In the following conversation, Filipa Fortunato reflects on subjects that range from balance, meditation, macrobiotic food, luck and the element of chance, to dreams come true, the importance of sharing, family, and the passion for cooking. She also tells us about her relationship with her bulthaup kitchen.
Filipa Fortunato, the director of Hotel Casa Fortunato since it opened in 2018, was born in Lisbon and studied at the School of Architecture in her city, where she met her husband, António Costa Lopes. She is the mother of four children: Júlia, age 17; Joaquim, 16; Mercês, 13; and Sofia, age 6.
Balance as a way of life
Ever since I was a child, I have always been searching for balance. Being diabetic, I learned that taking good care of myself in the midst of my daily life was a must. Yoga and meditation gave me a way of energizing my soul and balancing my day. Food is very important for balancing my diabetes and the macrobiotic philosophy really improved my well-being; focusing on preparing meals and cooking them became a passion I had not been aware of earlier on.
Architecture educates the eye
I am an aesthetic person. I search for beautiful people, beautiful places, beautiful music –beauty inspires me. Architecture has a cultural and historic basis that I adore; it shows and clarifies to us the “reason why” of places, of experiences, so that we can understand the entire process by observing the final result. This is what I love, the process! The architectural basis that I acquired in architecture school gave me the knowledge I needed for developing new projects in all the areas of my life. I love the process of giving life to a project from beginning to end.
Building our luck
I believe that we build our luck by embracing challenges and by the energy we devote to making our dreams come true. António and I always wanted to have a small hotel where we could share our objects, our furniture, our stories, and our lifestyle with our guests. This fantasy started to come true one day when António got home saying, “Filipa, the architecture office is moving to another place. Why don’t we use the building for the hotel?" I promptly said “Yes!!! Let’s do it!”. By chance, we were given the opportunity to have this beautiful building, but we built our luck ourselves from the moment when António set up his office there. Then we decided to change our life embracing this hospitality project of Casa Fortunato.
A hotel for sharing
We have been married for 21 years and over all this time we have been collecting pieces of art, objects, furniture, lamps and other things that we love. Each one of these pieces has a story behind it, either a family story or a personal story full of memories. We love the storytelling of each one of them. It’s like visiting the family’s hidden genealogy.
Also, sharing is something António and I take very seriously. We believe that “everything you don’t give gets spoiled”, so we feel fortunate to be able to share what we love with those who come and visit us at Casa Fortunato. We believe that these emotions and memories full of stories are what make Casa Fortunato a unique and special space.
The balance between vocation and family
From our experience as guests, we realized that to really know the inner workings of a hotel, the director has to live there for 24 hours; so for us it was obvious that we had to live in Casa Fortunato to achieve the quality and excellence we wanted for our project. We wanted to live our dream 24/7 to know our guests, their needs, their expectations –and fulfill them one hundred percent.
Having guests at home gradually became part of our lives. It’s a way of living: sharing our lifestyle, sharing our plans as a family, sharing, sharing, sharing. It's like travelling without leaving home. It´s a daily challenge for the six of us, but in the end it's worth it and we achieve our goal. On the other hand, upstairs, in the attic, we have a private world, a part of the house that only we know, a place to which only the family has access.
The experience of cooking in a bulthaup kitchen
Cooking in a bulthaup kitchen for the first time was amazing! Wow!!! Feeling the textures of the materials, the organization of the kitchen, the details of every single piece, the way you open and close the doors and drawers in such a smooth way, all the tools that are so ergonomically designed… All this, plus the aesthetic of every single element gives a special flavor to every dish I cook.
The best kitchen for a dream come true
We discovered bulthaup when we were university students, although at the time having a bulthaup kitchen was something we couldn't imagine we would ever achieve. Yet when our dream materialized in Casa Fortunato, we knew what kitchen we had to have. Given the concept behind the project, it wouldn't have made sense to have a kitchen other than the one we consider the best –a bulthaup!
Photographer: Adrian Pedrazas Profumo