Studio Bongard, Ferragudo
This is somewhere that you can´t really believe actually exists until you visit it for yourself. There is a real feeling of the ‘secret garden’ about it, with sculptures, paintings and tiled pieces hiding among the plants, indoor ponds and in various courtyards and rooms.
The studio of Sylvain Bongard is multifunctional, being used as a gallery and as a place where he works, and you can catch him most days putting the finishing touches to one of his latest creations.
There is a feeling of fantasy from the moment you walk in through the big wooden doors, with Sylvain and Tara welcoming visitors and encouraging them to have a wander around to see if there is anything they fancy buying, or just to see what latest creations have been added to the collections.
What to buy
Throughout the studio there are many large pieces on display, but Sylvain is currently working on smaller pieces that are more affordable, including his small owl, rabbit and chicken sculptures that start from €10. Examples of tiles for fireplaces, swimming pools, bathrooms or as decorative features can be found throughout, as well as drawings of animals created by Tara in the studio.
Why do you like it?
The entire studio is inspirational, and makes you want to go home and create your own magical world. A real hideaway, the studio has some great examples of tiles and clay sculptures, with many pieces taking inspiration from the nature and wildlife of the Algarve.
Sylvain is also more than happy to take on commissions, from creating the tiling for the floor of an entire swimming pool to making small sculptures to specific guidelines.
What could be improved
It would be great if the studio was open during the weekend.
If you fancy trying your hand at creating your own sculpture or tiles, then workshops are available on request at €30 for two hours (minimum of four people per workshop). Sylvain is passionate about his art and is happy to pass on some of the tips he has picked up over the years to both adults and children who want to create something of their own.
Rua Infante D. Henrique 62, Ferragudo, 8400-230. If coming from the direction of Portimão, the studio can be found 200m before entering the village on the left hand side of the road. Look for the tiled green building and the yellow painted wall with the big wooden door.
There are small sculptures available from €10, with the largest pieces costing up to €5,000.
Monday - Friday, 10am until nightfall