Claus Porto In New York: Discover One Of The Most Beautiful Stores In The World ♦ The rich and vibrant history of the Portuguese soap company Claus Porto arrived at Big Apple last October and is considered to be one of the most beautiful in the whole world. This is the first international boutique of the Portuguese brand and is located on a charming street in Manhattan’s Nolita neighbourhood. Claus Porto’s new home fuses its beautifully designed past with a revelation of its present – a gesture aided by the store’s parametrically designed interior from Tacklebox Architecture. Secrets From Portugal is going to show why Claus Porto’s store was voted as one of the best in the world by AD (a french décor magazine).
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Stretching across the length of the ground-floor space, Tacklebox’s principal Jeremy Barbour has created a 42 ft long archway made entirely from Portuguese cork, which visitors can step into and admire Claus Porto’s signature products. Etched with a repeating diamond motif (1,500 to be exact) that recalls the tiled façade of the historic Casa dos Bicos house in Lisbon, the dynamic cork structure also nods the architecture and intricate azulejo tile work of the São Bento train station in Porto, with its intricate texture and commanding form.
The interior design of the brand’s first international store, designed by Tacklebox Architecture under the direction of architect Jeremy Barbour, is also among the projects honoured this week at the AIANY Design Awards. The store’s design, located in the Nolita neighbourhood, is inspired by Portuguese architecture and tradition and is marked by a 12-meter-long arch, which alludes to São Bento station – a project originally introduced in 1887, the same year. Claus Porto was created – and allows for immersion in the brand’s aromas and over 130 years of history.
But, even though thought by American creatives, the store contains references to Portugal, even subtle. Inside the space, there is a 12-meter tunnel, an allusion to the São Bento Station in Porto, whose project was presented in the year in which Claus Porto was born, 1887. The relief of the walls and ceiling is not just an optical illusion. The 1500 triangles of shredded cork were meticulously laid out as tiles to create the effect. As already happens in the stores of Lisbon and Porto, no archive pieces are on display. Although the atmosphere is minimal, upon entry, one can see the gold medal certificate won by the brand in 1904 at the Saint Louis Universal Exposition.
A lone monolithic washbasin, made from a single block of Estremoz marble stands at the centre of the archway – the only connective design thread that the American store has to its sibling store in Porto. With industrial, yet delicate suspended LED lighting (by Peter Bristol for Juniper) running like a spine overhead, this portal to Claus Porto’s cultural cache doesn’t just look backwards, but forwards to its future as well.
At the roots of Claus Porto are its German founders and a beautiful, historic Portuguese city. The marriage of these two European identities went on to create a venerable beauty and fragrance house, which marks its 130th anniversary in 2017. The label built its name on hand-crafted soaps infused with fine fragrances, which draw on ingredients from Portugal’s lush countryside. These products are imbued with an artisan’s heart and soul and are wrapped by hand in packaging illustrated with beautiful artwork. Claus Porto has preserved this heritage even in turbulent times. Over more than 100 years and 4 generations, Claus Porto has maintained its authenticity, developing its expertise in perfumes and cosmetics, along with a hand-crafted ethos. The house’s archive also holds an incredible portfolio of hand-made colourful labels and patterns, each conveying a unique personality.
The brand already has a solid presence in the United States, with retail outlets such as Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom and New York Bergdorf Goodman. Now take one more step. The entrepreneur underlines the importance of having space where people can interact not only with the products but also with the brand history. One way to convey the whole Claus Porto narrative, ranging from the founding story of the parent company, Ach. Brito, to the colourful wrappings of a brand that once had its own lithographic studio in the 1950s.
From Portugal to the United States, the new Claus Porto brand space in New York was distinguished internationally. Inspired by Portuguese architecture and tradition, the store was considered one of the most beautiful that opened in 2018, according to AD, a French magazine for decoration, art and architecture. Claus Porto’s store at 230 Elizabeth Street, New York, has just been considered by AD France decoration and design magazine as one of the ten most beautiful stores in the world, considering the 2018 openings. Isaac Reina in Paris, Apparatus in Los Angeles, Céline’s store in Miami and Aesop’s in Rome.