Artisan of beauty made in algarve

Katia COELHO - Founder of Casa Bohemia Algarve and SUPERBO*

Par Marie Puzenat

Our path crossed Katia's in Lisbon and we immediately felt linked by our common desires and values. 

When she arrived in Portugal 7 years ago, Katia founded Casa Bohemia Algarve, a craft house whose mission is to promote the beautiful and well-made in Portugal. 

She tells us all about it. 

Katia and Aureliano, founders of Casa Bohemia Algarve

Who is Katia?

I am a French immigrant in Portugal, a Parisian born to Portuguese immigrant parents. That says it all, doesn't it?

I grew up in the 9th arrondissement of Paris, where I was born, and I worked there for a long time as a fashion journalist. And then one day, I felt like something else, calm, quality of life and kindness... 

I went to live in Lisbon, which I have loved deeply since I was 17. It's difficult to explain but Lisbon has something special, a charisma of its own, a particular sincerity... I'm convinced that you need to have some Portuguese blood in your veins to feel it fully! This Portuguese being is indefinable, it's a connection, a feeling shared by a whole people. At no time did I regret leaving Paris for Lisbon.

Can you introduce Casa Bohemia Algarve?

Casa Bohemia Algarve is the result of our view on life.

Bohemia is very important to me and defines me. I am an anti-conformist who is interested in everything without judgement. I sometimes have prejudices (in spite of myself) but I quickly put them out of my mind. Freedom is probably the notion I cherish most in life and it embodies for me this bohemian life.

Casa Bohemia Algarve is about a rhythm of life that is above all about expression and the creation of simple things, stripped of the superfluous.

But it is also the Algarve, the "country" of our roots, much more than postcard beaches.

We are very attached to this region and naturally wanted to include it in our project. 

The Algarve, like Portugal as a whole, has fantastic ancestral know-how and exceptional craftsmen who deserve the spotlight. And the people of the Algarve are our family... It's a song, an intonation, a simplicity, an invitation... The Algarvios are whole and generous.

I was lucky enough to inherit my grandmother's house, the one my mother grew up in, and our wish is to succeed in restoring it so that it becomes an open house, a boutique workshop. 

Today we are focused on our candles but our projects are prolific... And our only obstacle, for the moment, is the lack of time... 

Katia, Salvador with cushions and a rug from Saudade

Why a Saudade rug?

Because they are beautiful, very beautiful, and because they make sense... Something I have missed enormously in my (too) many years of fashion! And then behind the Saudade philosophy, which I support 100%, there is my meeting with Christelle.

Our paths are quite parallel, not identical, but parallel...

We share this famous sincere and generous Portugality, undeniably linked to our personal histories and our origins.

Saudade is much more than decoration, it is a look at the world and the preservation of what is beautiful. You're buying a whole story nestled in a rug!

Your rug flies away, where does it take you ? 

To the Algarve, in the heart of the Ria Formosa. It's a beautiful, surreal place, very protected and long underestimated.

It has nothing to envy the Pacific or Indian Oceans: lagoons, endless blue and deserted white sandbanks

Katia's workshop

And when he takes you home, what do you long for? 

I love being at home and I feel good there. 

I'm always happy to find my comfortable, lively (sometimes messy!) home and my books: I have them everywhere, they are essential.

If your rug could talk, what would it tell us about its new family? 

That he was peed on this morning (laughs), a friend's baby dog! 

On a more serious note, I think he has found his place. Everyone loves him. He's sweet and he belongs. It's true, isn't it? With the table, the big books and my stones brought back from the Algarvias beaches, he's fine here.

What is your definition of beauty ? 

Beauty is suggestive, it's the way you approach things that makes them beautiful. 

For me, beauty is a matter of perception and of looking, it's a way of seeing and of looking.

I find everything beautiful, or rather I see beauty where I probably wouldn't have seen it before.

The older I get, the more contemplative I am: I am enchanted by nothing. In the street, I stop to look at the grasses that are taking over, I am overwhelmed by the colours of the sky and its shades of pink in the Algarve above the sea. No matter how hard I try to capture it in pictures, nothing works... It's never as beautiful as in real life!

Albertina na Serra, Eduardo Pinto 

Your last moment of wonder?

A photo exhibition in Loulé. The portraits of people by Eduardo Pinto resonated with me and touched me deeply! I bought an original photo for my office.

Who inspires you ? 

Someone who inspires me is someone who makes me think. Among the people who inspire me there are : 

Romain Gary, for the way he looked at life, he was a hundred years ahead of his time.

There is also Isabelle Adjani, who is sometimes called "crazy". This woman has fascinated me since I was 7 years old and continues to fascinate me. Beyond her beauty, I love her commitment, her courage and her deep sensitivity. Not to mention her talent! An incarnation of beauty....

And finally there is my aunt Julia and her brother, my father José Joachim. Portuguese, born respectively in 1920 and 1931, they were free beings. She studied fine arts and became a painter, my father gave me a taste for freedom, justice and independence.

At Saudade we believe that everyone, object as well as human, has the right to a second life. In yours, what will you do?

I am lucky to have had several lives, many rich and full lives. Gratitude is a feeling that often overwhelms me! When my daughters are independent, I will write a book and spend more time in the Algarve with Aureliano and our dog Salvador. 

What is your definition of Saudade? 

A sadness that feels good...

Find Katia at Casa Bohemia Algarve and SUPERBO

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