A commercial milestone, Expo 98 put Portugal on the map as a forward-thinking nation – we look at its legacy.
This year, Portugal marks the 25th anniversary of Expo 98, a momentous trade fair that left an indelible mark on the nation’s landscape and culture. This world-class exhibition, also known as the Lisbon World Exposition, brought together nations from around the globe to showcase their achievements, innovations and heritage. Parque das Nacoes, the site of Expo 98, experienced a remarkable transformation, evolving into a vibrant neighbourhood that continues to thrive today.
A glimpse into the past
Expo 98 was a seminal moment for Portugal, marking its emergence onto the world stage as a modern, forward-thinking nation. With its theme “The Oceans: A Heritage for the Future,” celebrated the nation’s maritime history while emphasising the importance of sustainable development and environmental stewardship. The exhibition showcased country pavilions each displaying their cultural treasures, technological advancements, and visions for the future.
The Expo 98 site, Parque das Nacoes, underwent a remarkable transformation that turned it into a thriving neighbourhood and a testament to the lasting impact of the exhibition. The iconic Oceanario, designed by US architect Peter Chermayeff, serves as a symbol of Expo 98 and continues to attract visitors with its innovative design and world-leading marine conservation programmes. From the iconic Santiago Calatrava train station to the fascinating trail of public sculpture and art from the likes of Anthony Gormley, Bordalo II, Fernanda Fragateiro, Manuel Rosa, Carsten Holler, there is a discovery at every turn.
This harmonious blend of modern architecture, public spaces, and recreational areas makes it a lively hub for locals and tourists alike.
Martinhal Residences Lisbon: Honouring the legacy
Martinhal Residences in Lisbon opened on the eve of the 25th anniversary of Expo 98, and as well as being a destination branded residences and hotel project aims to pay homage to this historic event and its enduring influence on Parque das Nacoes. Through continued collaboration and engagement with local artists, Martinhal Residences wants to create an ongoing dialogue with the significance of Expo 98 and its contribution to the neighbourhood’s cultural fabric.
One of the area’s most notable sculptures is the much-loved Iberian Lynx by Portuguese artist Bordalo II. This towering sculpture serves as a powerful symbol of the neighbourhood’s renewal. Martinhal Residences features several special commissions by Bordalo II, including a striking feline pair in the lobby and a colourful friend draped among the decorative vines and greenery of The Terrace restaurant.
In addition to the established art nearby, the area boasts an intriguing tapestry of street art. Every two years, thousands of international artists apply to have their art grace the city’s buildings. The neighbourhood, from Parque das Nacoes to Marvila, is home to some of the most memorable street art in the city, adding more colour and interest to the fabric of this contemporary district.
For the Martinhal team supporting the arts in Portugal is not just about showcasing local talent and promoting a creative economy; it is also about establishing a sense of place and fostering a sense of community. Many of the artists and craftspeople, such as Kruella D’Enfer, Maria Imaginário, Tamara Alves, and Pedro Batista, have been collaborating with the brand for over a decade. The annual Martinhal Luxury, Art, and Design Weekend in Sagres brings together brands, artists, craftspeople, and designers for workshops and to showcase Portuguese brands and creative ventures.
Every aspect of Martinhal Residences is infused with artistic excellence. The diverse range of artistic expressions, from painting to illustration, from tapestries to sculptures, offers a captivating and immersive living experience.
Similarly, Martinhal Residences wants to honour the commitment to nature and consideration to the environment, aligning with Expo 98’s theme of sustainable development. The Residences incorporate green building techniques, energy-efficient systems, green façades, and eco-friendly materials into its design and operations.
Embracing the future
Portugal’s Expo 98, in Lisbon’s Parque das Nacoes, not only celebrated the nation’s maritime heritage but propelled it into the future with a focus on sustainability, innovation, and creativity. Martinhal Residences Lisbon looks forward to embracing the next chapter for the city and contributing to the vibrant legacy of Parque das Nacoes.