About First Stone

First Stone is an international experimental research programme exploring the potential of Portuguese Stone, focussing on its uses, material properties and distinctive characteristics. The programme draws together industry and design through the development of new uses for this material, raising awareness about its specificities and the industry it encapsulates.

At the core of this programme are various architects and product or graphic designers, as well as other international protagonists within the field of cultural creation. They have been invited to develop work that emphasizes this material in both its raw and processed form, as well as the places from where it has been extracted: the stone quarries, their socio-cultural surroundings and their role in the landscape and environment.

First Stone has 3 main projects — Resistance, Still Motion and Common Sense — which were internationally presented in Venice, Milan, Weil am Rhein, São Paulo and London. The programme was also complemented by a documentary about the fruition of the project and the creation of 3 Apps for mobile digital platforms.




This project focuses on the powerful resistance of certain Portuguese stones. Using this characteristic as a differentiating factor, several architects were invited to develop projects that explore the physical and mechanical characteristics of Portuguese stones, along with their unique beauty and colorations.

Resistance is divided into two phases, where the second phase continues the initial research undergone in the first, introducing a set of new types of stone and increasing the approaches and possibilities of the results. This phase also marks the consolidation of ideas, where original concepts are now completely developed by the 5 architects invited for the first phase. A new group of 5 architects is added to take on new research, designing and producing new projects that enrich the exploration of new uses for Portuguese stone.

The first phase of Resistance was presented in Venice, during the 15th International Architecture Exhibition of the Venice Biennale, and the second presentation took place in Weil am Rhein during Art Basel 2017, showing the results of both phases of development.


Still Motion

This project brings together several protagonists from the field of graphic design, exploring the potential and diversity of Portuguese stone, focussing especially on its more visual characteristics of colour and texture.

The designers create drawings that are then produced in stone using inlaying techniques and exploring the textures and chromatic palette of the selected stones through their transparencies and possible finishing.

The project is guided by two central outlines: the exploration of the idea of beauty and its presence in public or private spaces, and the creation of images that can have several readings, according to, for example, perspective or light.

Still Motion was presented in Italy during the Salone del Mobile di Milano and the Milan Art Fair in 2017.

Still Motion

Common Sense

Focussing on product design, Common Sense is a project in which a group of international designers is invited to work on ideas for objects and utensils that explore the potential of Portuguese Stone and that are tailored for everyday life in the 21st Century.

It calls for the design of pieces that are simple, where function is easily perceptible – aiming to achieve what is normally called common sense – while also calling for pieces that channel a dimension of beauty and delicacy. The use of these objects is targeted towards domestic and personal settings, as well as for work and public spaces.

Common Sense was presented in São Paulo at the Lina Bo Bardi Glass House and at the MADE design fair.





This is a comprehensive and thorough website about Portuguese stone that represents an important tool in researching the potential of the practical applications of this material. It presents not only the technical characteristics of the stones and where they can be found, but will also contain detailed and updated information about the industry surrounding this material. The website also follows all the developments of the First Stone programme.

Digital Applications

Over the course of the First Stone programme, 3 free applications for mobile digital platforms will be published to provide more information. The first will focus on the research projects, the second on Portuguese stone and a third will focus on stories and interesting facts about stone in Portugal. Allowing for a more appealing approach to research, viewing and information manipulation with an aspect of entertainment, these digital apps stand as a platform for better communicating content to the various interested parties: industry, designers and clients.


A documentary film will be produced in partnership with RTP, exploring the various projects of the First Stone programme and providing an understanding about the various aspects of Portuguese stone. It will delve into the existence of the stones in nature, tracing the extraction process and the multiple possibilities for processing, presented through innovative ideas and the development of specific projects. The documentary will be presented to the public close to the conclusion of the programme, towards the end of 2017.



With the High Patronage of His Excellency the President of the Portuguese Republic, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa


Production and Manufacturing Companies
Airemármores / Comarmore / Dimpomar / ETMA / Ezequeil Francisco Alves / Fátima Stones / Formas de Pedra / Gárgula Gótica / Julipedra / LSI Stone / Marfilpe / Mármores da Granja / Mármores Galrão / Mocapor / MVC-Mármoers de Alcobaça / Solancis / Solubema