APICER - Associação Portuguesa das Indústrias de Cerâmica e Cristalaria

Portuguese Ceramics – Tradition and Modernity


As of December 1996, the Portuguese ceramic industry started to be represented by APICER, since before that date this representation was shared by three associations that agreed on a merger process.


However, from 2013, it also started representing the crystal industry, so APICER is today the only national sectoral association of the crystal and ceramic industries in its various subsectors: utilitarian and decorative ceramics (porcelain, faience and stoneware), ceramic floor and wall tiles, sanitary ware, structural ceramics (roof tiles, bricks and filler tiles), special ceramics, refractories and others.


And if APICER ensures institutional representation, the Technological Center for Ceramics and Glass (CTCV), based in Coimbra and the Training Center for the Ceramics Industry (CENCAL), based in Caldas da Rainha, share their interventions in the Technological and Professional Training Areas.


The Portuguese ceramic sits its vitality in a very strong knowledge base of these industries, founded on a long tradition of know-how and model the raw material that exists in our country in quantity and quality.


This raw material with which many artisans have reinvented themselves and which still exist today to give form and expression to the pieces that identify with Portuguese culture, and which constitute a valuable heritage preserved in several museums and many private houses that mark generations.


Let’s say that this more traditional aspect of Portuguese ceramics exists throughout the country, however, and since this is the root of our ceramics, Portuguese ceramics is no longer just this tradition and culture worked with ingenuity and art, but a modern industry, technologically highly developed and highly competitive in all markets on the five continents, to which it brings products that stand out for innovation, design and multifunctionality.


This more industrial aspect of Portuguese ceramics is located mainly in the center of the country, between the districts of Leiria and Aveiro.


Thus, it is justified that Portugal is today the first European producer of faience and stoneware and the second in the world, also occupying the first places in the remaining branches of ceramics that the world knows and identifies as the Portuguese Ceramic.


The great challenges facing the ceramic industry today, therefore priority for a more strategic intervention by APICER, are related to Environmental, Social and Economic Sustainability, Energy, Communication / Marketing, Qualification of Human Resources, Markets and Promotion of Inter- Business and Intersectoral Cooperation.


The selection of themes that we identify as more strategic will be better understood if we take into account that the destination of 60% of the products manufactured by Portuguese companies is the foreign market, a percentage that in some cases is even close to 100%, so we will have to show and sometimes demonstrating what we do, how we do it and the responses we give in the context of social responsibility.


Particularly in terms of compliance with environmental commitments, the ceramic industry has been suffered with the requirement of more and more obligations, to which we have been responding despite some evident exaggeration to which we are subject, especially under the high weight of energy consumption.

However, even in relation to these, the effort that has been made in the area of ​​energy efficiency has been very relevant, with the consequent investments in energy saving solutions and access to renewable energies.


Despite this and, as it is not enough to do well, but also to show that we do it well, it is necessary to communicate the added value of what we produce and the guarantees we give, so that we can arouse the interest of prescribers and consumers in general, whether in construction, decoration or fashion.


Social networks are a good vehicle for this purpose, since it is important for many companies to participate in international reference competitions, in which we present ourselves with the image of modernity and innovation that deserves to be highlighted.


The world therefore knows us and knows our brands, which is why we find Portuguese products in the most emblematic works of architecture, both to improve the decorative aspect and to guarantee a better functionality in their use, serving the specific customer with a specific product. , and taking advantage of the great flexibility of our companies in the production of small series for large markets.


Get to know us better at apicer.pt and follow our publications in digital format on the ISSUU platform.




CENCAL - Centro de Formação Profissional para a Indústria Cerâmica

CENCAL – Professional Training Center for the Ceramic Industry, was created in December 1981, is a well-known training institution and a technical-pedagogical support, based in Caldas da Rainha, dedicated to the Portuguese ceramic industry sector, and more recently also to glass.


In 2008 CENCAL created a delegation in Alcobaça for a better support to the ceramic companies of that municipality and developed training activities in other areas.


In 2011 by government decision, CENCAL extended its action to the glass sector, with the integration of the facilities of a training center of that sector that and operated in Marinha Grande.


CENCAL is qualified by the IEFP – Institute of Employment and Professional Training, APICER – Portuguese Association of ceramic industry and crystal industry and AIRO – Business Association of the Western Region.


Cencal received in 2007 the Medal of Honor of the municipality of Caldas da Rainha awarded by the City Council and Municipal Assembly.


