Project: CNAD – Cabo Verde

Type: Collaboration
Architect in Charge: RamosCastellano Arquitectos
Program: Public Building – Museum
Client: Centro National de Artesanato e Design (CNAD)

Size: 1500 m2
Location: Mindelo, Sao Vicente, Cabo Verde
Status: Completed


The CNAD (Centro Nacional de Artesanal e Design) project in Mindelo, Cabo Verde, emerged as a collaboration between our team and the renowned Ramos Castellano Architects. The objective of the project was to transform an existing center for artisanal and design into a museum that would exude a global allure. The result was a stunning architectural masterpiece that celebrated the rich cultural heritage of Cabo Verde while incorporating innovative design elements.

The museum was meticulously divided into four distinct spaces, each serving a unique purpose. The two gallery spaces were designed to showcase a diverse range of artworks, crafts, and design pieces, offering visitors a captivating journey through Cabo Verdean artistic expressions. The even space, complemented by a terrace, provided a flexible area for events, performances, and gatherings, fostering a vibrant atmosphere within the museum.

In addition to exhibition spaces, the CNAD also featured an artist-in-residence area, providing a creative sanctuary for artists to work, collaborate, and immerse themselves in the vibrant artistic scene of Mindelo. The offices were strategically integrated to facilitate the administrative and operational aspects of the museum, ensuring smooth functioning behind the scenes.

One of the most distinctive and eye-catching aspects of the CNAD was its facade, which was cladded with approximately 2500 recycled barrel lids. This ingenious choice of materiality transformed the narrative surrounding barrels, traditionally associated with poverty and the periphery. By repurposing and elevating these discarded objects, the design conveyed a powerful message about sustainability, resourcefulness, and the transformative power of art.

The color combination of the barrel lids corresponded to a song composed by the famous Vasco Martins, adding a poetic and musical dimension to the architectural design. This integration of music, color, and form created a harmonious and immersive experience, engaging visitors on multiple sensory levels.

Our team played a vital role in transforming the initial idea into a concrete design and execution drawings. We worked closely with Ramos Castellano Architects to refine and materialize the vision, ensuring that every detail was carefully considered and executed. The construction phase was carried out by other team members of Ramos Castellano, bringing the design to life.

The CNAD project successfully revitalized the existing center for artisanal and design, elevating it to the status of a world-class museum. The innovative design, incorporation of recycled materials, and thoughtful spatial organization all contributed to the creation of a culturally significant and visually stunning space.

The CNAD museum stands as a testament to the power of collaboration, creativity, and transformative design. It provides a platform for the celebration and preservation of Cabo Verdean artistry while inspiring visitors from around the world. This project serves as a beacon of artistic excellence and cultural pride, establishing CNAD as a significant landmark in Mindelo and beyond.