Preserving Traditional Weaving at Burel Factory
Isabel Costa and her husband João Tomás founded their textile company Burel Factory in 2006, but the building and infrastructure traces back much further. The factory was first opened in 1947, known then as Lanifícios Império, in the village of Manteigas in the Serra da Estrela mountain range of Portugal. That name lives on as a range of fabrics Burel Factory produces – the pair’s committed approach to conserving and sustaining traditions and livelihoods is at the heart of their company.
“We wanted to recover life in the area,” Isabel says, having first visited on a hike while working alongside João in Lisbon. Having fallen for the rugged landscape, they decided to open a hotel, Casa das Penhas Douradas. It was when finding textiles for the interiors that they came across the factory, which was in the process of insolvency. “A lot of people had left over the past 20 years,” she says. “Originally there were 11 factories in the area, and this was the last one left. We decided we had to save it.”