Villas&Golfe Moçambique
· personality · · T. Maria Cruz · P. Miguel Marques

Paulo Martins

«People who belong to Villas&Golfe universe are distinguished»

PMmedia Adv.
Photo session at VILA FOZ HOTEL & SPA
Insightful, attentive and daring, Paulo Martins, founder of Villas&Golfe, had a dream. And he made it come true. He dreamt of a magazine about ‘great’ people. Something showcasing the world of luxury. He gained ground. He outlined strategies. And in September 2001 he created the iconic magazine encompassing the entire lifestyle universe. He has faced challenges, fought for a place in the country, and got through all his work with perseverance and dedication, taking the best of Portugal and the world to the four corners of the Earth. He has placed his faith in internationalisation, to countries such as Angola and Mozambique. These last 20 years is a milestone in his professional career. He is proud to sustain, to this day, a publication with the high quality that the magazine has. He may be very low profile, but for this special anniversary issue, we were able to take a piece of himself and his experience as a man and creator. «Unique and distinctive», this is how he describes it. He is passionate about it, «Villas&Golfe is a Rolls Royce», it can be modernised, but it always keeps the essence of the brand.

This is the first time you’re appearing in an issue as an interviewee. Is being in this issue alongside such illustrious national figures a reason for pride too?
It certainly is. It’s been 20 years. And reaching 20 years is a milestone in anyone’s career. Being part of the 20th anniversary issue of Villas&Golfe is a source of pride, particularly because I am side by side with people who are extremely important for the country, such as the President of the Republic, no less. But the truth is that many others would also fit in this group of 20 chosen personalities. I try to be low profile, I don’t like to appear, because my job is to work, to develop quality projects and promote the country, the good things that are done in Portugal and in the world. The same goes for social networks, I have the essentials, LinkedIn, because I don’t like to enter that world of networks, although I am obliged to see them.

How did Villas&Golfe appear in your life?
Villas&Golfe was born in the transition from a project I had in my life, at the beginning of my journalism career, which was Primeiro de Janeiro, where I started developing my editorial profession. Then, when I left the newspaper, I decided to develop a different project, a singular project with the characteristics of Villas&Golfe. I thought about it for a long time and then I thought that it would be a project with a concept in which it had to be as good in Portugal as anywhere in the world, it had to be unique and distinctive.

What were the foundation stones of this project?
At the time, 20 years ago, Quinta do Lago had already been around for many years, but it was still a very unique project in Portugal. At that time, several resorts began to appear; golf courts; luxury villas; distinctive housing concepts, different from everything that had existed until then, in particular Quinta do Lago, Vale do Lobo, Quinta Patino, Quinta da Marinha, and many others, which came about as examples of villas and golf, where people lived who had a distinctive concept of life, just like the magazine I wanted to launch. These people liked good things: playing golf, travelling, luxury homes, architecture, decoration, tasting a fine wine and good food, a car, culture and art, and so, that’s where the Villas&Golfe concept came into being. People who belong to Villas&Golfe universe are distinguished.

«Villas&Golfe is like a Rolls Royce»

Where does this Villas&Golfe concept find its niche?
In readers with distinctive taste, with a nuanced culture, who know how to live in a concept of lifestyle and quality. They are someone who has always been, who was born, developed and was brought up to have a luxury lifestyle.

At the time, were there people who didn’t believe in the potential of Villas&Golfe?
At the time, very few people believed in it because it was an over-evolved magazine, with an expensive concept and a distinctive format. The product was expensive and people didn’t think it would succeed, because it was too much for Portugal. In the beginning, there were some, like André Jordan and Américo Amorim, who said: «Oh, Paulo, this is too good for Portugal». And today, 20 years later, «it turns out I was wrong».

After 20 years, after several economic crises, the magazine maintains its essence, its quality. How is that possible?
A Rolls Royce is always a Rolls Royce. It can possibly evolve here and there, it can modernise here and there, it can be 20, 30 years old, and, on the contrary, every year it increases in value. Villas&Golfe is a Rolls Royce. It can modernise, but the quality is there, the technological capacity, the construction, the stitching, the line. Villas&Golfe is like a handmade embroidery, it’s not just thrown together by hand, it’s a magazine that has been curated. You can’t make Villas&Golfe in a week. Actually, you can, but it won’t come out well.

Is Villas&Golfe is almost like a son to you?
Naturally, a project such as Villas&Golfe cannot be abandoned. It has to be permanently monitored. When we’re preparing an issue, our team’s concept is that there’s no such thing as so-so. If the photo is good, it goes in, if not, it doesn’t. Villas&Golfe is thorough in its texts, its photographs, the paper, the gloss, the varnish, the stitching. It is a luxury product.