Between 1986 and 2001 CENCAL organized initiation courses for Ceramic Design in the framework of the Young Designer Competitions organized by ICEP, initially with the exclusive collaboration of CENCAL and which then gradually expanded the large number of Training Centers and companies. These actions were intended in the first competitions for design students of ESBAL, and were then also extended to all design schools in the country and in some years abroad.


Every year, consecrated foreign designers were invited to submit proposals to be developed by design students which were then developed for one month at each participating training center. In the end the students were awarded with prizes (study visits to the target country of the competition) awarded by ICEP, by companies or by cultural foundations (Gulbenkian and FLAD).

The designers invited over the years have been:


1986 Isabel Tapia(Spain),
1987 James Kirkwood (United Kingdom),
1988 Mariane Stockholm(Denmark),
1989 Lorenzo Porcelli (United States),
1990 Ambrogio Pozzi(Italy),
1991 Tassilo von Grolman(Germany),
1992 Peter Weeler(United Kingdom),
1993 Tapio Yli Viikari(Finland),
1994 Ambrogio Pozzi(Italy),
1995 Isao Hosoe(Japan),
1996 Ingeregerd Råman(Sweden)
1997 Jorge Pensi (Spain)
1998 Tapio Yli Viikari(Finland),
1999 Special Young Designer Competition held with the winners of previous years – integrated in the exhibition “EXPERIMENTA” (Barcelona)
2000 Ron Arad (United Kingdom)
2001 Isao Hosoe (Japan).
2002 Prof. Valentinitsch (Austria)


Between 1986 and 2010 workshops or activities were organized with the participation of ceramists, technicians and other national or foreign specialists, directly or indirectly organized by CENCAL. Thus, during its existence, the Center had the collaboration of Alberto Faria Frasco, Ferreira da Silva, Armando Correia, Arlindo Fagundes, Manuel Cargaleiro, Martins Correia, Sá Nogueira, Dimas Macedo, Eduardo Constantino, António Pascoal, Figueiredo, António Antunes, Augusto Cid, Zé d ́Almeida, José Hipólito, Fernando Relvas, Sena da Silva, Arnold Zimerman, Jorge Pacheco, Rafael Salinas Calado, Eduardo Nery, José Nobre, Mário Ferreira da Silva , José Meco, Cecília de Sousa, António Cardoso, Xoan Viqueira (Spain), Francis Behets (Belgium), Pompeo Pianezzola, Nino Caruso and Ambroggio Pozzi (Italy), Haberling (Switzerland), Genya Sonobe, Yuji Terashima and Koji Konde (Japan), Enrique Mestre (Spain), Ivan Jandric (Yugoslavia) who played an interesting role in the activity of the Centre.


In the exhibition, called “CENCAL – 25 years”, held in 2006 were gathered, pieces of art ceramists, designers and artists from various backgrounds such as Ambroggio Pozzi, Ana Sobral, António Antunes, José Figueiredo, Arlindo Fagundes, Armando Correia, Arnaldo Rebelo, Armindo Reis, Augusto Cid, Carlos Afonso, Carlos Xuto, Dulce Fernandes, Cristiana Marques, Eduardo Constantino, Elsa Rebelo, Emídio Galassi, Ferreira da Silva, Fernanda Caldas, Francis Behets, Francisco Furriel , Genya Sonobe, Herculano Helias, Ilda Marques, Isabel Barreto, Ivan Jandrick, Jeroen Bechtold, Jesus Sheriff, João Batista Queirós, João Reis, Joaquim José Vinhais, Joca, Jorge Brigída, José Eduardo Santos, José Nobre, Koji Kondo, Leonel Telo, Luís Louro, Manuel Cargaleiro, Martins Correia, Mário Sousa, Mirta Morigi, Nadine Gueniou, Paulo Óscar, Pedro Pacheco, Ponte e Sousa, Teresa Lima, Vera Brás, Virgílio, Xohan Viqueira , Yuji Terashima, Zaida Caramelo, Zé Almeida, among others.


Over its almost 40 years CENCAL has asserted itself, both in Portugal and internationally, as a renewing, driving and avant-garde Training Centre in the area of ceramics. It has for this reason a vast and interesting estate of ceramic objects, resulting from the realization of training actions and workshops with invited ceramic masters, visits of potters and other artists, as well as projects and activities that it has integrated.


Get to know us better at cencal.pt.



CEPAE - Centro do Património da Estremadura


CEPAE – Estremadura Heritage Center is a private, non-profit association, founded in December 1993, the result of the need to combine efforts for greater and better preservation of cultural and environmental heritage. It consists of several entities and people of the Region and its area of intervention covers the municipalities of the District of Leiria and also the Municipality of Ourém.

