Design: Tacklebox Architecture; Loop Lighting
Opening date: October 2018
Store size: 51 sq m
In the Nolita neighbourhood of Manhattan in New York City, nestled among the designer jewellery shops, indie boutiques and cozy coffee shops sits Claus Porto's first international store. The 131-year old beauty and fragrance house collaborated with Tacklebox Architecture to design a space that pays homage to the brand's Portuguese roots.
On the ground floor of the early 1800's building stands a striking 12m-long archway that creates a portal through which visitors can immerse themselves in the world of Claus Porto's unique scents. Made entirely from cork (a raw material that is characteristic to Portugal), the arch provides a subtle reference to Porto's São Bento train station, which was first proposed in 1887 - the same year that Claus Porto was founded. The central rail hub is famed for its intricate azulejo tile work that depicts historical events in Portuguese history and serves as a welcoming gateway for those arriving in Porto.
The free-standing structure also references the tile facade of the historic Casa dos Bicos in Lisbon with its diamond tiles and carved cork niches, which house the brand's collections.
When entering the store, customers are greeted with a series of objects from the brand's history, including a framed diploma certifying that Claus Porto was awarded a gold medal at the 1904 Universal Exhibition in Saint Louis. Together, the pieces help tell the story of the company and include elements related to Claus Porto's tradition as a fragrance house.
At the centre of the space stands a monolithic washbasin, carved from the same Estremoz marble that features in the Porto flagship store. The piece references the baptismal font and celebrates the ritual of daily cleansing.
Claus Porto is present in 60 countries and sold by the world's most exclusive retailers, including Bergdorf Goodman, Liberty London and Le Bon Marché. The soaps are beautifully hand wrapped in the house's vintage-inspired labels.
Photography: Eric Petschek