Like all the good fairy tales, Burel Factory has a story that combines amazing landscapes, surprising turning points, passionate characters and, of course, love. It all started in 2006 when Isabel Dias da Costa and João Tomás, two Portuguese amateur hikers, both with successful careers in Lisbon fell in love with the breathtaking scenery of Penhas Douradas and decided they would no longer leave this place. They left their jobs in the city and embraced the tranquility and peace of Penhas Douradas.
They loved the stories, the knowledge and the art crafts of the region and were sure they could help to develop these rural industries with a little bit of innovation. That’s when they created “Saberes e Fazeres da Vila”, which can be translated to Village’s Knowledge and Creations – a company born in 2010, with the purpose of giving a new life to traditions and a new chance to all those people who had so much to teach and had lost their jobs on the fabric factories that had always been part of this region.
Burel, a traditional fabric used in the Center of Portugal to make the shepherds capes, was the starting point of Burel Penhas Douradas Factory. Shepherds used to wear it thanks to its high resistance and durability – characteristics that come from the way in which it’s made: the wool is washed, spun, and then woven into a fabric which is then pounded and scalded, making it more compact and resistant.
They hired the artisans who knew how to make this incredibly resistant, warm and comfortable fabric – and then, they invited young Portuguese designers to conceive modern pieces with it. Amazing talented people like Sara Lamúrias, Rute Gomes, Rui Grazina, Gonçalo Campos, Sofia Machado, João Paulo Assunção and Zero Kilocalorias atelier, created surprising Burel pieces, full of color and with a contemporary look, invading the houses, offices and wardrobes with their fresh design.
Besides those, Burel Factory also produces its own line, imagined by Isabel Dias da Costa, which includes 37 colors and an interesting diversity of textures/stitches linked to the Portuguese tradition and culture, applied in rugs, cushions, couvre-pieds, stools, bags, backpacks and other products.
In 2012, Burel Factory opened a store “Loja da Burel”, in the center of Lisbon – Chiado, taking the knowledge and creations of the mountain to the city. And in 2015, the brand opened its store in Oporto. In these shops, in Casa das Penhas Douradas and in Casa de São Lourenço, Burel Factory can bring to light and share near the general public and consumers the value of this Portuguese fabric, the origins of the products, its designers and production processes, contributing to recognize and spreading excellence in a forgotten sector, opening prospects for a new product and new horizons.