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by Marta Leite Castro

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MAVC Studio

With several international awards, the three-dimensional tile has reached various countries through MAVC Studio.

Maria Ana Vasco Costa’s journey was both innovative and simple. Focusing on high relief tiles and stone relief sculpture, she decided to explore this variant of the tile. Taking advantage of the three-dimensionality, she started to experiment patterns using reflections and shadows, instead of ink and paper. She gave rise to her imagination and began to create without knowing the final result.

Maria Ana Vasco Costa still has many projects for the future. It is with conviction that she says: «I aspire to new challenges, to be able to continue creating work that highlights ceramic and tile materials with new geometries and patterns, to be able to explore shapes and sculptures within the line of thought that I have covered so far, participating in exhibitions in the context of visual arts and not just seeing pottery as a craft.»

By creating different dynamics in the façades, the three-dimensional tile is transforming the spaces in which it is inserted.

MAVC Studio, although relatively recent, is attracting a lot of attention and curiosity, growing at a fast pace. Its work develops interventions based on the tradition of decorative arts applied to architecture. Investing on investigation and research, it also embarks on the field of sculpture, developing projects with factories, especially in Alcobaça.

The creative work is endless and it is in the studio that everything happens. The innovation results from the ideas she has and although the artworks are produced at a distance, the prototypes are developed in the studio, based on exclusively made work. It is possible to follow the various stages of production, due to the oven that exists in the same space.

Maria Ana Vasco Costa is fond of traditional techniques and likes manual labor, despite the constant search for more innovative and sustainable techniques, using recycled materials. It is in the studio that she develops much of her projection work and where she aspires to find different approaches to create her patterns.

When she started to develop projects related to tiles, she did not identify with the traditional shape of the square, and decided to bet on the rhombus. That was how the simple but profound revolution in her tile work came about. Working in stoneware and using the simplest glaze, with which she identifies, she designs a different puzzle for each project. The fact that the studio does not have certifications is not an impediment as she works with factories that do, which for certain markets is an essential asset.

In 2016, Maria Ana Vasco Costa won the Surface Design award with her first wall made with rhombus tiles, a panel in the LOCO restaurant, by architect João Paulo Aguiar. The following year, already presenting some innovations in tiles, she won once again with a wall in Ericeira. In 2018, she won with two façades: one in Madragoa and the other in rua Presidente Arriaga.

Currently her work is spread over several countries, including France, United Kingdom, Italy, and Brazil, and is exhibited in both public and private collections. She also participated in exhibitions in China and the United States of America. In addition to the innovative concept that her products present, when exploring the three-dimensional tile, there was another curious evolution: the way her work reached the various countries was through contacts on the artist’s social networks, not counting on representatives abroad.

She already has several projects spread across Lisbon and aims to work in Porto and continue to transform the landscapes of Portuguese cities. She feels like a Portuguese ambassador when she works abroad and that is why she still wants to be present in the European market. Instead of the international trade fairs, she decided to dedicate herself to more exclusive fairs with galleries and artists in Brussels.

The target of MAVC Studio is essentially people that are interested in art, especially architects, who are a very important link to the final customers, and also interior designers. They are people who value the commitment, effort and dedication that this work requires, always focused on the customer. They are loyal to the tradition of tiles and ceramics but aspire to find something more innovative and exclusive. They see their work as a new interpretation of the tile, where the three-dimensional tiles play a fundamental role – the studio’s brand image.

Maria Ana Vasco Costa stands out for the way she creates new patterns and, with each project, evolves in her personal work of studying pattern and geometry.

With regard to business customers, the focus is on hotels, such as Vila Lara, in the Algarve, and Marriott, in Óbidos. But she also invested in other areas, such as the LOCO restaurant, in Lisbon. The façades of buildings throughout Lisbon are giving a new life to Portuguese streets.


Maria Ana Vasco Costa was born in 1981 in the city of Lisbon and after finishing an architecture course in 2004, she moved to London for four years. A few years later she completed the ceramics degree by Ar.Co, Centro de Arte e Comunicação Visual, where she is currently responsible for the Ceramic Department.

While undertaking the ceramics degree she worked on the idea of ​​establishing a studio, which would revolve around her artistic work and the development of patterns and tiles. She stood out for the development of three-dimensional tiles, while finding a balance between Portuguese tradition and innovation.

In 2016 she took the first steps to establish herself, by finding a fixed studio to develop projects while she was an independent worker. Three years later, MAVC Studio comes about – where she directs her work, as if it were an orchestra, with people in different places working on different artworks.

Along this journey, Maria Ana Vasco Costa established ceramics as the essential center of her work, always taking into account how her projects are inserted in their surroundings. With architectural bases, most of her creations are directly linked to this field, both the interior walls and façades.

Still, her work does not close itself in architecture. Over time, she has been expanding her field of creation to sculptural objects and even paintings, with ceramics as a constant source of inspiration.

Examples of this are her work “Glaze Drawings”, the exhibition “Água d’Alto” ​​at the Municipal Art Gallery, in Almada, and the exhibition “Veículos Longo” at Casa-Atelier Vieira da Silva.

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