Mircea Anghel Opens Portugal Studio to Public

This summer, designer Mircea Anghel will open his stunning Portuguese studio and surrounding grounds to the public for the first time. Located in a striking 1,500-square-meter sawmill on the rural estate of Herdade da Barrosinha, in the historic municipality of Alcácer do Sal, this new vibrant hub for art, design and craftsmanship will reveal Anghel’s ground-breaking output, entirely inspired by the skills and knowledge of the boat building community in Portugal – the distinctive mark of his practice. His latest and boldest creations to date will be staged in a large-scale inaugural exhibition.

Situated an hour’s journey south of Lisbon, Companhia Agrícola da Barrosinha was founded in 1947 and comprises two old rice husking and packaging factories, a former primary school, a canteen, the sawmill, and the mills built on the right bank of the Sado river. The studio enjoys breathtaking views of the unique beauty of the Alentejo landscape, including hills, vineyards, rice fields and mills scattered among the cork trees. The broader area also includes the village of Barrosinha, its hotel and guesthouses, a winery, a tavern, and the chapels Nossa Senhora da Conceição and Senhor das Chagas.


Full of authenticity and history, the land was the cradle of the 1974 Carnation Revolution, from which emerged a strong sense of community, still felt today. When Anghel relocated his studio from the Portuguese capital to the estate in 2019, it had a considerable impact on his practice. In addition to increasing the scale of his already voluminous designs, Anghel found new sources of inspiration in the skills and knowledge of the local boat building community. Seeking to nurture local practices, support the community, and coexist with the agricultural environment, where industry and innovation had taken root for decades, Anghel decided to keep the sawmill active.

To this day, shipwrights, and workers from around Portugal come to the estate to buy and carve wood. Intrinsically connected to nature, Anghel’s iconic gravity-defying pieces are entirely handmade, using raw and responsibly sourced materials, such as wood, stone, salt, water, wine, and fire. Wood takes centre stage in his work, either salvaged from demolition sites, from forests after harsh storms or responsibly harvested. Some pieces are thousands of years old, while others have been newly felled. His work combines age-old woodworking techniques with experimental methods, resulting in one-of-a-kind designs.

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Process, balance, and equilibrium are at the core of his philosophy and serve as a signature of his innate scientific approach. His lifelong interest in mathematics is reflected in the stochastic nature of his work, which injects an element of unpredictability into his designs. Influenced by one the guiding principles of Japanese craftsmanship, Anghel is determined not to skew the solution to fit a preconceived outcome, instead surrendering to the natural flow of the creative process.

Just as Anghel constantly strives to evolve his own practices, his pieces are not static, seemingly midway in a biological process of growth, corrosion, deterioration, decomposition, or explosion, immortalizing a split moment of effervescent organic transformation. “I tend to reflect upon a particular piece of wood for months or even years, contemplating its form and trying to uncover its hidden beauty and aesthetic. Through my craftsmanship, I reveal the object trapped within”, says Anghel.


This summer, the inaugural exhibition will feature several of Anghel’s iconic pieces, produced in his signature asymmetric forms and reflect his constant experimentation with contrasting materials and his daring engineering. Among the seminal works are the monumental Pestele and Pico tables composed of two contrasting elements slotting into one another harmoniously to form a perfectly crafted union. Built as an ode to Pico, the volcanic island in the Azores, Pico Rosa, composed of a majestic sculptural base in rose-veined natural marble stone from the Portuguese village of Estremoz and a beautifully weathered hand-shaped Bubinga wood surface, exemplifies the mathematical ratio between two contrasting elements that define Anghel’s style.

The designer will also introduce works in copper and new tables in wood and stone including Asymmetric Democracy, all made from the same mathematical formula that allows these elements, at first sight unstable, to be perfectly balanced and in harmony. Taking centre stage in the exhibition is his iconic Democracy table comprising a white marble ball base, topped with a rounded surface crafted in burned Albizia ferruginea wood. Based on the definition that a table is a place of union and conversation, Democracy is an exploration of this specific characteristic rather than the whole spectrum of properties of a traditional table. The piece tilts according to the interaction of its users and explores the dynamics between people by bringing movement to an otherwise static object.

Stretching across the entirety of one of the walls of the workshop is a monumental installation composed of stately wood offcuts from Anghel’s pieces that give the appearance of an ever-growing sculpture with intertwined geometrical shapes. This constantly evolving art piece exemplifies the designer love for wood, a raw material with multiple facets.

To complement this exhibition, a show of new works by Anghel will launch at the Francisco Fino gallery in Lisbon, making it a pivotal moment in the designer’s career. Anghel is also working on two major initiatives, both following his guiding principle of giving back to the local community; one aiming to revive the long Portuguese tradition of boat building in collaboration with local shipwrights and the other aiming to found a community of artists, designers, makers and scientists around his workshop to encourage collaborative residencies for young creators.


Born in Romania in 1986, Mircea Anghel is a self-taught designer based in Portugal and the founder of Cabana Studio. From a young age, growing up in Bucharest, he displayed a particular interest in mathematics and always found pleasure in problem-solving. The son of a diplomat, Anghel moved to Lisbon in 2001, where he studied economics at the University of Lisbon, before embarking on a career in finance.

During those years, he developed a keen interest in woodworking, to which he devoted himself while not at work. His passion soon turned into a full-time occupation, and after resigning from his position at a hedge fund, he established his own design practice, Cabana Studio, in 2015. In 2019, in need of space for his larger creations, he moved his studio in the Portuguese capital to a 1,500-square-meter sawmill, located in Herdade da Barrosinha, a rural estate in Alcácer do Sal.

Composed of a team of 13 collaborators, Cabana studio delivers projects for private and public clients including Naço, the architecture and design studio of Marcelo Joulia, architect and interior designer Lionel Jadot, and Studio KO.


Opening of Mircea Anghel workshop and estate Summer Exhibition 1st July – 31st August 2023
Herdade da Barrosinha – Serração Mecânica 7580-514 Alcácer do Sal, Portugal
Visits by appointment only

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