The city of Loulé lived on Saturday an important day in terms of heritage appreciation and its collective memory with the inauguration of the rehabilitation work of the emblematic Gama Lobo Palace, known by most of the Louleans as the "Palace of the Spaniards." An intervention that constitutes "a remarkable work from the point of view of architecture, respect for pre-existences, but also with the incorporation of new materials and new elements", as Minstro-Deputy and Economy, Pedro Siza Vieira, inaugural ceremony.
With an investment of 1.3 million euros, with support from community funds, this work conceived by the municipal architect Luís Guerreiro deserved praise from all who were in this space that from now on will receive the project "Loulé Criativo", in a clear commitment to ally urban regeneration and patrimonial requalification to the development of creative industries and promotion of traditional arts and crafts.
Under the common hat of "Loulé Criativo", there will be space for creative tourism projects (which has 17 partners in the areas of gastronomy, heritage, design, handicrafts, photography, among others), a niche already considered as "tourism of the future" "; the ECOA, Knowledge Space, Crafts and Arts with the valences of residences and workshops (Oficina do Caldeireiro, Casa da Empreita, Pottery and Workshops of the Clockmaker and of Cordofones), in a clear bet on the promotion of creative workshops; and the Loulé Design Lab, which aims to help attract the new breed of designers of the Municipality, with a great connection to the territory, local matters and the logic of sustainability, and which have resulted in creative residences ("Held Table" and "Designers of Loulé ").
As Henrique Ralheta, coordinator of the Loulé Design Lab in relation to the new space, said "it is a building that will enhance all these activities", namely with a sales area, workshop space, "laboratory" development and an auditorium.
"It is very important to find a destination of use for these old buildings and the participation of the Design Lab, in the context of Loulé Criativo, is also a way of making a building live by its capacity to use innovation, knowledge, designers from Loulé and other parts of the country, who not only produce for themselves but also work with artisans who are recovering traditional crafts in a very interesting way, "said Siza Vieira. The Minister with the portfolio of Economy also stressed the importance of this space for "the attractiveness of Loulé": "a city more pleasant for the people who live here and more a reason for attraction, than just the sun and sea."
This idea is shared by the Loulean autarch who believes that this pole will be for the Municipality "an opportunity to arise new activities and new entrepreneurs in the villages and the interior of the Municipality, so that these zones have the opportunity to incorporate the tourism economic chain , also contributing to maintain and innovate the traditions, to celebrate the identity and to create a ecosystem favorable to the creativity ".
It is recalled that the Palácio Gama Lobo is a "emblazoned building, former noble house, a landmark of the civil architecture of Loulé and an important element in its expansion and urban development in the second half of the eighteenth century," explained Vítor Aleixo. Like the Solar da Música Nova, which is only a few meters from the Lobo Gama and which has also been recently refurbished, it now hosts the Loulé Conservatory of Music with the first public integrated music education school in South Lisbon.
With regard to the patrimonial safeguard, in addition to these two interventions, Vítor Aleixo also spoke about the rehabilitation of the Gothic Portal of the Convent of Graça, the deep conservation and restoration works being carried out in the emblematic Church of Loulé and, later this year , the start of the restoration and musealization works of the Islamic Baths in the Historical Zone, which are one of the most important in the Iberian context.
The mayor of Loulé also announced that the Municipality has hired the services of Vítor Mestre, an architect who is in charge of developing a project for the Loulé Cultural Quarter, "which will result in a bold and ambitious intervention capable of placing the city of Loulé in the national route of cultural sites to visit, obligatorily ".
During this week the Gama Lobo Palace can be visited by the general public.