The ceramic brand Costa Nova came to occupy one of the stores in the Emporium building, under the silver maples of Rua Sá da Bandeira, in Porto. During the general rehabilitation of the building, which ended months earlier, the space was left unfinished, since there was still no forecast of the type of occupation it would have.
Despite the great freedom of design that we had, the client expressly requested the organization of the space in three zones, in correspondence with the three product lines of the brand. And one of those areas would have to be a kitchen, where it would be possible to receive guests and cook in the store.
The void of the store was already very beautiful, even in rough, with high ceilings and the simple metric of a system of large pillars and exposed beams on the ceiling, so we were always concerned not to lose that amplitude, that scale and geometry that we liked it so much. We knew that we would have to compartmentalize somehow to differentiate areas, but we chose to do it as openly as possible, using only a balcony and the stairs that give access to it.
The space was fully designed, as well as all the furniture, with the exception of a table and some chairs. This allowed us to create a rich and coherent space, which would make sense for us, but also for the brand, with a design that is very sensitive to the specifics of the products and the relationship that people have with them.
The atmosphere is elegant, but very simple. It was important that the interior of the store also relate to the building in which it is located. The Emporium building was designed in the late 1940s by the architect José Porto, with a modernist character of art-deco genesis, and we wanted that spirit to also be present in some way. The first thing we designed was the balcony, and a central reference was the staircase in the Casa de Serralves library, as a model of the refined elegance of the first half of the 19th century. XXI.