Lh Exclusive Designer Interview with Inês Gavinho

In 2010 Inês Gavinho joined the Lisbon-based GAVINHO Architecture & Interiors bringing a new dimension to the renowned business: the architecture. Founded by her mother, Maria Gavinho, in 1990, today Inês carries on the GAVINHO legacy as the creative director while standing out for her unique vision. A vision where timeless design, quality materials, and harmony are essential.

Specialized in the luxury segment for private residences, developments, and company environments. GAVINHO Architecture & Interiors creates and redesigns interior spaces with an emphasis on customization, contemporary style, and top-quality materials. This commitment to quality and the originality of each project are the cornerstone reasons for GAVINHO’s success and international expansion.

Read on to meet Inês Gavinho and explore the beautiful designs created by her and her team

Lh Exclusive Interview with Inês Gavinho

Inês Gavinho, creative director gavinho architecture and interiors
Inês Gavinho

Love Happens: Interiors and architecture have always been present in your life thanks to your mother, founder of GAVINHO in 1990. Can you tell us about how her interiors make you feel?

Inês Gavinho: When you grow up surrounded by a reality in which detail, care, and harmony are in constant presence, that shapes you. The reality of design in Portugal has changed radically since 1990, however, my mother’s vision was already very avant-garde. Everything was thought of as a whole. My mother remains someone who professionally focuses on simplicity, balanced with the introduction of iconic objects in spaces, and that always made me feel that I had to be in constant creation and evolution to follow her vision.

Lh: What led up to your decision to pursue design and join GAVINHO in 2010?

Inês: It is something that is inseparable from me, and that has grown with me over the years. The decision was something natural, accompanied by my training path that gave me additional tools so that I could evolve and go further. It is a passion, something that makes me feel whole.

Cascais Penthouse living room by Ines Gavinho architecture and interiors
A penthouse in Cascais, Portugal

Lh: Some people think taking over a legacy is easier than having to start from scratch. However, this is not always the case. How do you see yourself fitting into the future of GAVINHO?

Inês: In fact, a legacy brings with it the responsibility of reaching higher goals. When you start from a higher level you have to raise yourself to that level, because all of us actually start from scratch. It is as if you started a race from the beginning, but whoever accompanies you were already halfway through.

The way I see myself at Gavinho is to complete a project that already has a very well-defined direction, to which I have contributed in recent years.

Loft at Campo Mártires da Pátria
A loft at Campo Mártires da Pátria

Lh: In an interview with Essential Lisboa you said, “I like to think that architecture done from the inside out and then from the outside in again is a more balanced, more complete architecture and, therefore, of a higher quality.” I love this line of thinking! Tell us more about this concept and how you incorporate it into your projects?

Inês: Architecture is a very complete discipline and should be seen as an exercise in constant aggregation. Designing an architectural object with a certain exterior aesthetic, or with a certain layout is not at all sufficient to obtain a result that fulfills its functions. The spaces, whatever their use, are lived as a whole, but we spend more time inside, interacting with architectural details on a human scale, which are within our reach.

A penthouse veranda at Legacy
A penthouse veranda at Legacy

That is why I like to think about how the space will be used, how it will interact with every inch of the building, and relate these definitions to the outside and bring these new references to the interior again. I usually joke with our clients and explain that our level of design reaches the detail of thinking about their underwear drawer. The relationship that this detail has with the whole project cannot be overlooked, which is what happens constantly in architecture. If I design a phenomenal house but the interior does not fulfill the day-to-day functions of those who use the space, will I have done a good job? In my opinion, it is an incomplete job.

Lh: You recently transformed the interiors of the iconic Hotel Cidadela for the new luxury condominiums, Legacy, in Cascais, Portugal. Tell us about this gorgeous project!

Inês: The Legacy project, created by the real estate developer Reformosa, will be a unique condominium in Cascais, not only for transforming the old Hotel Cidadela and the surrounding area but also for the quality and lifestyle it will offer to its residents. We developed the interiors of the residential area inspired by the history of the place and the magnificent views overlooking the bay of Cascais.

The social living room of one of the townhouses at Legacy designed by ines gavinho
The social living room of one of the townhouses at Legacy

It was important for us to have created a project that will be a benchmark for the luxury residential housing market in Portugal by taking the concept of luxury to an entirely new level through its contemporary architecture, unique interiors, and concierge service.

The outdoor patio of one of the townhouses at Legacy designed by ines gavinho
The outdoor patio of one of the townhouses at Legacy

In all the units – 10 townhouses and 28 apartments – attention to detail is the common thread, reflected through details such as the customized doors, bathrooms fitted with stone, and ample windows which bring the lively outside atmosphere inside.

white marble Master suite bathroom at Legacy
Master suite bathroom at Legacy

Lh: Portugal holds a special place in our hearts as Love Happens’ publisher is the Portuguese decor brand KOKET. If you were to select a piece from KOKET to design around which piece would you pick, and why? 

Inês: The Intuition dining table. The fluidity of the design of this table would be a fantastic reason to create a house with loose and organic shapes.

Intuition Dining Table by KOKET
Intuition Dining Table by KOKET

Lh: Many interior designers aspire to have their own product collections, do you have any interest in this? Why?

Inês: Yes, it is one of my goals. I would like to design two annual collections with limited editions. I am very experimental and I believe that having exclusive pieces with unique materials is the true expression of luxury and sophistication. As we see in fashion, each year has two collections. I would like to bring this dynamic and renewal to the design.

Dining room in one of the townhouses at Legacy designed by inves gavinho architecture and interiors
Dining room in one of the townhouses at Legacy

Lh: Now that you have established yourself at the helm of GAVINHO, what three pieces of advice would you give to a young designer looking to make it?

Inês: Never stop evolving, trying to be above expectations, and dedicating yourself body and soul to what you do. If that desire doesn’t exist, look for your place within a company and be exceptionally good at what you choose.

Lh: What’s next for Inês Gavinho?

Inês: With my restless spirit there is always something new to happen. We are preparing new things for Gavinho, and we have some projects that we will present later this year.

A Peek Inside the Fabulous & Inspiring Mind of Inês Gavinho with the Lh Design Questionnaire

What is your idea of perfect happiness?

Being able to share good things with the ones I love.

What is your greatest extravagance?


What do you consider your greatest achievement?

Being happy with what I do.

What profession does your alter ego have?

A sculptor

The project you will never forget.


Legacy residences lobby designed by ines gavinho architecture and interiors
Legacy Residences lobby

Your favorite business tool or resource.


The most timeless design.


The biggest design faux pas.

Thinking you know everything.

Your motto.

Excellence requires (something, someone, someplace…) extraordinary.

Love happens when…

You do what you love.

By Anna Beck Bimba