José Avillez Restaurant, Chiado
Architecture / Interior Design

Canto, located in the old Belcanto in Chiado, highlights the connection between the tongue (sense of taste) and the ear (sense of sound), enriching the gastronomical experience with live music. This space is a project of Chef José Avillez with the musicians Ana Moura and António Zambujo. The rich history of the old Belcanto, a classic Gentleman’s Club, serves as a point of departure, and we weave an implicit narrative of mystery, romance and intimacy in the warm, secretive embraces of well-placed shadows. Dark wood, curtains, velvet-lined benches and chairs, wood panels, lush wallpapers and integrated furniture create this adventurous play of discretion and revelation, privacy and performance. In this space, the audience and musicians get cozy together as the dining room merges with the stage and bar. The space is cohesive, yet each zone is distinct, and transitions among them create a sense of dynamism and variety. (Things are never boring at Canto.) Our intervention extends even into the artists’ dressing room, lined with feathers, encased in vintage wood paneling, and plushed with velvet. Rich walnut comes to life with hand-painted patterns. Curious eyes will discover surprises like a cabinet of curiosities, a hallmark of artist Joana Astolfi’s work, embracing the space in a curved gesture and climbing up to the ceiling, coquettishly offering up objects from the worlds of music and gastronomy (some of which evoke intimate personal memories of Chef Avillez, Ana Moura and António Zambujo themselves).

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