11 Jun 2019
Claus Porto New York
The design for the first international store for the 131-year-old Portuguese fragrance brand Claus Porto pays homage to Portuguese architecture and craftsmanship. A forty-two-foot long freestanding archway has been inserted into the existing ground-floor storefront of an early 1800’s building, creating a portal through which the visitors may immerse themselves in the world of Claus Porto’s unique scents.
Milled from sustainably harvested Portuguese cork, 1,500 faceted diamond-shaped tiles reference the tiled façade of the historic Casa dos Bicos in Lisbon and define a vaulted interior whose form references the arched portals of Porto's São Bento train station and the decorative azulejo tile that line its arrival hall. Like the azulejo tile that inspired them, the decorative wrappings of Claus Porto’s fine products are held within carved cork niches and speak to a timeless spirit of craft and ingenuity that have defined the brand’s 131-year-history.
A monolithic washbasin sits at the heart of the space in reference to the baptismal font and as a celebration of the ritual of daily cleansing. The basin was carved from the same single block of Portuguese marble that gave life to its sister basin in Porto’s flagship store.
We created an environment that invites the customer to experience, first hand, the history and legacy of this 131- year- old Portuguese brand without being too sentimental or contrived with respect to the past. We allowed the product and it's 131-year-old original packaging and design to tell the story and the history of the brand within a place that is defined by the spirit of classical Portuguese architecture and tile work.
This 42-foot-long archway was designed and fabricated as a freestanding construct composed of custom diamond-shaped milled cork panels. The design allowed for the construct to be fabricated and assembled off-site in our fabricator's facilities in upstate New York before being disassembled, shipped to the site, and then reassembled within an existing New York City storefront in less than 10 DAYS. All of the cork on this project was sustainably harvested and supplied by the Portuguese cork company Amorim.