colourful cushions in the Algarve

Sustainable CORE interiors

Aadna Interior designer signature

When you’re in the business of architecture and interior design, finding partners, suppliers and providers of beautiful things is a never-ending job. Exploring fairs, markets, and shops to find the most unique of pieces – ones filled with personality but ready to be moulded to their new surroundings – is an almost full-time job, but one we do with excitement. You know that joy that builds from the pit of your stomach when you lay eyes on an item that’s simply perfect? When you finally spot the missing piece you’ve been searching for across a crowded room? That’s the thrill we seek, especially now as our inhouse interior designer, Aadna, starts to put together her first spring interiors of 2022.

However, the search gains a whole new dimension when you add sustainability as a focus… and if you know us at all, you’ll know sustainability is at the heart of everything we do.  

So, what makes interior design sustainable?

Environmentally conscious choices focusing on reusing and recycling all make for sustainable design choices. That’s a given. Still, from where we’re standing, there’s another aspect that’s often overlooked: durability. 

To make our décor sustainable, we seek out items, objects and knickknacks that will stand the test of time. We need them to be versatile so as to adapt to new and changing needs. We require flexibility to stay relevant and move with the times. We call for curated pieces that simply endure… 

and sometimes, just sometimes, we come across a whole room full of them…

Ethnic Minimalism

Alamaya Deco – A celebration of Ethnic Minimalism

Enter Alamaya Deco, a new brand of minimalism that calls for us to slow down. To step back from the fast-paced, polluted culture we’ve allowed ourselves to get buried under and think carefully about every item we buy. To live simply, but with a modern edge that reflects our globalised world tastefully and thoughtfully, incorporating traditions of times long gone into our very futures. 

The brand aligns with our values in every way, which can be seen in their actions: they are conscious of waste and water usage, and use exclusively local, natural dyes. Then there’s the simplicity of nature woven through every item, but we’ll stop now, and let the pieces themselves do the talking. Check them out:

 Pieces to set off your minimalistic décor 

From Indian vintage to tribal handmade items, each Alamaya piece has a style, connecting that corner of your home to a people and land far, far away. But more than that, Alamaya knows that each object tells a story, and with our very own CORE interior designer, Aadna, that story can be framed to perfection so that it resonates on a deep level, bringing interest to any room while keeping it fresh and exciting with just a touch of magic. Now how about these repurposed wooden horses originally used to decorate entrance beams of houses for a taste of the exquisite?

Unique Storage – wooden chests

 The first items that caught our eye when we walked into the Alamaya Deco shop were these perfect storage items. Ideal for storing anything you could possibly think of, a Damchyia-turned-chest passed down through time simply couldn’t make a better statement piece. And that’s whether you want a burst of colour to revive an Indian summer or white for new beginnings and a fresh start. Originally used as a bride’s dowry, these intricately carved cupboards are reclaimed and restored to perfection without ever losing their unique character. Now, how about that for an item with a story?

Unique Storage – handwoven baskets

Next: handmade baskets woven by a community of breadwinning women working in good conditions and paid fair wages. Practical in every way, these can serve as anything from storage to coffee tables, footstools to vases, their raw look and soft palette making them versatile, while their materials make them surprisingly durable. There’s something about these baskets that just scream comfort, and while they’re not from the Algarve, we can’t help but think they make us feel at home on the deepest level. Wouldn’t you agree?

Colourful fabrics  

When it comes to kilim cushions, no two are alike, which may just be what makes them so very special. Catching our eye from across the room, they seem to draw you in, soft comfort mingling with life and colour. Handwoven from sabra cactus silk by a female co-op in Morocco, these cushions’ Berber designs bring ancient motifs into the present, adding a nomadic feel and pop of colour to the simplest of rooms.

As you can see, not even gorgeous Ria could resist their charms!

One-of-a-kind items 

As we wandered around this São-Brás (Algarve) based shop, we couldn’t help but catch our breath more than a couple of times as our eyes took in the curves of each item, designs and compositions coming together in our heads as we found potential homes for each and every one. 

One particular item was this chakki-turned-statement-piece, which may be aged, but you can tell how robust it is from a mile away, ready to withstand whatever the future has to throw at it. A real presence in any room, the metal detailing and careful hand carvings give it a weight gained only over time, its stories folded neatly into every twist and turn of wood on metal.

Then there’s this gorgeous horse from the Indian Collection – a vibrant piece filled with colour, hand-stained and distressed and ready to brighten any room. The kind of item you just have to run your hand over because its colours call out to be touched. 

And last but certainly not least, a mehrab mirror. Edged in white for success and reflecting the best version of anyone who looks in it, it is paired with a gorgeous white pitara chest for more concealed storage. 

We simply can’t wait to work some Alamaya Deco pieces into our décor and will be sure to keep you posted on the new homes we find for each more than memorable piece. For now though, we’re happy to delight in the stories surrounding each item, and the dreams of where each one will end up. 

Anabela Macieira
Core Architects — CEO and Founder