The clock is ticking: there are 58 days left for Bolhão to return to Porto, this time forever

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Anyone who knows Bolhão, recognizes it. There it is the layout, many of the original tiles, the recovered flowers and dentillions, the staircase, the streets and the entire original facade. After the rehabilitation works, and 58 days until opening, the Mercado do Bolhão (Bolhão Market) lacks only small details. And we also lack the smells, the colours, the sounds. And the people. On September 15, the bell rings again in the heart of the city. This Time Forever.

On the day that the Municipality presented the new mark of the centenary space of sales and meetings, an affective campaign, created by Studio Eduardo Aires, which values the memory of Bolhão and reaffirms the guarantor of the identity of this symbol of the city, the mayor of Porto did not fail to “thank the confidence of the merchants, who had every reason to be suspicious, because for many years promises were made and failed”.

For Rui Moreira, the “remarkable rehabilitation project”, by Nuno Valentim Lopes, is also “an act of great generosity” of the architect in the search for the demanding balance between the preservation of the material and immaterial heritage intrinsic to Bolhão.

After 953 meetings with the merchants and 225 visits to the site, small corrections are now being made following the inspections carried out and time is given for everyone to adjust the stalls and stores according to preferences. There are 62 merchants (29 new ones) and 27 historical tenants (and 12 newcomers) returning to the Bolhão Market, for a total of 81 stalls, 38 stores and ten restaurants that are committed to buy products from the market stalls.

The reorganization of the space is simple: the fresh products market is on the ground floor, the restaurants are on the top floor and the shops are facing the outside. The work, taken over by the municipal company GO Porto, presents a more transparent building and reinforces its interconnection with the city with the creation of a square at the entrance of Rua Formosa where it will be possible to make events, a bridge that directly connects the streets Alexandre Braga and Sá da Bandeira, "the new street of the city", and also a direct entrance from the metro station.

"The market, looking the same, has different things," said Rui Moreira, referring, among other things, to the installation of elevators or the greater logistical capacity achieved with the creation of a basement for discharges. In this way, "we will not have the trucks unloading around the market".

The Bolhão brand

The Bolhão brand, under the motto "It's forever", results from a strategy that began to be designed in 2018, when the Temporary Bolhão Market opened. With the articulation of recognizable elements of the visual identity of Porto, it was intended to consolidate the municipal dimension of the market, its centrality and importance, integrating it into the global language of the city, communicating Bolhão and Porto as complementary and inseparable.

A typographic, chromatic and compositional affiliation, which also made use of the tile's evocative square mesh, already used to mark the route between the original building and the temporary building, as well as in the images of the merchants who cover the space that, during four years, received the Bolhão Market.

In this “monument made of people, sounds, smells, tradition”, as the mayor said, there is still a facade that goes back to what it was, the colour of the first hour, to the tone of “Porto granite when it is exposed to the sun”.

Recalling how the chronology of the market was also made of uncertainties, whether it would be leased, privatized or even if a commercial centre would be born there, Rui Moreira assured that it will be the City Hall that will manage the space. "We will not give the market to anyone," says the Mayor, stating that "the city decided that the Bolhão was to the people." And it's forever.