This month took us to the Ria Formosa Natural Park - one of the most amazing places of the Algarve, not only for its variety of landscapes but also because of its unique location. Recently elected as one of the 7 Natural Wonders of Portugal, this is one of three protected areas and a unique coastal lagoon which is constantly changing due to the continuous movement of winds, currents and tides. It is here that we went in search of inspiration for our new range.
Classified as a Natural Park in 1987, the Ria Formosa encompasses an area of about 18 000 hectares, and is protected from the sea by 5 barrier-islands and 2 peninsulas. This wondrous area extends along the leeward coast of the Algarve through the municipalities of Loulé, Faro, Olhão, Tavira and Vila Real de Santo António, making it an areas of world-wide interest defined by the Ramsar Convention.
A paradise for birdwatchers, the Ria Formosa is considered an important bird area (IBA) and is part of the Natura 2000 Network. This is one of the most important areas for aquatic birds in Portugal, hosting on a regular basis more than 20,000 birds during the wintering period. The area is also very important as stop-over point in the migration routes between Europe and Africa and it provides shelter for rare species in Portugal such as the Purple Swamphen, the symbol of this Natural Park and for other emblematic species like the colourful flamingos. You will see some of this reflected in our range for 2016.
We were lucky enough to see a flock (or actually a Flamboyance) of Flamingoes in the Southern Algarve. These birds are black and white like our Swanson and Shangra lamp. There were many different water birds including the delicate Avocet. The delicate young birds inspired the Chic shade - pale, sheer and iridescent which is so in vogue this season.