The publishing world was already in its genesis. Apart from this project you have also created others. Was it always your goal to create something that would last over time?
More than that. When I launched Villas&Golfe I wanted to launch a project, as I said at the beginning, with quality, implemented in Portugal and anywhere in the world. That’s why I went international. I launched the magazine in Portugal, eight years later in Angola, followed by Mozambique, Brazil and Russia. Apart from these, we also have other projects, namely the TRENDS magazine, which has been going for 17 years, we work in publishing, being books one of our core businesses, with the same rigour and quality. Our client is a well-positioned, highly cultured client with financial resources, corporate. That’s our market.

«Villas&Golfe is one of the biggest promoters of Portugal’s image, in a positive way, and in terms of quality»

A magazine celebrating 20 years is almost unheard of, and even more so a magazine such as Villas&Golfe. On this journey, would you say that the real support for this project has been the contribution made by its partners (advertisers) that have always been close by? How do you look back on this journey?
The word is resilience. Naturally, in 20 years we have already been through several crises. I, Villas&Golfe, have never received any government support. It is an entirely independent magazine. Nobody has ever supported Villas&Golfe except its clients. We have several clients who support us and believe in us. They have always believed in us, such as Rolex international, which has been with us for 20 years, among others. We have the world of watches, real estate, cars, among others, but we fight day by day for quality, so as not to fall. Of course, we have had difficulties, of course it has been difficult. But we never recanted on quality, we always maintained the excellence of the product and, because of that, people have always believed in us.

The readers and subscribers collect the magazine?
Absolutely. Villas&Golfe magazine is essentially a collector’s magazine, it’s for enthusiasts. Villas&Golfe doesn’t have to be everywhere, it has to be in the right places. It has to be where our client is. And it’s on the golf course, in resorts, in the main exclusive newsagents’ (it’s not in the street newsstands because it’s not meant to be in street newsstands). It’s in bookshops, we have subscribers, it’s in corporate locations, it was the first magazine to be in TAP’s lounges, we even had a specific display cabinet. Even today we still have collectors who, if they’re missing a particular edition, call us to ask for that issue. Villas&Golfe has become a cult object. Whether we like it or not, Villas&Golfe is already an icon in Portugal. It is, naturally, a project that makes me and my team very proud. I think the country should also be proud of it. It is an impartial magazine. We interview anyone from Francisco Lousã or Durão Barroso to the President of the Republic; we interview people for themselves, for their personality, for their path and distinction, not because they are from the left or the right, or because they are A, B or C. We raise the country’s highest intentions. Villas&Golfe is one of the biggest promoters of Portugal’s, Angola and Mozambique image, in a positive way, and in terms of quality, and today it reaches the entire world via the digital network.

Villas&Golfe presents a new rebranding to celebrate 20 years...
Villas&Golfe has already changed its image a few times throughout its existence. This change is strategic because it takes into account the adaptations to the new times and the conceptual modernity, as well as the adaptation to the digital, which is fundamental nowadays. On the other hand, as I mentioned before, the Rolls Royce exists and has always the same value, with a tendency to grow, but it must be modernized and adapted to the design and concepts of our times and the world!

Just as asked the 20 personalities that make up this special issue of Villas&Golfe, if you could choose, what would be the moments that have most marked the country and the world in these last 20 years?
There is an event that I will never forget: September 11, 2001. Villas&Golfe was created in September 2001; we were putting the issue to bed, when I arrived at the café and looked at the TV and saw the planes crashing into the Twin Towers. There was me and a employee from the magazine and we were stunned to see such an event. I cannot remain unmoved by such an event, it marked me and the world. From September 11 onwards, the world changed forever. Another big change is social networks, which today have as much as they have good. And the third aspect, which I think will change all our lives, is environmental issues. These are the three aspects that have marked these last 20 years and that will undoubtedly mark the lives of all of us in the future, because our survival is at stake.  

Professionally, what has been the most decisive moment for you in these two decades?
Of course, the creation and launch of Villas&Golfe is naturally a milestone in my life. But I have others. I have several projects. Like the creation of my winery and the creation of my wine brand, something that was down to me and which will also undeniably mark the country, because the positioning is the same as Villas&Golfe. Vidago Villa is a milestone in my life. The Primeiro de Janeiro newspaper also marked my career. I was in charge of the Braga office, at the time working with Paulo Morais, and the truth is that the newspaper gave me ground, I made contact with politicians, city mayors, town mayors, culture, health... in general terms it gave me a global business concept, from sales and editorial to the organisation of the plan.

What do you think would be the great change that the country and the world would need to make in the next 20 years?
What will have to change is definitely the environmental issue. Oil continues to increase in price, cars, the way we live withplastic, packaging, the way we dress, everything is going to have to change for our own survival. I think the survival of humanity is at stake in the next 50 years. The world is going to have to change, if it doesn't, it will end.

Maria Cruz
T. Maria Cruz
P. Miguel Marques