Paula Laranjo’s company, Branco Sobre Branco, has worked with interior design, furniture, lighting and accessories for the last 20 years. In 2015, as part of a partnership, she opened a shop in Lisbon, SAL Concept Store, and another in Saint-Germain-des-Prés in Paris in 2018. Together with her business partner Vera Moreira, Paula devised the guiding lights of her work: “empathy, hospitality, respect, freedom, opportunity, expression, art form, and language”.
Ever since she visited Rio de Janeiro for the first time, Paula Laranjo confesses to being a “carioca at heart” (carioca is the name for Rio natives). She returns every year and recommends the Teatro das Artes, at Shopping da Gávea, which “always has fantastic plays”, and recommends Ney Matogrosso’s shows. She’s also a fan of the Museu de Arte Contemporânea in Niterói, which was designed by Oscar Niemeyer, and the recent Museu do Amanhã (Museum of Tomorrow), created by Santiago Calatrava, which has completely revitalised Rio’s port area.
Niterói \\\ culturaniteroi.com.br/macnitero
Colour and beauty
Paula travels quite regularly to impressive India and thinks that the country’s explosions of colour and beauty “are compelling”. She highlights the enchanted city of the maharajahs, Jaipur, which is home to Hot Pink, “a fantastically tasteful shop”, and the Taj Mahal, “the world’s most spectacular building and a homage to love”. She recommends Anjuna market in Goa, Margão market, which is “still so authentic”, and the Qutab Minar minaret in Delhi, where visitors can admire the Indo-Islamic architecture and feel “immense peace”.
Another country that Paula Laranjo fell in love with was Mozambique, where Branco Sobre Branco has worked on several interior design projects. She’s also involved with a charity project in Maputo, which she invites us to discover: the Associação Voluntária de Mães e Crianças Carenciadas (Voluntary Association of Mothers and Children in Need). The mentor is Portuguese and has done “an incredible job with all the families and children”.
Maputo \\\ avomacc.org
It’s “so genuine, so close and with such a different culture” that it has become “one of my favourite places”. She mentions a trip to Imlil, a small village high in the Atlas mountains, great for hiking, and “staying at Kasbat Tamagot, a hotel around 40 kilometres from Marrakech, where everything’s perfect, and it’s difficult to imagine such a magical place exists in the middle of nowhere. With a stunning view of the fields”. In the city, there’s the 33 Rue Majorelle shop, which houses a concept store, house and the Yves Saint Laurent museum.
Design & gourmet
In Paris, the Maison & Objet shop and twice-yearly salon are real musts, as are the “many different spots” worth discovering, “like the Fogón Ultramarinos [restaurant] on Rue de Verneuil, which serves signature cuisine next to the shop” of the same name. For a place to stay, she suggests Hôtel Costes, and for going out, Les Bains (restaurant, bar, gallery and much more), where “the unexpected” happens.
Jazz @ Ronnie Scott’s
London is one of Paula’s passions. Branco Sobre Branco has several clients there, which is why she highlights the Edition hotel, “a fantastic place”; the “cosy” Dorset Hotel; five o’clock tea at the Sketch restaurant and “seeing and listening to jazz at Ronnie Scott’s club” in Soho. “The city’s oldest.”
by Augusto Freitas de Sousa
web design & development 262media.com