The debut of Brazilian studio Serai + Nougalli in Portugal

  • Photography Design em Lisboa

Nougalli + Serai is the result of a collaboration that aims to create contemporary environments, always with comfort in mind. The two architects are proud to present their first international project in 2024, in Cascais.

Design em Lisboa: What sparked your interest in interior design?  

Nougalli + Serai: I’ve been interested in areas related to the aesthetics and functionality of the home since I was very young. I remember that from an early age I liked to participate in the choice of furniture for the house as a whole. This curiosity led me to study architecture, but interior design was always what I was most passionate about. I had the opportunity to work as an intern in large offices in São Paulo and realized that this was the path I wanted to follow.

DL: How would you define your work?  

N+S: If I had to identify a style, I’d say contemporary. However, there is always the intention to create comfort in every environment, by combining new furniture and details from vintage design pieces, as well as objects and works of art. For us, it’s very interesting to tell the story of the families in each project, using personal pieces and reflecting their personality in the house where they will live. 

DL: What do you want to achieve when you start a new project?  

N+S: The main thing for us is the client’s happiness. And with the experience of around fifteen years working in interior design, we know that there are some fundamental steps to take in order to complete the project in such a way that the client is happy and a relationship of continuity is created. Knowing how to read each family’s needs, following all the stages closely, meeting promised deadlines and saving them from construction problems are essential steps in each project, important for achieving this successful delivery.

DL: Where do you look for inspiration? 

N+S: Our inspiration comes from many places – from books to art exhibitions, decoration shows and, above all, through traveling. We believe that traveling makes us aware of what’s new and inspires us in a more relaxed mood, so that we can observe details that might go unnoticed in the fast pace of everyday work.

DL: What are your main aesthetic references? 

N+S: Buildings by national and international architects that I admire. Hotels are always interesting to visit and analyse every detail of the construction, finishes, furniture choices and decoration. In cities where we discover interesting hotels, we usually ask for a tour, even if we’re not staying! Today it’s one of our travelling hobbies!

DL: Which designers do you admire, and why? 

N+S: I’ll list a few current Brazilian designers: Marcio Kogan, Bernardes Arquitetura, Patrícia Anastasiades, Isay Weinfeld, Arthur Casas, Dado Castello Branco.

DL: How would you describe this project?  

N+S: This project was extremely special! It was our office’s first international project and it was for a very dear family who trusted us and our recommendations 100%. It’s a holiday home for a family of five who were looking for a space with privacy and, at the same time, wanted to be close and comfortable. The goal was achieved! 

DL: What was the biggest challenge?  

N+S: I think the only challenge of this project was dealing with the work stoppages and deliveries during the pandemic. This phase of uncertainty made us anxious and insecure. But with patience and an understanding of the moment we were going through, everything was resolved so that we could finish and achieve our main goal, which is to see our clients happy and enjoying their new home!

The project subtly explores contrasts in shapes, colours and textures. How do you manage to feed your creativity and imagination and at the same time design a house for someone else to live in?  

We like light and fluid environments, especially when it comes to a house in a beach area and families with children. We believe that all environments are meant to be lived in by the whole family. Our suggestions are always geared towards living together.

And yes, combining furniture shapes and geometries brings a sense of organisation and fluidity to the space. We like neutral bases with some shade in works of art, armchairs, objects and smaller pieces, but occasionally we “dare” with larger items in colour! 

DL: How did you come to QuartoSala? 

N+S: We’ve known QuartoSala since we first went out shopping with clients, who even introduced us to the shop. We really liked the service and, what’s more, they work with the brands we like best.

DL: What are your favourite brands within the QuartoSala portfolio and what do you consider important about the service that QuartosSala offers to professionals?  

N+S: Our favourite brands within QuartoSala are Minotti, Flexform, Poliform, Jader Almeida, B&B Italia and Maxalto.  As for the service, we see a difference in the care and attention. Experience with Brazilian clients and offices is important. Here we find the excellence we’re looking for, especially when we’re abroad.

DL: Which pieces from QuartoSala would you take with you to your next project?  

N+S: Many! We’re currently working on a new project in Cascais and we’ve made a lot of choices at QuartaSala. We (and the client) were delighted with many of the Minotti pieces that will play a leading role in this project.

DL: What are the main differences between working in Europe and Brazil? And between Paris and Lisbon?  