The Statutes were published in D.R. no. 267/94 of November 18 and in D.R. No. 44/98 of February 21 – amendment of statutes and denomination.

It was recognized as a Legal Person of Public Utility by Order of February 25, 200 – Declaration No. 84/2000 in D.R. no. 64 of March 16.


Main goals

– To contribute towards the defense and valorization of the Cultural and Environmental Heritage of the Estremadura Region.

– To initiate awareness-raising actions among young people and the general population on property issues.

– To cooperate with other regional and national institutions in a number of heritage-related areas and the development of cultural and environmental events.

– To gather the necessary information concerning the heritage of the region, to promote its dissemination and to support research in the field of heritage recovery and conservation.




CTCV - Centro Tecnológico da Cerâmica e Vidro


CTCV is an entity of the Scientific and Technological System (SCT), recognized as a Technological Interface Center (CIT), under the Interface Program. Certified by CERTIF, according to NP EN ISO 9001, its laboratories are accredited by IPAC in accordance with standard NP EN ISSO / IEC 17025, for carrying out analyzes and technical tests, in particular those aimed at analyzing the characteristics of materials, demonstration of the quality of industrial products, research, intercomparison, which guarantee the compliance requirements and performance and quality criteria of construction products, before placing them on the market.


CTCV is based in Coimbra, with two different operating centers, more specifically in Loreto (Headquarters) and Antanhol (Materials. Habitat Building and Solar.Nano Building). It currently has 60 employees, of which more than 70% have higher education and 4 with a PhD degree. It has 5 laboratories (products, materials, environment, safety and energy) with more than 300 accredited tests, conducting more than 15000 tests annually for more than 500 customers per year. CTCV have participated in more than 60 I&D projects in the last 10 years, involving about 100 national and international partners.


Know more at: ctcv.pt

DEMaC - Departamento de Engenharia de Materiais e Cerâmica

The Department of Materials and Ceramics Engineering (DEMaC) succeeded in 2012 the Department of Ceramic and Glass Engineering, created at the time of the foundation of the University of Aveiro in the mid-70s of the previous century.

It is part of the DEMaC mission:

  • to develop cutting-edge research with international recognition in the scientific area of Materials Science and Engineering;
  • to sustain an up-to-date training of excellence to its students;
  • to transfer knowledge to the national industry by supporting its competitiveness effort in the global scenario.


At DEMaC, approximately 250 students study in the study cycles of:

  • Materials Engineering (integrated master’s degree);
  • Additive Manufacturing (2nd cycle/master’s degree);
  • Biomedical Materials and Devices (2nd cycle/master’s degree);
  • Doctoral program (3rd cycle) in Materials Science and Engineering (CEM);
  • Doctoral program (3rd cycle) in Nanosciences and Nanotechnology (N&N);
  • Doctoral program (3rd cycle) in Materials and Advanced Processing


The R&D effort developed in DEMaC involves the synthesis, study of properties and applications of various materials (e.g., nanomaterials, composites, functional coatings, biomaterials, technical and traditional ceramics) applied in strategic and emerging areas such as energy, biomedicine, industry 4.0, circular economy solutions, among others. Professors and researchers of DEMaC are, in their totality, members of the Aveiro Institute of Materials – CICECO – (ciceco.ua.pt).


Cooperation with companies is another important aspect of DEMaC. There are more than 50 protocols with companies that have been framing various activities such as the realization of end-of-course curricular internships, laboratory services and collaborative projects financed directly by companies or with the support of operational programs of Portugal 2020.




ESAD.CR - Escola de Artes e Design das Caldas da Rainha

ESAD.CR opens your world.


The Caldas da Rainha School of Arts and Design – Polytechnic of Leiria, is an education and research institution with a broad international and national recognition. Founded in 1990, on the necessity of forming excellent designers and artists for the regional and national ceramics industry.


ESAD.CR is located in Caldas da Rainha, a city in the central Atlantic coast of Portugal, close to Lisbon. A region of great economic and cultural development, with an historical tradition of wellbeing. It has privileged access to the whole country. It is also a city of arts – Caldas da Rainha has a creative, pleasant and thriving environment.


At ESAD.CR, the focus of the teaching and learning environment is the student. Through a hands-on approach, project development and materialization of concepts, oriented by critical, ecological and humanistic thinking. The conceptually sustained, interdisciplinary, technologically appropriate and creative training model prepares students for the requirements of the present and the future. Personalized teaching and learning model, up-to-date research and attention to emerging professional areas make of ESAD.CR a reference in the national and international scene.


