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vibrant color gradients and patterns bring neglected urban footpaths to life in portugal

‘Escadinhas Footpaths’ by Paulo Moreira Architectures


Paulo Moreira Architectures and Verkron Art Collective use bright colors and fun patterns to transform the network of pedestrian footpaths linking the hilly neighborhood of Monte Xisto to the banks of the River Leça in Matosinhos, Portugal. ‘Escadinhas Footpaths’, developed together with a multidisciplinary team of architects, local builders, artists and an extensive network of partners, demonstrates how low-budget projects can add value to ‘hidden’, neglected urban spaces. The public initiative fills the Portuguese neighborhood with vibrant color gradients radiating a joyful mood with the aim of improving the community’s experience and bringing it closer together.

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repaired steps and handrails

images © Ivo Tavares Studio | @ivotavaresstudio



A COLORFUL network of paths and public spaces


Paulo Moreira Architectures began the first phase of the ‘Escadinhas Footpaths’ project by rehabilitating the steps leading to Rua das Escadinhas, connecting the upper and lower levels of Monte Xisto’s western hill. The team conducted several repairs on the steps and handrail to create a new boundary between the public stairs and private land adjoining them in the form of benches, allowing the staircase to be used as a resting place. The steps were enriched with vibrant color gradients and patterns to bring life to the neighborhood and encourage people to experience the spaces differently. 


Following the path leading to the River Leça, an old ruin was rebuilt and transformed into a seating area surrounded by nature. Small-scale interventions restored the site’s original character, undoing some precarious interventions carried out over the years. The meticulous rehabilitation of the site, which included adding benches in every ‘room’ in the building, has encouraged people to spend time there and transformed it into a place for socializing. 



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resting spots with benches

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colorful semi-private area

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project info:


project title: Escadinhas Footpaths

architecture: Paulo Moreira Architectures

artwork: Verkron Art Collective

location: Matosinhos, Portugal

photography: © Ivo Tavares Studio | @ivotavaresstudio


designboom has received this project from our DIY submissions feature, where we welcome our readers to submit their own work for publication. see more project submissions from our readers here.


edited by: zaha mango | designboom

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