Mar Salgado: Crafting Functional Works of Art


In the picturesque village of Carmona, nestled in the coastal haven of South Goa, resides Ana Margarida Esteves, a 34-year-old industrial product and furniture designer. A native of Portugal, Ana has been living in Goa since 2019. In 2022, she founded an enterprise called “Mar Salgado”. The enterprise is a project which aims to encourage people to view nature in a new light by creating unique products from raw materials such as driftwood, abandoned wood, dried coconut husk, and molten metals. Ana’s work embraces the intersection of art and design with concepts that are both functional as well as poetic. She designs her products to highlight their imperfections, making them even more beautiful. 

Educational Background 

Ana’s journey in design commenced in 2011 when she began pursuing her studies in Industrial Product Design at the Polytechnic Institute of Viana do Castelo in Portugal. While pursuing her studies, she forayed into carpentry as a volunteer at a local carpentry workshop. In 2014, she travelled to East Timor and undertook her first art education project there. She travelled to the country again in 2018 and completed more such projects. She worked under a Japanese master while completing her projects, and experimented working with unconventional materials like coconuts and bamboo. 

Ana cleaning brass on a candle-stand.

After completing her course at the Polytechnic, Ana moved to the UK in 2015 to pursue her post-graduation in Art & Design (with a major in Furniture Design) at New Buckinghamshire University. Here, she got an opportunity to experiment working with different materials. She gradually developed a set of skills, which helped her in combining her passions into unique products. It was also here that she realised that wood was the favourite material she enjoyed working with.

Her Professional Journey

After completing her post-graduate studies, Ana moved to India in late 2015 to pursue academic research work. She chose India for her academic research as it is a country with multiple cultural influences throughout its states, resulting in different ways of living and the use of space and furniture. In India, she worked as an intern for a few months at an education accelerator called Atma Education in Mumbai. During this period, Ana was trying to understand India in the context of socio-economic development and education. She was specifically trying to understand Goa in terms of tourism because the social change accelerator she was working with was supported by a tourism aggregator with a self-sustainable village model. 

In 2017, while in Goa, Ana met Mr. Menino D’souza, the then Director of Tourism in Goa, who introduced her to “FiIRE”, a startup incubator based at Fatorda. At that time, “FiIRE” was running a Social Change Accelerator project. Through “FiIRE”, Ana got her business visa and started her social projects in Goa in 2019. She joined “FiIRE” as an incubatee and began running her own startup. Through her enterprise, Ana wanted to work on social projects in several villages of Goa. She thought that there would be more support for her ideas for the betterment of local communities and quality tourism in the state. Unfortunately, things did not turn out the way Ana planned and hoped for. 

Feeling dejected, Ana moved to Mumbai and planned to meet with the Tourism Minister of Maharashtra to discuss matters related to the same project she was working on, for the coast of Maharashtra. However, all of a sudden, she fell very ill. She was in bed for months, and when she recovered, she returned to Goa in the year 2022. Since then, Ana has remained in Goa and has been involved in various sustainable projects in the state. She has found in Goa, a new home with many cultural aspects in common with her own roots and the same love and respect for the sea. 

The Genesis of “Mar Salgado”

After her return to Goa in 2022, Ana began exploring ways to work with materials she had never worked with before. She kept searching for ways to go beyond working with materials like coconut husk and driftwood because so many beautiful items were already being made with such kinds of materials. 

After a series of experiments working with various materials, Ana founded her enterprise called “Mar Salgado” (meaning salted sea in English) in July 2022. The enterprise doles out products with concepts based on the sea and its metaphors. These products are manufactured using materials such as driftwood, and molten metals. Ana runs “Mar Salgado” out of her workshop in Carmona, South Goa. She is assisted in the running of the enterprise by a carpenter, Bhajan Sarkar, who works with her.

Carpenter Bhajan carving a wooden basin.

Products Offered and Clients Served

Most of the products created by Ana at Mar Salgado are pieces of functional art that can be used as home decor and furniture. These are high-end, unique pieces of art. So usually, it is clients like art collectors, villa owners, and architects who show an interest in purchasing her products. The starting price of products from Mar Salgado is around Rs. 30K, with the average product being priced at around Rs. 50-75K. However, Ana will be soon launching a line of smaller products like small bowls, coasters and other decorative pieces which will be priced at around Rs. 10-15K.

Tide, a gap filled with molten brass resembling the sea.

Ana takes up orders from clients to make customised products. She usually uses materials like driftwood and brass to make most of her products. However, on request, she uses any other material requested by a client to complete their order. She usually deals with clients like art collectors and architects and sells her products directly to them. Ana also plans to broaden her client base by selling her products at lifestyle stores across India and at pop-up events in the future. She is planning different exhibitions as her work is taking her to create more art. 

Breezy Motion

A Vision for the Future

Looking ahead, Ana envisions working more with gold instead of brass, exploring 3D poetry, and focusing on the artistic aspect of her work. Through her work, she also aims to fund the creation of new enterprises under the “Mar Salgado” brand umbrella. These enterprises will be involved in the mass production of various types of products. She aspires to do this because she believes that the livelihood of individuals from the fishing community in Goa will soon be under threat due to climate change. 

By starting these new enterprises, she will be able to create employment opportunities for individuals from the Goan fishing community. This will help in providing alternate avenues of livelihood for them. Ana believes that climate change and other factors will have a great impact on the social net of the coastal communities and that it is very important to preserve Goan culture. She says that Goa is changing at a fast pace from what has defined its identity for a long time and people are starting to feel demoralised. She also aims to reinvent the handicraft industry in Goa and plans to engage local Goans in making these handicraft items.

Ana and her assistant Didi treating the wood to be worked with by soaking it in the sea.

Ana Margarida Esteves stands as a beacon of innovation and social responsibility, using her design prowess to bridge the gap between tradition and modernity, sustainability, and artistic expression. Through “Mar Salgado,” she not only crafts beautiful pieces of art but also waves of positive change for the communities she holds dear. Mar Salgado will become the pilot for the projects Ana has had all along for Goa. Now with more experience, support and a fresh new perspective, she is sure to bring about a sustainable revolution in Goa in the years to come.

Ana’s assistant Didi collecting mud for the process involving brass.

Ana will be participating in a pop-up exhibition due to be held at the BSG Absolute Porvorim Regency Hotel, Porvorim on the 30th of December. Various products from “Mar Salgado” will be displayed for sale at both events.

For more information and to place an order for various products from Mar Salgado, contact Ana at:

WhatsApp: +91 70668 89158

Email: [email protected]


Instagram: @marsalgadodesign