Exuberant socialite Genoveva (a.k.a. Veva) de Lima Mayer lived in this house with her husband, ambassador Rui Ulrich. She was the soul of the house and loved to entertain, throwing all kinds of wild parties: one was African-themed with servants in blackface, on another she made a grand entrance in a feather costume on a swan-shaped chariot. Although the couple was in line with the Fascist regime, the house doesn’t denote an ounce of the official taste of the times. There is not a drop of frugal austerity or minimal classicism here; in fact it’s pretty much the opposite.
We mentioned swans… there are also butterflies and scallops, the three motifs which are repeated ad nauseam throughout. Conceived as a stage set for her riotous parties, the interiors are all smoke and mirrors – quite literally, as today you can still smoke inside, especially during their weekly dinners,
open to members only (it is now a non-profit organization dedicated to keeping the house and its memories).
If there is nothing too cerebral or haute about these spaces, experiencing them together is great fun especially as you can sit on all the furniture and touch everything. Here we show the cinematic staircase, complete with all kinds of decorative faux-paint, from gold paint to marbling.
Casa Veva de Lima / Palácio Ulrich, Rua Silva Carvalho 238, Lisboa
Update on June 2, 2014: we were informed the dinners are in fact open, not only to members (whose numbers are very limited) – but to habitual guests (convivas) and their guests. Once you have been invited by a conviva and come to one of the dinners, you yourself become a conviva – and you can come on your own to any other dinner you may wish, sit in the furniture and smoke in the library as you sip your brandy; you can also invite a new friend – who, on their turn, will become a conviva, and so on! For more information, please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org