Rui Pereira is a Portuguese product designer. After completing his graduation in product design in Porto he moved to Milan to study interior and product design at SPD. He is working as a junior product designer at Patricia Urquiola Studio. Beside his main activity, he continues to develop parallel projects with other designers and galleries. 

With Lateira I guess in a subtle way you’re putting some question marks, beyond pure product design. I recognized two typical Portuguese production traditions joined together, both seemingly in extinction. It makes me wonder if this project has also an economical and political base.
Lateira was born as a reflection about the Portuguese canned fish industry and its importance for Portuguese socio-economic heritage. I was interested in mixing a product coming from an industrial background with a handcrafted one, in a solid effort to destigmatize the consumption of canned sardines. The small production of handcrafted items is undoubtedly a process to be taken into account in our economic future. In a society that values more and more handmade and zero environmental impact products, the synergies created between designers and craftspeople are essential. The development of projects that merge these two realities is the key to create a parallel economy, able to satisfy new niche markets.
Imagine walking in the streets of Porto and you find yourself in a tourist souvenir shop selling the Lateira pieces.
And imagine finding the same Lateira project in a gallery or design store: to what extent does the context determine the perception of a product and its intrinsic value?
And in your specific case, where is the limit between so called “good-design” and “non-design”?

This project can be read at different levels. For me it’s important that the consumer gets involved with my work, whether in a souvenir shop or in a gallery. Using the can as a blank canvas, the object grows in shape and dimension. I wanted it to be visually clear. I even developed a specific typeface for it, but working with craftspeople that do the same type of job for 40 years can be tricky.
What is the profound “anima” of Portuguese design? How do you recognize yourself a Portuguese designer?
In my opinion there is no specific “anima” in Portuguese design, we are working in really different directions. Since I’ve been living in Milan for the last 3 years my perception of Portuguese design is pretty much as an outsider. Still there are a few characteristics that unify it: the use of local materials, craftsmanship and the love for our heritage. 

Born in the Netherlands, cosmopolitan at heart, Huub Ubbens has lived in Amsterdam, Naples and for almost 20 years in Milan. He collaborated with Marco Ferreri, Andrea Branzi and Claudio La Viola; he has been head of design at Artemide and art director of Danese before setting up his own studio. In 2010 he moved to Montpellier.