Casa Cubista is an online shop based in Olhao, Portugal. Established in 2016 and named for the Cubist style houses unique to Olhao’s Old Town. The site showcases handmade Portuguese home goods that are curated with a modern point of view by proprietors Arren Williams and David Pimentel. The partners travel throughout Portugal, visiting markets and meeting craftspeople in search of new products and opportunities to collaborate on projects. The terracotta tiles are very popular. The patterns are historic, but the tiles have been reinvented with the use of a modern colour palette. The epitome of “slow design”, the tiles take more than a month to make, whether it is one piece or a hundred. The black and white striped terracotta pottery is also very popular, the handmade nature sometimes evident in the potter’s fingerprints fired onto the exterior. Arren and David love the character this adds, and call the dinnerware “perfectly imperfect”. The modern crocheted pieces are handmade by David from a recycled jersey yarn. Their customers love the beautifully crafted handmade pieces, and appreciate the history behind each product.
Arren Williams and David Pimentel, both Toronto natives, have embarked on a joint adventure. Arren left his role as Creative Director for Home at Hudson’s Bay and David took a break from teaching to move to Portugal. They love their new home, and feel it is a hidden gem, resplendent with gorgeous crafts and products that they want to share with others. Together they created Casa Cubista to fulfill this wish. Arren, whose background is in the areas of design, interiors and photography, is responsible for the site’s photography and copy. David developed the technical aspects of the site. Casa Cubista is still in its infancy, but Arren and David have lots of plans. They are collaborating on an event with Saudade in Toronto later this year, and working on an event in London. They are building the wholesale side of the business, as well as contract projects. They love their Portuguese home which allows them easy access to travel throughout Europe, visiting flea markets and their favorite shops, which include Liberty in London and Le Bon Marche in Paris.
On the Future of Retail
“It has to be fun, exciting, creative and ‘special’. It’s also less about stuff and way more about story, and how well that can be communicated to the consumer.”