Bruno Carvalho was born in Lisbon in 1975. From 2000 and 2003, he worked in the conservation and restoration of historic Portuguese tiles at the National Museum of Tiles in Lisbon. Between 2003 and 2005, he held artistic residencies at the New Artistic Trends Studies Center (CENTA) in Vila Velha de Ródão, Portugal. In 2006, in partnership with Portugal’s Escola Superior de Artes e Design de Caldas da Rainha (ESAD.CR) and CENTA, he created and initiated Experimenta O Campo, a residency program that matches students with Portuguese craftsmen.
Carvalho studied at ESAD.CR, graduating in 2007 with a Ceramic Design Diploma. That same year, he launched his eponymous studio. The studio has never had a physical base; instead, Carvalho develops open-ended, site-specific projects and objects within—and inspired by—the cultural and social contexts of different locations, including, as of this writing, Lisbon, Braga, Bogas do Meio, and the Azores Islands in Portugal; Eindhoven and Den Bosch in Holland; Berlin; and Jingdezhen, China. From 2007 to 2012, he interned and then freelanced for Maarten Baas’s studio in The Netherlands. Between 2010 and 2012, Carvalho created Made Out Portugal, a promotional platform for Portuguese designers living and working abroad.
Carvalho’s diverse design projects include CHINaWARE (2012-2014), a porcelain collection created in Jingdezhen that features four series: Barbowls (2012), Pleasure Cups, Class Bowls, and Imperial Marker (all 2014). Each was inspired by day-to-day life and the traditional typologies of Jingdezhen; Imperial Marker, for example, is a set of porcelain vases unexpectedly colored using a Chinese felt marker commonly used to mark production defaults in porcelain factories. Within Carvalho’s work, the pen strokes represent the displacement of master craftsmen, their techniques, and traditional materials in the face of rapid development. Similarly, his site-specific furniture projects—such as Smalle Haven Chaise Longue (2010), Tempelhof Berlin Airport Lamp (2011), and Tryptich Axa Stadium Mirror (2012), are each functional objects whose forms are extracted from specific architectural details, and then developed in the locations where they are initially exhibited. Tryptich Axa Stadium Mirror, for example, was inspired by a detail Carvalho observed in the stadium of Portugal’s Braga football club, which itself was designed by Portuguese architect Eduardo Souto de Moura (winner of the 2011 Pritzker Prize).
The designer has exhibited his work at several respected institutions and events, including, but not limited to, Musée d’Art Moderne Grand-Duc Jean (MUDAM) (Luxembourg, 2014), Experimenta Design (Lisbon, 2008-2011, 2014), Dutch Design Week (Eindhoven, 2008-2011), Show Me Gallery (Braga, 2012 and Design Days Dubai, 2014), De Krabbedans (Eindhoven, 2010), and Villa Noailles Hyères, France (2008). Additionally, in 2014, Carvalho co-curated the exhibition Never for Money, Always for Love at MUDAM (Luxembourg) with Anna Loporcaro.