see ropes and waves that Add Fuel has incorpricated into his designs, and the clean irregular bands like Júlio Pomar and Alice Jorge’s mural.
“Within this controlled chaos, I created a dynamic composition, with elements based on Estrela neighbourhood’s history; a place of long forgotten fishermen with a deep connection to the sea. I believe these elements will work out to have the necessary strength this tribute deserves.” Add Fuel
This huge 200 sqm project, curated by Mistaker Maker, was possible due to the partnership created with Portuguese ceramic company Revigés, with 40 years of activity.
The Azulejo Route is now finished, and Infante Santo Avenue finally has the six staircases decorated with Azulejo tiles spanning over the years, contributing to the beautification of one of the busiest avenues in Lisbon.
The mural is called “Louvor da Vivacidade/ Praise to a Living City”.
The Azulejo tile has been an important medium for Portuguese artistic expression for more than five hundred years, and its life line continues with artist Add Fuel who cleverly reinterprets the Azulejo for the 21st Century.