It has been said that Portugal is a nation of immigrants and emigrants - a country that is at once nowhere and everywhere. Its capital city of Lisbon fits this description, which makes it a unique context for contemporary cultural discourse. The most compelling public realm in Lisbon is the underground Metro, opened in 1959 (and expanded since), where decorative ceramic tiles known specifically in Iberia as azulejos cover its interior surfaces. The iconographic program of each of the Metro’s forty¬six stations is different and oftentimes multiple programs adorn one station. Ten stations will serve as case studies that transcribe Portuguese history through ceramic tile patterns, figures, and vignettes, to represent a new type of public art - one that is rooted in historical allusions yet enables subjective encounters. The experience of riding the Metro is one of entangled decorative encounters and moving through the network is actually a continual process of reading, feeling, and sorting the past. The fragmentary nature of this experience aptly reflects the postmodern urban condition and contrasts with dominant single narrative and monuments representing collective values to which former the pedestrian-based public was subjected. Traveling by Metro in the twenty-first century is like reading spatial stories about Portuguese national narratives that are constantly under revision. Therefore, this thesis aims to go beyond the ceramic surfaces of underground Lisbon and confront the legacy of modern space and postmodern planarity as well as the philosophical underpinnings of spatial and aesthetic encounters.