Hotel operator: The Largo
Interior design: Space Copenhagen
Furnishings: Custom made; Ochre, Carl Hansen & Søn, Mater Design, &Tradition
Photo credits: Joachim Wichmann
The complex of 17th-century buildings on the historic Largo Sao Dominigos in the city of Porto openly declares its place in time. Today it contains the Cozinha das Flores restaurant and the Flôr bar, both helmed by the Portuguese chef Nuno Mendes. A raw canvas that has had different purposes over the years, on which Signe Bindslev Henriksen and Peter Bundgaard Rützou of Space Copenhagen have created a design narrative that pays homage to the memory of the site. After having restored the structures, revealing and conserving many of their original characteristics, the duo has concentrated on establishing a strong bond between visitors and space. The first obligatory step was to make room for local crafts, combined with luxurious textures, modern furnishings and specially commissioned works of art. Everything is matched by a comparable offering of cuisine, based on traditional recipes.
Starting with aged stone and dark wood – existing features – the designers have inserted walls plastered in warm earth tones, making skillful use of light to bring out the essence of each material, including metals like steel and blackened brass. In the restaurant – a space of 250 sqm for 50 place settings – the kitchen takes a central position: open and organized around a fireplace. The wine storage elements are also noteworthy, made to measure in dark oak and blackened steel, filling the entire wall at the back of the restaurant, preceded by a sommelier station in natural stone.
In the dining room a series of personalized oak tables, made by hand, forms a contrast with the Wegner CH 26 chairs and the suspension lamps by Ochre. The tiles in the restrooms are also custom pieces, inspired by water and nature and created by the Portuguese artist Bela Silva. The atmosphere is enhanced by the sound installation by Ian Johansson of Sontastic, which samples the sounds emitted by the building itself.
The presence of art is a priority for Space Copenhagen, paying tribute to the city’s heritage in visual narratives on the surfaces of the buildings, and framing the mural by the famous Portuguese architect Álvaro Siza with a large soft bench, painted by hand by the ceramic tile company Viuva Lamego.
Flôr, on the other hand, reminds us of a bar from the late 1800s, adjacent to the restaurant. The horseshoe structure with a stone top, another custom piece, is surrounded by tall stools designed by Space Copenhagen for Mater and &Tradition. For this space, the designers use light to add more life and movement: accent lighting to outline the entire spatial composition, and diffused lighting arriving from the window framed by a stone arch, offering a glimpse of the activities in other parts of the building. Cozinha das Flores and Flôr are part of The Largo, a new hotel concept that subverts the standards of luxury hospitality, stemming from an idea of Annassurra, the travel and hospitality company based in Copenhagen.