The Fountainside – Heir to the heritage of Lilau Square

01 Nov 2021
Bela Vista

Lilau Square is a city block at the northern foot of Colina da Penha (Penha Hill), encompassing Largo do Lilau and a number of streets on its periphery. In 2005, Lilau Square and the historic architecture in this area of central Macau area were included on UNESCO’s World Heritage List.

Chinese settled in the area around present-day Lilau Square many centuries ago. It was also one of the first areas in Macau to be settled by the Portuguese, who gave it the name by which it is remains known, meaning “mountain spring” in Portuguese. It was home to a freshwater spring – at the time the main source of potable water in Macau – and Ming Dynasty legend has it that an old lady had a well built there to collect its water.

Portuguese settlers were attracted to the sweet spring water gushing out of Lilau, and began building homes around the well. They also installed pipes to divert its water, and a faucet. During the colonial period, the phrase “One who drinks from Lilau never forgets Macao” became local lore, encapsulating the community’s attachment to the square.

The fountain in Lilau Square as it appears today was built during the 20th century, and the source of the spring water is actually located on the inclined alley Calçada do Lilau.

Lilau Square is situated in the southwestern part of Macau, close to the Inner Harbour. It boasts a typically Mediterranean atmosphere, examples of late-period Art Deco architecture, and two century-old banyan trees.

The square remains a somewhat traditional community with Portuguese roots that have endured to this day. It is a touchstone of Macanese culture and a treasure trove of Portuguese heritage, and many of the descendants of the Portuguese who were born and lived in the area became well known.

The fountain in Lilau Square inspired the name of The Fountainside, a low-density residential complex managed by Bela Vista Property Services, located close to the square and the Mandarin’s House – the residence of renowned 19th century thinker Zheng Guanyin.

The Fountainside’s original building dates from the 1950s. It was constructed in a characteristic Western architectural style, and its redevelopment was carried out with respect for the decorative features of that building and for the history of the area.

The development’s layout comprises essentially two parts. The first area – around the entrance/exit incorporated into the façade – has been preserved but reconfigured as four villas, offering residents a sense of the property’s heritage. The second part – around a newer residential entrance – is located on Rua da Penha, providing 38 standard units and two levels of basement parking, and incorporating modern living facilities to give the area an element of contemporary flair.

The neighbourhood is an historic one, meaning that most buildings lack elevators and other facilities. This has made The Fountainside popular among those who choose to reside locally and enjoy an enhanced living environment.

The Fountainside is a perfect sanctuary for unwinding in the tranquillity of a heritage enclave and immersing oneself in Macau’s discreet charm. It was awarded the Monomer Housing Design Award for Chinese Residential Projects in 2012 and 2014.

The development offers its residents an enviable ambience of quiet elegance that blends refined contemporary aesthetics with this rich history, and the dedicated services of a professional concierge team to cater to their every need.