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Portuguese design in Maastricht and where these classics from ADICO can be found in Olhão (Algarve)

Tubular steel furniture with steel or wooden seats is usually very beautiful to look at, but sitting on it is not always a pleasure. In the “colder” Netherlands, a steel seat on your butt might be a little worse than in "warm" Portugal. But it remains a “spartan exercise” that doesn't always make your butt happy.

The oldest memory of tubular steel furniture goes back to the child's seat that was attached to the luggage carrier of my father's bicycle with a kind of spring clamp. Not really something to look forward to in terms of seating pleasure. Last summer I visited Maastricht, at the same time that André Rieu gave his fifteen concerts on the Vrijthof.

For the first time I noticed the Portuguese chairs from ADICO on the various terraces. There are beautiful white specimens at “Sir Alex” in Wyck. At “La Pepita bij Vroegop” in Sint Pieter orange classics and at the “Cabinet” in Wyck even a version with their own name  printed on it. I saw them before in Rotterdam during a visit to the North Sea Jazz Festival. At Sir Alex, the chairs have recently are equipped with “cushions” after several customers had comments about the hard and cold seating surface of this top design..

Cabinet, Sir Alex, La Pepita at Vroegop and a bycicle children's seat

The Portuguese company ADICO from Avanca has been manufacturing these iconic curved tubular steel furniture since the 1930s. The design of the best-known model, the classic 5008, is said to have been inspired by the German Bauhaus style with designs by Mies van der Rohe and Marcel Breuer. The success of this 5008 is based on its simple tubular structure consisting of two bent steel tubes. The main tube forms the behind legs and extends to support the arms and back. The second tube consists of two front legs and the curved part forms the back contour of the chair. The founder of ADICO is Adelino Dias Costa, who made the company great and gave the company her “golden age” in the 1960s, partly due to exports to the former Portuguese colonies in Africa. His cousin António Augusto Dias Costa took over the company after his death and was responsible for the expansion on the European market after Portugal's accession to the EEC. The company is currently managed by his five daughters Assunção, Adelina, Lúcia, Teresa and Ana Costa. The company In-Petto is the Dutch importer of ADICO furniture and offers the following “classics”...

In Olhão (Algarve) I had to search for a while to find the "classic" furniture from ADICO, but the first examples soon appeared around the two market halls in "Neo-Moorish" style from 1916 near the waterfront. At Jazz Café Cantaloupe, with its regular Sunday live concerts, you will find a beautiful green version of the classic 786-A: with armrests! With the beer brand Carlsberg on the back and a graceful cutout in the shape of their logo.

Next door at Snackbar Lazarus you will find the red 508 with the beer brand “Super Bock” on the back. In the past they also had the Capa chair here, with such a beautiful floating back piece. All other establishments between the market halls, except the Gelvi ice cream, also have this red 508 with plywood seat from Maritiem Okoumé. Here you will also find the classic red square tables with steel tops.

Each operator has placed his own marks on the furniture so that he can find his chais back at the neighbor's. A little further on in the city at La Byciclette I discover the only set of classic red 5008s with a plywood seat among the white imitations. Probably the only combination, together with the red square table with a wooden table top, that is left in Olhão.

Café Cantaloupe: 786-A with armrest

Model 508 at cafes between the Markthallen

Model Capa previously at Café Lazarus and Classic model 5008 at La Bycicletta

In Portugal, ADICO furniture is clearly losing marked, while in the Netherlands and other countries it is increasing. Here in Olhão you will find the plastic replicas based on the "old" ADICO models. They may be a bit more comfortable than the old models, but are not always as sturdy as the original models. Will you let me know what you prefer? Spartan and sturdy or a bit lighter and sometimes a bit shakier? I'm curious. If you want to be sure whether you are sitting on a real ADICO, you should look at the back of the seat:. The original version always has the ADICO name printed on the tube.


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