Burel Factory arose from the need of saving an ancestral heritage. To keep it alive and extend its history that comes from far away. To promote the Serra da Estrela region, its people, its culture. To spread Portuguese art responsibly. And to present an authentic product in a conscious way, respecting nature and the mountain that gave us the origin and knowledge.
In 2010 we were born in Serra da Estrela with a mission: to recover the burel and wool industry. Recover a factory from its imminent bankruptcy, and support a weakened population dependent on the wool culture that long defined those mountains.
Our intervention first went through the recovery of the burel wool heritage, in order to not let this ancient knowledge disappear from the hands of those who depended on it. We revived a wool factory from imminent bankruptcy, we kept the old looms full of stories, and we started to bet on the local population as a way to integrate them in our project, to make them join us in the ambition to make it progress, value and make it a source of pride, work and prosperity for the region, while creating economic and social sustainability for its population.
We decided to reinforce job creation in the Village of Manteigas, to commit ourselves to its development and professional training, to contextualize the ancient art of burel that was transmitted between generations, in order to make it current, contemporary and synonymous with local and national economy.
We guarantee employment and seek to attract more qualified labor to the region, promoting a dynamism of knowledge and appreciation of a local product.
In nature nothing is lost, everything is transformed. It is based on this universal standard that we work.
Burel Factory has advocated the zero-waste policy since its beginning, with the conscious use of its resources and developing partnerships with artists, designers and associations in order to innovate in the use and valorization of wool, our raw material, and developing part of our products from burel waste, to let us be surprised by the results that give rise to unique and conscious pieces, creating the least ecological impact possible.
Our premise on the issue of waste also involves raising awareness of this practice, leading us to create products that call attention to this issue, as is the case with the product Shapes that encourage creativity while awakening to the need to do something for good for all of us.
The Wool. The Sheep.
Sustainability starts with wool, with the sheep that give rise to it and have shaped the valleys of the Serra da Estrela region for as long as there is memory.
For the production of Burel, a fabric made from 100% wool, we use local shepherds who graze sheep outdoors on the upper plateaus of Serra da Estrela, where the grass is softer and makes the wool extra soft.
We use wool from Bordaleira and Churra, two indigenous breeds of sheep from the Serra, as well as Portuguese Merino for our blankets. We make sure that the animals are treated well and live happily, and that the shearing is done manually in order to not cause any distress to the animal. Shearing is a necessary act for the comfort of the animal, while preserving an ancestral tradition, keeping this culture alive in time.
Wool is the foundation for everything we do, without causing an environmental impact. It is a natural and non-polluting product. Recyclable, renewable and durable. It is the wool that inspires us in the development of burel fabric, leading us to move forward with its recycling and create burel fabric and wool blankets 100% recycled, in order to further extend the sustainability of this conscious and transparent product in its design.
Photo: Emanuele Siracusa Photography- Center of Portugal