We started 2019 in a very special place called Craveiral and already wrote about our farm stay here. There’s one thing that we specially loved about Craveiral: all the furniture and decorations are by Portuguese artists and designers as well as manufacturers. The owners made a very careful and beautiful collection. Mike and I love interior design, so it’s a given that we needed to present you one of the Portuguese brands at Craveiral, Wewood – Portuguese Joinery.
Where does Wewood come from?
Wewood is a Portuguese brand of solid wood furniture founded in 2010, based in Gandra, near Porto. Their products are designed by national and international designers and produced in Portugal. The company was born from the research department of Móveis Carlos Alfredo, manufacturer of furniture in solid wood since 1964. As in many other Portuguese companies in 2008, during the financial crisis, the sales of Móveis Carlos Alfredo began to fall and the founder’s son, Salvador Gonzaga, decided to create a design brand to reach new markets and less explored niches.
It took them some years from the initial idea to the creation of the brand and products. The first collection was presented in 2012 at French fair Maison & Objet in Paris. Until now, the Wewood elements and designs continue to be manufactured in their own factory. They profit from the factory’s 55 years of experience in manufacturing furniture out of solid wood.
Who’s working for Wewood?
At the moment the Wewood family consists of twelve people: CEO, Finance, Logistics, Marketing and Communications, Designers and Sales Managers.
The production is made by Móveis Carlos Alfredo and counts about 90 people. The brand Carlos Afredo has its own furniture collections and does not produce exclusively for Wewood.
What is your biggest challenge in Portugal?
Portugal has never been their target market. Unfortunately, the purchasing power in Portugal is very low and people cannot afford to buy Wewood products nor most of the high-quality design products. The Portuguese market represents less than 2% of the Weewood sales volume.
"We are an international brand, present in more than 54 countries."
– Hugo Ferro, Communication Responsible at Wewood
The fact that they are in Portugal and in this specific area with a long tradition in the manufacture of furniture is an advantage in terms of know-how and production. Their customers recognize the quality of the Wewood products and their design. It’s always difficult to compete with proven Italian and Scandinavian brands and several decades of activity, but Wewood sees this as a challenge and a way of overcoming.
How do they get inspired?
For Wewood, the inspiration for new designs always considers several factors: design, functionality, viability and the commercial side. Each designer gest inspired in a very individual way and foe by many sorts of things as a bridge, a city, an artist, a geometric shape, a pattern. Sometimes they have an idea for a piece and we give a briefing to several designers, other times it is their own design department that decides to create a new piece and sometimes there are designers from outside who come up with pieces that they think make sense to their collection.
Wewood - Portuguese Joinery, has emerged as a platform that brings together several designers, initially only national designers, but currently they collaborate with several international designers (mainly European).
What are the plans for the future?
The big goal is to make the brand grow and increase the turnover. There are no good ideas that survive without sustainability. Lately they have also started to enter into the contract market, with some interesting projects such as Cravairal, Hotel 1908 in Lisbon (which has already won several design awards) or the Calem cellars in Porto. This will be one of the following paths, maintaining, however, the collection itself for the residential market.
Thank you Wewood for sharing their story with us!
More about Wewood:
Pictures © Wewood