reversible rainbow barrel lids jazz up facade of national arts center building in cape verde

reversible rainbow barrel lids jazz up facade of national arts center building in cape verde

Ramos Castellano Arquitectos in mindelo


Eloisa Ramos and Moreno Castellano of Ramos Castellano Arquitectos had a chat with the director of the Centro Nacional de Artesanato e Design (National Arts, Crafts, and Design Center) in Mindelo. He asked the duo what came to their minds when they thought of renovating the historic colonial house where the center is planted.


The main building ends in a patio, followed by an adjoining old building on the rear. Ramos and Castellano saw the property and, almost instantly, reverted to the style they knew best: brightening up the exterior to counter and complement the white interior. The architects’ response was to hang colorful barrel lids on the facade of the building, making sure they were reversible to let the sunlight and air in and out with ease.

ramos castellano arquitectos
images courtesy of Ramos Castellano Arquitectos | photos by Sergio Pirrone



A limelight stealer, the restored and renovated National Arts, Crafts, and Design Center paints the landscape of traditional buildings and houses with vivid colors. The architects took care of the historic old house adjoining the main building and went through the restoration.


Aong with the open-air patio and the new building on the back, the restoration team thoroughly spruced up the rooms and spaces as much as they could. For the colorful barrel lids, the architects drew from the archipelago’s trade history, stating that imports come in containers and barrels, from clothing to food. 


‘Thus the barrels are used for everything, as containers and as materials with many uses. Our approach was to knock down the walls and open the patio to the city and to use those barrels caps and create a detached skin that covers the entire museum, paying homage to this simple object that is so entrenched into the lives of the people of Mindelo,’ the architects write.

ramos castellano arquitectos



Double ventilation with barrel lids


Through the reversible barrel lids, Ramos Castellano Arquitectos places a double-ventilated facade that guarantees a passive control over the internal temperature without air conditioning. The caps can rotate like window blinds, allowing the modulation of the internal light and airflow. The photovoltaic panels take care of energy generation around the building


‘Like in the other projects, the purpose was to work with the fewer resources as possible and with the artisans of the center in a self-built project using recycled materials coming from workshops. The idea is to bring out the heart of the city and pay homage to a material used in the periphery,’ the architects write.

reversible rainbow barrel lids jazz up facade of national arts center building in cape verde


ramos castellano arquitectos

ramos castellano arquitectos ramos castellano arquitectos



a diverse digital database that acts as a valuable guide in gaining insight and information about a product directly from the manufacturer, and serves as a rich reference point in developing a project or scheme.

designboom will always be there for you

milan, new york, beijing, tokyo,  since 1999