Located in the Nolita neighborhood of Manhattan, this is the first international store for Claus Porto, the famed 131-year-old Portuguese beauty and fragrance house. Conceived by Tacklebox Architecture under the direction of Jeremy Barbour, the design 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, one block off of NYC’s Bowery, creating a portal through which the visitors may immerse themselves in the world of Claus Porto’s unique scents and discover the 131-years of savoir-faire behind this Portuguese brand.
The arch is a subtle reference to Porto’s São Bento train station, that was first proposed in 1887 – the same year that Claus Porto was founded – and serves as a portal into that cultural heritage. Famed for the intricate azulejo tile work that depicts historical events in Portuguese history, this central rail hub – with arched doorways onto the street – has served as a welcoming gateway for those arriving into Porto.
Milled from Portuguese cork, 1,500 faceted diamond 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 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, many of which date back to the beginnings of the brand, 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.
When entering the store, customers are greeted by a framed diploma certifying that Claus Porto was awarded a gold medal at the 1904 Universal Exhibition in Saint Louis – the first of a series of hand-picked objects that make the shop’s historic gallery. These antiques help tell the story of the brand and include elements related to Claus Porto’s tradition as a fragrance house, the evolution of certain products and patterns and the brand’s iconic Musgo Real men’s collection.
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 Estremoz marble that gave life to its sister basin in Porto’s flagship store.