ESAD.CR currently has around 1,600 students, from 31 different nationalities and over 130 faculty composed of experienced professionals, internationally renowned in the most wide-ranging creative areas. The School’s main building is designed and built around studio spaces and workshops, and is a unique project in the context of national artistic education. Its campus is set around four spacious and well-equipped buildings, set between oaks and pines. Its well-equipped laboratories and workshops allow access to the most varied technologies, from the traditional ones like Analog Photography, Printmaking, Silk-screening, Ceramic, Wood or Metal, to the most current ones like Digital Video and Photography, Sound, Digital Printing, Prototyping and 3D Printing or Multimedia.


ESAD.CR offers Undergraduate courses in Fine Arts, Industrial Design, Product Design – Ceramic and Glass, Graphic Design and Multimedia, Interior and Spatial Design, Sound and Image, Theatre and Programming and Cultural Production. This offer includes the master’s degrees in Fine Arts, Product Design, Cultural Management, Graphic Design and Design for Health and Wellbeing. It also offers an interesting range of TeSP (short cycle) courses, in the areas of digital prototyping, graphic production, digital and audio-visual media and multimedia.


ESAD.CR is committed to the integration and personal and professional success of its students in the fields of arts, design and culture. For this, we invest in the permanent development of innovative teaching-learning processes and in the qualification of faculty, and technical and administrative staff.


At ESAD.CR applied research develops with the participation of the Masters courses, in a responsible commitment to the sustainable development of the territory and its communities.


Maintaining a prominent position implies being able to adapt to the demands and complexities of the contemporary world.


ESAD.CR is a School with the world and actively promotes international cooperation.


Know more at: ipleiria.pt/esadcr


Escola de Artes e Design das Caldas da Rainha

MANUEL DA BERNARDA - Arquiteto e industrial

Born in Alcobaça, Manuel da Bernarda is undoubtedly one of the main references of contemporary Portuguese artistic ceramics. As a creative and industrialist, he set out from the beginning of his career on a path that would make him a forerunner of innovation and experimentation applied to ceramic development.


Raised in a family linked to the sector since 1900 and owners of the oldest factory in Alcobaça – Raul da Bernarda & Filhos, Ld.ª – he naturaly followed the family vocation, travelling, however, on his own path. He graduated in Architecture from the Escola Superior de Belas Artes in Lisbon with the aim of gaining knowledge in the area of ​​design whose disciplinary principle he aspired to apply to ceramics.


After completing the degree, he integrates the family factory working as head of the creative area and making the first attempts to subvert the conservative tendency of national production. During this period, he established important partnerships with foreign designers such as the Finnish Miria Toivola. In the beginning of the 1980´s he founded his own factory, Cerâmica São Bernardo, where he forges a design department with a clear strategy of conquering new markets as well as creating a distinctive and contemporary line. He then met Swedish artist Ragnar Lundgreen, who would become a decisive influence on his orientation towards the future.


He ended up giving his contribution by creating innovative pieces of his own, gaining international recognition when he was selected for the Paris Biennial of Contemporary Creation (1987) and for the itinerary of “L´Europe des Ceramistes” (1989).



As an industrialist, he promoted important events and exchanges such as the organization of the “International Ceramics Symposium – Alcobaça ’87” or the recurring artistic residences inside his factory – with great international figures such as Alain and Jean Girel and many others – with the underlying goal of experimenting and linking traditional techniques to artistic creation.


He contributed to teaching as a member of the Advisory Council of the School of Arts and Design of Caldas da Rainha, having taught the Ceramic Design course. Today he maintains a very active role in the defense and promotion of contemporary artistic ceramics, whose merit is widely recognized. He remains as a Creative Director of the factory he founded.



PH - Grupo de Estudos Património Histórico

PH Activities on Ceramics of Caldas


The Historical Heritage Study Group (PH) started to function as a “cultural production unit” of the cooperative “Casa da Cultura” in 1990, having become an autonomous association, headquartered in the Chapel of S. Sebastião, in January 1993. The idea, which brought together a group of young people interested in historical research, came from João B. Serra and more than the defense of heritage, it aimed at its careful and rigorous study.

PH’s first event was linked to ceramics and consisted of the catalog and exhibition “50 Years of Cerâmica Caldense. 1930-1980 ”, which was displayed at the Casa da Cultura between July and September 1990.


In 1991, the book Arte e Indústria na Cerâmica Caldense (1853-1977) was published, which brought together a set of articles, by João B. Serra.


