Sandra Sofia Pereira Antunes

Synthesis of The Arts: The Relations Between Architecture and the Design Process. Multiplano studio (a case study).


Maria Helena Souto, IADE-U


Within the Theory and History of Material Culture, as well as the Theory of Design, this PhD project relies not on essayistic, but on historiographical based investigation, strongly founded in documental sources. Aiming to reveal inedited documentation, actions and agents witch may contribute to the comprehension of the place of design, has of the culture of project oriented thought within the Portuguese context, it assumes as its object of study the architecture studio Multiplano – therefore, framing the problem of Design in Portugal from its process point of view, rather than from its object. Established in Lisbon around 1972 by the architects Carlos Tojal (1929-2015), Manuel Moreira (b.1933) and Carlos Roxo (b.1935), three architects known by the “Three Wonders” epithet, Multiplano and its interveners guard witness to seve- ral moments of national projectual culture. Between 1961 and 1974 (a period of affirmation and development of design in Portugal) Tojal, Moreira and Roxo have jointly developed a vast and coherent project-oriented and ideological body of products: demarcating up from Beaux-Arts contemplation, ideal Deco, or Modernist interactions to embrace projectual materialist dialectics, extending yet the concept of useful by structurally integrating artistic thinking along the social utopia of design; to be later overtaken by market.

Keywords: Portuguese Design History; Synthesis of the Arts; Projectual Culture in Portugal; Material Culture; Design Studies.


The architecture studio Multiplano – Established in Lisbon around 1972 by the architects Carlos Tojal (1929-2015), Manuel Moreira (b.1933) and Carlos Roxo (b.1935).


According to the methods of the Social and Human Sciences, this PhD project comprehends two main nucleus. The first – of heuristic character – for the archive inventory and classification of actions, interveners, clients, regulators and their contingencies, plus collecting relevant testimonials. The second – hermeneutics, considering design history has the history of material and immaterial culture – to the production of knowledge able to underpin future research. Primary sources: the Multiplano’s archive, which Sandra Antunes found in December 2013; the testimony of the interveners and their personal archives.


To reveal inedited documentation, actions and agents able to contribute to the comprehension of the place of design and of project oriented culture, within the Portuguese context.


Among the work documentarily attributed to the studio, more than twenty-five pieces were observed (some including equipment, lettering or landscape design). As one of the most regular collaborators of Tojal, Moreira and Roxo, at least since Rualdo stand (1964/68) and until 1974, is the painter Rogério Ribeiro (1930-2008) who in 1974 assumes coordination of the group working on the curricular restructuration of ESBAL in the area of design, to the installation of the Industrial Design of Equipment Course. On the conceptual body in presence: The concept of architecture as a “Visual Art” as that of “Scientific Aesthetics” enounced by Carlos Roxo in 1963, witness his will to legitimate architecture as an art and his aim for the questioning of all projectual decision in opposition to an idealistic or technicist concept of architecture. In 1968, on the 101st issue of Arquitectura magazine, Tojal, Moreira and Roxo sign a manifesto which concurs in the same direction: they favor the social environment, life and the man of human condition, as the protagonist of the reality to be considered by architecture and all aesthetical language. Demonstrating by their testimony awareness and method of a science of design.

  1. Duarte,C.S. (1968). 4 Trabalhos dos Arquitectos Carlos Tojal, Manuel Moreira e Carlos Roxo. Arquitectura,101,10-26. Lisboa: ICAT.
  2. Lamas, J.R.G.(1979). Edifício Simopre. R. Barata Salgueiro. R. Castilho-Lisboa. Arquitectura,133,24-34. Lisboa: Casa Viva Ed Lda.
  3. Roxo, C.(1974). Edifício Sede de um Grupo Empresarial (Lisboa). Binário, 184,102-106. Lisboa: Binário.
  4. Silva, F. G. (1961). Remodelação de Uma Loja de Modas no Rossio, Arquitectura, 70,19-25. Lisboa: ICAT.
  5. Simões, D. N. (1970). Betesga - Um Novo Estabelecimento em Lisboa. Arquitectura, 116, 154-158. Lisboa: ICAT.
  1. Multiplano’s Archive.
  2. Ribeiro, R. (1999). Curriculum. Lisboa: policopiado.
  3. Roxo, C. [1963]. Para uma Metodologia da Arquitectura. Estudos Sobre Concepção e Crítica do Belo Arquitectural. Lisboa ESBAL: policopiado.
  4. Tojal, C. & Moreira, M. & Roxo, C. (1961). A Decoração da Loja das Meias, Arquitectura, 70, 23-24. Lisboa: ICAT.
  5. Tojal, C. & Moreira, M. & Roxo, C. (1968). Testemunho dos Autores. Arquitectura,101,17-18. Lisboa: ICAT.