It is a fact that most of Lisbon’s Historic Shops are concentrated in the Baixa/Chiado area of town, which says a lot about how the city grew, from a centre we now refer to as “historic” towards the periphery, adding urban and commercial rings, which, with time, themselves became new centres. Campo de Ourique can be considered one of those centres beyond the centre, an autonomous neighbourhood with a life of its own that has made it renowned within the city. That renown can be attributed in particular to what is known informally as its “neighbourhood life”. It contributes considerably to maintaining the diversity and quality of the traditional shopping culture.
Thus, in this more suburban context of butcher shops and grocery stores and workshops where manual bookbinding is kept alive, and other little businesses, one also finds here the Panificação Mecânica bakery, opened in 1942. Located in a listed building, its three floors clad in azulejo tiles, iron-framed shop window and arch-shaped upper windows are all aspects that make it well worth a visit. Its origins go back to the beginning of the last century: the first records date from 1902, when the Companhia de Panificação Lisbonense submitted to the City Council its plans to install a building housing ovens in the courtyard. Later the “Nacional” bakery took over the premises and turned it into a full bakery. Later still, it was acquired by another company and took on the name it goes by today. The business has never stopped growing since. Today Panificação Mecânica sustains forty-one employees and is more than just a bakery, as it also provides pastries and full meals. The original shop space would not be sufficient for all that, as space for the actual baking is also needed, both for the direct sales to customers and the deliveries to other establishments.
The interior stands out for its Art Nouveau inspiration, including tiles from the Fábrica Bordalo Pinheiro. Also noteworthy is the stucco on the ceiling and the harmony and balance achieved between the iron, wood, glass and the aforementioned tiles. The tile motifs are botanical, as is characteristic for Art Nouveau, with a focus on wheat – an allusion to the bread-making activity, for which this bakery is considered a mecca in Lisbon.
Bakery and patisserie, in-house production