Aveiro, city of Ria and Canals, has the ceramics as one of its identity values that date back to Pre-history and that shows a long tradition favored by the geology of the region. The presence of Bairro das Olarias [the potteries neighborhood] in the Middle Ages, or in the 16th century, the role of Aveiro as a production place of sugar containers and amphoras for the maritime trade, reinforces the historic relevance of ceramics. In fact, Aveiro held, by royal decree, the exclusivity for the production of sugar containers in Portugal.
Aveiro is also unique by the use of tiles, preserving items since the 16th century. Nevertheless, the local production starts in the 19th century with the Fábrica da Fonte Nova. Others became after such as, in 1905, the Fábrica dos Santos Mártires (later known as Aleluia). Also noteworthy is the company Jerónymo Pereira Campos, founded in 1896, to produce bricks, pipes and Marseille roof tiles. Its facilities, a true industrial monument, currently hold the Aveiro Congress Center.
NNowadays, Aveiro has continued to be a national highlight in the ceramics production, with reference factories, different type of production that explores innovative techniques and new uses. At the University of Aveiro, there is a department that emphasizes this reality: the Department of Materials and Ceramics Engineering. Along with innovation, persists the pottery tradition, as the Aveiro Region Crafters Association – Barrica -continues to support artisans and gives visibility to their work.
In the cultural scenario, one can find the presence of artistic ceramics in public space (Tile panels and ceramic sculptures) as well as historic and industrial heritage, but the greater momentum is the International Biennial of Artistic Ceramics of Aveiro, organized since 1989.
To sum up, the ceramic in Aveiro is considered as a true “cluster” of national and international level, with economic scale, generating reference companies, with dimension of R&D based on its University, and with a cultural dimension, through dialogue and confrontation of contemporary trends.
José Ribau Esteves
Mayor of Aveiro
Aveiro constitutes an authentic “cluster” of national and international reference in the ceramic field with an economic impact, generating recognized companies, with an Innovation and Development expertise sustained through Aveiro’s University, and cultural dimension achieved, for example, through the International Artistic Ceramics Biennale.
Keeping a strong potters ‘tradition, including the making of black ceramics, in Aradas, and a local Artisans Association, called A Barrica, the ceramic production also carries on in relevant historical factories, which, side by side, with new factories, explore innovative production techniques and new uses for ceramic materials.
The University of Aveiro has an internationally recognized department that showcases this reality: the Materials and Ceramic Engineering Department.
In the cultural field, the presence of ceramic materials in the public art works (tile panels and monuments) and in the industrial heritage highlight the sense of belonging and collective memory role in the community. At the same time, the investment in the organisation of the International Artistic Ceramics Biennale, since 1989, testifies the recognition of the ceramic field, through the undertaking of a major event that grows each edition.
Our integration in the capacitated Portuguese Association of Ceramic Cities and Villages will certainly potentiate the work carried on in network and the valorisation of the ceramic field at a national level and the integration in a transnational network that will allow the international affirmation of the cultural and economic activities associated with ceramics, conveying more visibility and affirmation for all.
José Ribau Esteves
Mayor of Aveiro