CASCAIS residents who regularly take the train from Monte Estoril station, or pass by there on their way to the beach, will probably have noticed that the small, pink building that has been standing there, abandoned and run-down, for as long as many can remember, was entirely renovated recently. It now even has a bronze plaque on the door, saying ‘A. Wanzeller, Advogado’.
In fact, the building is now occupied by Alexandre Wanzeller and Vasco Stilwell d’Andrade, who together set up SAW, a company specialising in Intellectual Property (IP), and dealing with trademarks, patents, designs and copyright.
“We were both working at the same Lisbon company with activities in this field, but decided to start out on our own”, Wanzeller, 34, told The Resident. “Our aim is to revolutionise the sector.” His 26-year-old business partner, a former St. Julian’s School pupil who studied International Relations in Edinburgh, added: “We are focusing on technology transfer, which involves the licensing of intellectual property from one country to the other. Contrary to a lot of Portuguese companies, we are very international in our mindset. In addition, we do not passively carry out our briefings, but always try to offer our clients creative solutions.”
Why did Wanzeller, whose family has Dutch roots, and Stilwell d’Andrade, whose grandparents on his mother’s side were British, decide to set up office in a quaint little building 20 metres from Monte Estoril beach? “It was left to my father by a great-aunt, who died recently,” Vasco Stilwell d’Andrade explained. “My father gave us permission to use it. It was a good excuse to restore the building, which was in quite a bad state. It had been standing empty for almost 20 years. We feel that, by restoring it, we have contributed to the upgrading of Monte Estoril. There are a lot of run-down, abandoned buildings in the area. Only recently have their owners begun to restore them.”
The history of the structure goes back to the late 19th century, when a man called Carlos Anjos had a vision of transforming the area now known as Monte Estoril into the ‘Portuguese Riviera’. “There was nothing here”, Vasco Stilwell d’Andrade pointed out. “It was Carlos Anjos who put in the infrastructures and built the first villas”.
What is now the SAW office was built in 1935 by the Andrade family as a guesthouse, conveniently located close to the beach. “It was part of a property my family bought from Carlos Ajos in 1901, after he went bankrupt”, said Vasco Stilwell d’Andrade. “It functioned as a guesthouse until 1985, after which it remained empty until we moved in about a month ago”.
Apart from the fact that the building was easily available to them, the partners had other good reasons to want to work in the Cascais area. “We’re both from the area and we love it here,” they said. “It beats having to go into Lisbon every morning. Also, we’re the only firm operating in this field on the ‘Linha’. In addition, we wanted to be close to the companies located in the new Oeiras office parks. And then it is great to be located so close to the beach and the station – we’ll be able to take our clients for lunch on the beach in summer!” Hans van der Put