N+S: Between Europe and Brazil, we believe that what differs most are the building laws and approvals before work begins. In Europe this process is slower. However, from the moment the work begins, the project is finalized and there is no possibility of changes, which makes the construction itself quicker. As far as bespoke joinery companies are concerned, we realize that Brazil is one step ahead. We’ve experienced a lot of difficulty in this sector in Portugal. However, in terms of furniture and decoration, we are very well served in both!

Between Paris and Lisbon we felt some differences, but nothing too significant in terms of work. Both cities offer very interesting showrooms with new furniture and also a wide choice of antique furniture. Each city has its own charm and history!

DL: How has Lisbon influenced your work?  

N+S: For this specific project, although the clients were Brazilian, we tried to bring in references from Lisbon in some details, such as the crockery and works of art, for example. We got to know the city through this project and it was very interesting to explore a new place to learn about references that were not only useful for this specific project, but also for others we’ve done in Brazil.

DL: What important memories do you carry with you?  

N+S: There were many special moments. From the presentation of the project to the clients, to their joy when they saw the first drawings and imagined themselves in that house, to the visits to choose the furniture and, above all, the final production for the photos. We architects know how difficult it is for a project to be completely finalized before we can finally photograph it for our portfolio. Everything needs to be exactly in place, with pictures hung and flowers in vases. So when we manage to achieve this, it’s the most special moment!

DL: What do you value most about your experience of a project in Lisbon? Would you work in the city again?  

N+S: The opportunity to carry out an international project is a privilege in many ways. But we mainly value the challenge of cultural differences, which are enriching. The chance to get to know new suppliers, new construction techniques and other ways of working adds a lot of value for us personally and professionally. 

Nougalli + Serai was founded in 2020 through a partnership between Brazilian architects Isabella Serai and Raísa Nougalli. After working in some of the most relevant architecture studios in São Paulo, where they met, they aligned their values and aesthetic references, confirming their complementary way of working. 

With a modern style that takes every detail into account, the Nougalli + Serai studio stands out for its timeless architecture. The intention to create cosy and comfortable environments is evident in their projects.

The firm works according to a boutique concept, where everything is really thought out personally by the architects, paying attention to the needs and desires of the clients and guiding them to build a project together that celebrates their individuality, but also imprints the identity of the studio.

The debut of Brazilian studio Serai + Nougalli in Portugal

  • Photography Design em Lisboa

Nougalli + Serai is the result of a collaboration that aims to create contemporary environments, always with comfort in mind. The two architects are proud to present their first international project in 2024, in Cascais.

Design em Lisboa: What sparked your interest in interior design?  

Nougalli + Serai: I’ve been interested in areas related to the aesthetics and functionality of the home since I was very young. I remember that from an early age I liked to participate in the choice of furniture for the house as a whole. This curiosity led me to study architecture, but interior design was always what I was most passionate about. I had the opportunity to work as an intern in large offices in São Paulo and realized that this was the path I wanted to follow.

DL: How would you define your work?  

N+S: If I had to identify a style, I’d say contemporary. However, there is always the intention to create comfort in every environment, by combining new furniture and details from vintage design pieces, as well as objects and works of art. For us, it’s very interesting to tell the story of the families in each project, using personal pieces and reflecting their personality in the house where they will live. 

DL: What do you want to achieve when you start a new project?  

N+S: The main thing for us is the client’s happiness. And with the experience of around fifteen years working in interior design, we know that there are some fundamental steps to take in order to complete the project in such a way that the client is happy and a relationship of continuity is created. Knowing how to read each family’s needs, following all the stages closely, meeting promised deadlines and saving them from construction problems are essential steps in each project, important for achieving this successful delivery.

DL: Where do you look for inspiration? 

N+S: Our inspiration comes from many places – from books to art exhibitions, decoration shows and, above all, through traveling. We believe that traveling makes us aware of what’s new and inspires us in a more relaxed mood, so that we can observe details that might go unnoticed in the fast pace of everyday work.

DL: What are your main aesthetic references? 

N+S: Buildings by national and international architects that I admire. Hotels are always interesting to visit and analyse every detail of the construction, finishes, furniture choices and decoration. In cities where we discover interesting hotels, we usually ask for a tour, even if we’re not staying! Today it’s one of our travelling hobbies!

DL: Which designers do you admire, and why? 

N+S: I’ll list a few current Brazilian designers: Marcio Kogan, Bernardes Arquitetura, Patrícia Anastasiades, Isay Weinfeld, Arthur Casas, Dado Castello Branco.

