O Traço

Four architects, one stroke, two shoes.

When Marta de Pinho had the idea to produce shoes, inspired by a course in footwear design in São da Madeira, she did so by using her training in architecture to form the foundations that would guarantee a unique and completely standout final product, perfect in every way: in concept, origin, production, quality, comfort, functionality and beauty.

Therefore, she set two challenges that were met with no difficulty:

1) to her friend, the architect Paula Nobre, to set up with her the company that would house O TRAÇO — the brand that would ensure the development, production and marketing of the shoes;

2) to two of the best architects in the world, for them to design something they had never even sketched before: a shoe.

Attracted by the originality of the idea that took their natural creative curiosity by storm and won over by her arguments, Álvaro Siza Vieira and Eduardo Souto Moura did not hesitate in accepting the challenge. Thus, the design of these two very special shoes that now see the light of day came from the unique and inspired hands that produced works that earned both architects the Pritzker Prize.

Once the projects were finished, Siza Vieira and Souto Moura did not neglect following up on their work: they personally chose all the materials, defined each of the colours, personalised all the finishes; they supervised the production of the prototypes, defined each of the details and adapted the original design to the demands of comfort and functionality whenever necessary.

Throughout the process, the two masters of architecture demonstrated deep respect for the Portuguese footwear industry and history, showing specific knowledge of this area that was manifestly unexpected, and all without ever distorting the initial boldness and original essence of each of their creations.

Once the design was completed, the excellence of the traditional materials of footwear production chosen by the architects — leather, hide and rubber, was added.

This fusion resulted in two absolutely unique shoes, born from the delicate and entirely hand-crafted work of experienced and dedicated artisans of the footwear industry of São da Madeira, a work of art whose path to completion is, literally, a privilege to follow.

Both models are unisex, very versatile, and are available in various colours.

The most surprising component of the final product, in addition to the bold specialised design, the careful choice of quality materials and the fantastic hand-crafted production, proudly all Portuguese, is the total absence of any trade-off in terms of comfort and functionality, since the feeling of lightness and well-being when wearing either model is absolute.

In relation to these shoes, true and unique designer articles, only taste and the enjoyment with wearing them surpasses the desire to exhibit them as the works of art that they are.

Photos: Frederico Martins

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