Fabrico Próprio, the Design of Semi-Industrial Portuguese Confectionery
Research + book edition
Lisbon, 2008

Video Luis Giestas

Fabrico Próprio means “Own Production” and is a term used by most cafés and cake shops in their shop signs, windows and packaging. It is a warrant of freshness and quality, but also of uniqueness and prestige, of the baked goods they sell, most of them sweet, one-portion cakes. It is a multi-disciplinary project dedicated to the Portuguese semi-industrial pastry and to its relation with the design.


illustration by joão fazenda for fabrico proprio illustration by Guida Casella for fabrico proprio

It started in January 2006 and its main result is a book dedicated to this universe and to its importance in the Portuguese culture and society. It was at first an encyclopaedic record of several specimens of Portuguese daily pastry cakes – including sometimes examples of regional pastry or conventual sweets which became part of this pastry – photographed at a scale very close to real proportions. Each “entry” of this compendium is complemented with the respective identification, ingredients, and special features and also with historic data (name origin, form and source, amongst others) found for each case. This Portuguese cakes’ collection, as complete as possible, is followed by introduction texts, historic notes and a pastry glossary, which makes this book a key document for a better knowledge of such an important part of our culture.
In order to turn this matter into a better testimony we wanted to add contributions of several Portuguese and foreign professionals which work we admire and who accepted our invitation to approach this universe via their own look and skills. These looks have the form of three essay texts and several “insertions” throughout more than 250 pages, which allow us other perspectives, many of them unexpected, of this surprising world.
Fabrico Próprio project is more than a book. Its goal is to stimulate the discussion and change of ideas between pastry professionals and individuals belonging to creative and knowledge fields. Therefore we had planned also an informal work session between pastry masters, designers, and what we call sweet addicts. All these cakes’ specialists – coming from such different fields like Philosophy, Graphic Design, anthropology or architecture – were invited to chat with the semi-industrial pastry universe and to contribute with ideas, thoughts, and suggestions not only on the base-elements of this activity – the cakes – but on anything surrounding it. All the documentation and records of this work session will soon be available at the project’s website.

   Photo credits: Soraya Vasconcelos for fabrico proprio Photo credits: Hugo Teixeira for fabrico proprio Photo credits: Pedro Garcia for fabrico proprio055 056 060 photo credits: soraya vasconcelos for fabrico proprio illustration by mestre joão de sousa

Concept, research, texts and project coordination
Frederico Duarte

Project production and fund raising
Rita Morgado

Project visual identity and graphic design
Atelier Carvalho Bernau

Soraya Vasconcelos
Namiko Kitaura
Pedro Garcia
Hugo Teixeira
Tomás Nogueira

Guida Casella
Benedita Feijó
Rui Tenreiro
João Fazenda
Júlio Dolbeth
Nuno Valério

Ana Vaz Milheiro
David Lopes Ramos
Nuno Sacramento

Special texts
Luís Royal
Katya Delimbeuf