The year 1993 was particularly fruitful in activities related to ceramics: the association’s logo was born from the hand of the sculptor José Aurélio, which gave rise to the multiple of stoneware and metal art, launched at the José Malhoa museum; the work Paredes de Louça: Façade tiles from Caldas da Rainha, by Margarida Araújo and Joaquim António Silva was published and its release was marked by the creation and offering of the “PH” tile by ceramist Ferreira da Silva; the exhibition “Ceramics by Eduardo Constantino” took place in the Chapel of São Sebastião; the exhibition and catalog of photographs Arts of fire, wisdom of men: a traditional pottery in the municipality of Óbidos, by Eduardo Constantino and Joaquim António Silva was inaugurated in Óbidos.


These dynamics culminated in the realization of the “Colloquium on the History of Modern and Contemporary Ceramics”, in 1996, in partnership with CENCAL. This event gathered at the José Malhoa Museum dozens of lecturers, in addition to a large number of participants. That same year, the association published the book by Herculano Elias, Traditional Ceramics Techniques from Caldas da Rainha.


Through the signing of a cooperation protocol with the municipality, it was possible to occupy new headquarters, a set of three rooms in the USRL building, to which the PH moved in early 2015. Under the “Caldas Cidade Cerâmica” program, of which PH is a partner, the theme of ceramics reappeared, and the following initiatives took place between 2016 and 2017: the organization of the exhibition “Animals in Cerâmica Caldense. Collection of João Maria Ferreira”, at the Ceramics Museum; the publishing of the book Cerâmica das Caldas in the 20th century: A chronology; the creation and publishing of the book Ferreira da Silva: work in Public Space, coordinated by Isabel Xavier with work in photography done by João Martins Pereira; the creation and maintenance of the collection work, scanning and organization of the “Center for Studies and Documentation of Contemporary Ceramics Ferreira da Silva”, extended to other 20th century potters from Caldas da Rainha, which is still ongoing.

In October 2017, the association submitted a request for the classification of Ferreira da Silva’s work “As Quatro Estações” to DGPC. In 2018, following a request for clarification by the DGPC, additional documentation was sent, warning about the quality of the work and its author, as well as the state of degradation in which it was. The book Ferreira da Silva: Work in Public Space was also sent. In March 2020, a set of DGPC documents arrived at the headquarters of the PH among which there was a decision  to file the request for classification based on “the temporal proximity for the due assessment” of the work, despite the favourable opinions of its technicians who highlighted the “authenticity, originality, uniqueness, exemplarity of the work, the genius of the respective creator”. The PH then questioned that decision, sending a letter to the DGPC, accompanied by various expert opinions on the value of the work, and the book by João B. Serra, meanwhile edited by ESAD CR, Artist in Search of His History. Luís Ferreira da Silva. Currently, a brochure is being prepared with the result of the inventory and research work on façade tiles in Caldas da Rainha, by Cláudia Emanuel, in addition to pursuing other lines of research on the subject of ceramics.


Know more at: phcaldas.pt


Grupo de Estudos Património HistóricoGrupo de Estudos Património Histórico

SPCV - Sociedade Portuguesa de Cerâmica e Vidro

Sociedade Portuguesa de Cerâmica e Vidro


After some informal meetings and exchange of ideas between people linked to the ceramics and glass sectors in Portugal, it was on April 12, 1980, in the former Department of Ceramic and Glass Engineering of the University of Aveiro, that a meeting took place that would be the starting point for the constitution of the Portuguese Society of Ceramics and Glass.


The Portuguese Society of Ceramics and Glass, which abbreviated the acronym SPCV is a Portuguese non-profit association that aims to promote ceramics and glass in the scientific, technological, artistic, didactic and cultural fields.


Over these decades of existence, SPCV has worked to bring together all those who are interested in the development of ceramics and glass sciences and related areas, stimulating the research and teaching of ceramics and glass in Portugal, promoting congresses, seminars, colloquia, study visits, training and recycling courses and other actions of technical and scientific interest , establishing contacts with national and foreign scientific societies and joining international societies and federations of their specialty, being represented in congresses and other scientific meetings.


SPCV has been a member of the European Ceramics Society (ECERS) since 1988 and has been a member of its Permanent Executive Board since 2017.


In 2015 SPCV created the Faria Frasco Award, paying tribute to the one who was its first president, Engineer Alberto Fernandes Faria Frasco. The Prize, which is also monetary, aims to encourage the production of original projects of young researchers, in the area of Ceramics and Glass, and is intended to award an unprecedented work, developed in national territory, of a technological or scientific character whose industrial application is promising and that has not been awarded in any other competition.


Know us more at: spcv.org.pt



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