DL: How would you describe this project?  

N+S: This project was extremely special! It was our office’s first international project and it was for a very dear family who trusted us and our recommendations 100%. It’s a holiday home for a family of five who were looking for a space with privacy and, at the same time, wanted to be close and comfortable. The goal was achieved! 

DL: What was the biggest challenge?  

N+S: I think the only challenge of this project was dealing with the work stoppages and deliveries during the pandemic. This phase of uncertainty made us anxious and insecure. But with patience and an understanding of the moment we were going through, everything was resolved so that we could finish and achieve our main goal, which is to see our clients happy and enjoying their new home!

The project subtly explores contrasts in shapes, colours and textures. How do you manage to feed your creativity and imagination and at the same time design a house for someone else to live in?  

We like light and fluid environments, especially when it comes to a house in a beach area and families with children. We believe that all environments are meant to be lived in by the whole family. Our suggestions are always geared towards living together.

And yes, combining furniture shapes and geometries brings a sense of organisation and fluidity to the space. We like neutral bases with some shade in works of art, armchairs, objects and smaller pieces, but occasionally we “dare” with larger items in colour! 

DL: How did you come to QuartoSala? 

N+S: We’ve known QuartoSala since we first went out shopping with clients, who even introduced us to the shop. We really liked the service and, what’s more, they work with the brands we like best.

DL: What are your favourite brands within the QuartoSala portfolio and what do you consider important about the service that QuartosSala offers to professionals?  

N+S: Our favourite brands within QuartoSala are Minotti, Flexform, Poliform, Jader Almeida, B&B Italia and Maxalto.  As for the service, we see a difference in the care and attention. Experience with Brazilian clients and offices is important. Here we find the excellence we’re looking for, especially when we’re abroad.

DL: Which pieces from QuartoSala would you take with you to your next project?  

N+S: Many! We’re currently working on a new project in Cascais and we’ve made a lot of choices at QuartaSala. We (and the client) were delighted with many of the Minotti pieces that will play a leading role in this project.

DL: What are the main differences between working in Europe and Brazil? And between Paris and Lisbon?  

N+S: Between Europe and Brazil, we believe that what differs most are the building laws and approvals before work begins. In Europe this process is slower. However, from the moment the work begins, the project is finalized and there is no possibility of changes, which makes the construction itself quicker. As far as bespoke joinery companies are concerned, we realize that Brazil is one step ahead. We’ve experienced a lot of difficulty in this sector in Portugal. However, in terms of furniture and decoration, we are very well served in both!

Between Paris and Lisbon we felt some differences, but nothing too significant in terms of work. Both cities offer very interesting showrooms with new furniture and also a wide choice of antique furniture. Each city has its own charm and history!

DL: How has Lisbon influenced your work?  

N+S: For this specific project, although the clients were Brazilian, we tried to bring in references from Lisbon in some details, such as the crockery and works of art, for example. We got to know the city through this project and it was very interesting to explore a new place to learn about references that were not only useful for this specific project, but also for others we’ve done in Brazil.

DL: What important memories do you carry with you?  

N+S: There were many special moments. From the presentation of the project to the clients, to their joy when they saw the first drawings and imagined themselves in that house, to the visits to choose the furniture and, above all, the final production for the photos. We architects know how difficult it is for a project to be completely finalized before we can finally photograph it for our portfolio. Everything needs to be exactly in place, with pictures hung and flowers in vases. So when we manage to achieve this, it’s the most special moment!

DL: What do you value most about your experience of a project in Lisbon? Would you work in the city again?  

N+S: The opportunity to carry out an international project is a privilege in many ways. But we mainly value the challenge of cultural differences, which are enriching. The chance to get to know new suppliers, new construction techniques and other ways of working adds a lot of value for us personally and professionally. 

Nougalli + Serai was founded in 2020 through a partnership between Brazilian architects Isabella Serai and Raísa Nougalli. After working in some of the most relevant architecture studios in São Paulo, where they met, they aligned their values and aesthetic references, confirming their complementary way of working. 

With a modern style that takes every detail into account, the Nougalli + Serai studio stands out for its timeless architecture. The intention to create cosy and comfortable environments is evident in their projects.

The firm works according to a boutique concept, where everything is really thought out personally by the architects, paying attention to the needs and desires of the clients and guiding them to build a project together that celebrates their individuality, but also imprints the identity of the studio.