São Sebastião 123: Lisbon’s Colorful Apartment Reimagined

Dive into the vibrant world of São Sebastião 123, a Lisbon gem where history meets modernity. ALA.rquitectos transforms a century-old building into a stunning apartment that exudes charm with its colorful design. This unique property in Portugal’s capital offers a blend of dynamic spaces, from cozy workrooms to airy living areas, all while embracing the city’s architectural heritage.

Contemporary living room with coral walls and a gray sectional sofa.
Contemporary living room with pink walls and wooden shelving.
Contemporary room with pink walls, blue door, wooden shelves, and grey sofa
Contemporary room with bold blue wall and wooden bookshelf.
Narrow corridor lined with blue cabinets leading to a bright room with wooden shelving
Modern kitchen with blue cabinets, white countertop, and decorative items.
Contemporary dining room with minimalist decor and wooden furnishings.
Modern kitchen with wooden table, pendant lights, and floating shelves.
Contemporary kitchen with blue cabinets and wooden dining.
Contemporary dining room with contrasting pink and blue walls and wooden accents.
Contemporary pink bathroom with terrazzo floor and round mirror.
Chic indoor patio with pebble floor and potted plants.
Minimalist courtyard with pale tiles and lush green plants

About São Sebastião 123

Reviving Lisbon’s Historical Gem

Located in Lisbon, on the historic Rua de São Sebastião da Pedreira, the São Sebastião 123 project brings life to a building from the early 20th century. This street, together with Rua de Santa Marta and Rua de São José, once pulsed as a main artery through Lisbon. The building, having served various purposes including hosting a philharmonic society, stood ready for a new chapter.

A Transformation Begins

We discovered an office from the 1990s, characterized by open spaces and light partitions, at the start of the project. The demolition of these outdated elements revealed a challenge: areas plagued by poor natural light and ventilation. Consequently, we crafted a small, accessible courtyard and revamped an existing one, strategically placing the apartment’s private quarters at the back.

Designing Dynamic Living Spaces

In the social areas, we introduced a series of fluid spaces framed by two pink, non-orthogonal walls. Starting at the entrance, these walls, with their diagonals and curves, create a rhythm of compression and expansion, leading into generous, inviting spaces.

To organize these areas, we devised a large blue box as a pivotal element. This box not only structures the space but also facilitates its flexibility, enabling smooth transitions between different zones.

The Heart of the Home

This central element houses the kitchen, which connects to the living and dining rooms via two sliding doors. This setup fosters a seamless flow between spaces, ideal for both entertaining and everyday living.

A New Way of Living

Facing the main facade, a spacious living area is flanked by two smaller rooms. These versatile spaces serve as workspaces, libraries, or meeting rooms, embodying the modern blend of work and family life. Through this thoughtful design, São Sebastião 123 responds to contemporary lifestyles, making shared living and working not just a possibility, but a reality.

Photography by do mal o menos

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- by Matt Watts