An array of recycled rainbow-colored barrel lids lines the façade of the Centro Nacional de Artesanato e Design (National Arts, Crafts, and Design Center) in Mindelo on Sao Vicente island that's part of the Cabo Verde archipelago. Created by Ramos Castellano Arquitectos, the vibrant circles are a unique outer shell to the renovated space within. They are not only eye-catching, but also functional; the lids can be angled (like blinds), which allows better control of airflow and sunlight on the property and the ability to passively maintain the internal temperature of the site.
The architects, Eloisa Ramos and Moreno Castellano, view the façade as different ways to pay tribute to the diverse aspects of Mindelo. Each barrel, for instance, is seen as a musical note. “We wanted to use the perceptual phenomenon of synesthesia so a Caboverdian composer and multi-instrumentist, Vasco Martins, was invited to participate and wrote the music behind the colors,” they said in a statement. The result paid homage to “the musical traditions of the islands and transmitting a visual musical joy to the square.”
The mosaic appearance stands out in a sea of traditional architecture, which is primarily white and gray. It's ideal for a place that’s centered on creativity and is a way of connecting to the greater urban environment. “[T]he barrels are used for everything, as containers and as materials with many uses,” Ramos and Castellano explain. The area, which is an archipelago, has a history of trade. “Our approach was to knock down the walls and open the patio to the city and to use those barrels caps and create a detached skin that covers the entire museum, paying homage to this simple object that is so entrenched into the lives of the people of Mindelo.”