A Loja da Burel
There is more to say about this incredible project than what can fit in a small text. Saberes e Fazeres da Vila, the project behind A Loja da Burel has become an example of social entrepreneurial success. They have revived the traditional wool industry in Manteigas, relieving the region from unemployment by collaborating with Portuguese designers, to create new products made of Burel, the most traditional type of wool fabric from Portugal. They have grown, gained visibility and are now admired worldwide by individual customers and corporate giants alike. One of their latest clients was Microsoft, who used Burel to decorate the walls of their Portuguese headquarters.
Here are their words:
Saberes e Fazeres da Vila: the “knowing” and “doing” of the Village. We are a Portuguese company with a dynamic and innovative approach to our national heritage. Our aim is to bring to light some of our hidden treasures, adding to them new life and value.
Our journey begins in Manteigas, a small town in the mountainous region of Serra da Estrela in central Portugal. Here, we seek to draw on:
* The Human Potential: by giving employment to the people who live in this area, many of whom lost their jobs with the closing down of factories, mainly textile, which have always been the predominant industry of this region;
* The Potential in Resources: by making use of the diversity of plants that are unique in this region, and the wool textile known as burel, traditionally used to make winter capes used by shepherds;
* Local Knowledge: As the only high altitude mountain range of Portugal, the Serra da Estrela has many unique features, including its climate and biodiversity. Local knowledge mirrors this uniqueness, with distinctive solutions to a rare environment. We wish to preserve this knowledge and wisdom.
Burel, one of the most traditional wool products of the Serra da Estrela, is a highly resistant, compact and warm material that has been developed to perfectly suit the high demands of life in the mountains. We have revived the production of this material in one of the last wool factories in Manteigas and are now using it to create products that bring together exciting new concepts and innovative design.
We believe in re-creating the past, making it present, that it might be forever now.