New Port Wine Museum stands out on the riverside front and will change not only the look on the landscape of the heart of Porto but also the experience in relation to the main symbol of the city. The new Port Wine Museum, signed by the Portuguese architect Camilo Rebelo, was inaugurated this month.
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The façade of the six-storey building has an exceptional colour: the black that preserves and enhances the nature of Port wine. “Museums can no longer be a static reality, they have to offer sensory experiences”, explains the mayor of Porto, Rui Moreira, to justify the concept of a space that will make available for tasting more than 700 labels from various origins and that, intentionally, he wanted to situate in the old Wall of the Bacalhoeiros, in the Ribeira.
“It’s the place that people associate to the Port Wine and that offers a privileged view over the Gaia cellars.”
Moreover, the mayor reminds us that this municipal building, which for more than two decades was the home of the Regional Center of Traditional Arts, “is almost the last stronghold.” Rui Moreira, who stopped the sale of the property, defends the importance of maintaining “the public and cultural presence in a Historical Center that has been transformed into a private space”.
The new Port Wine Museum houses wines, secrets and specificities that are the watermark of the Portuguese architect Camilo Rebelo. Like numerology.
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The year 1756, when the Marquis of Pombal declared demarcated and controlled the Douro region, appears “encoded in the wine cellar,” reveals Camilo Rebelo.
“We have decomposed the number: 1 and 7 gives 8, 5 and 6 gives 11. All measures used are multiples of 8 and 11. The memory of the date thus keeps a secret.
The wine cellar itself, a symbolic concrete wall built “in the noblest space of the building, next to the wall”, refers to an iconic imaginary. To the Modern Colosseum of Rome. The bottles will be placed in “alveoli that look like sanctuaries”. It’s a way, says Camilo Rebelo, “of preserving memory and, at the same time, of sanctifying wine.”
Rare in the museums, this one comprises two entrances: by the number 37 of Rua da Reboleira, the museological experience and by the number 138 of the Wall of Bacalhoeiros, the wine experience. “It is a current of air that makes this structure alive, simultaneously, a sacred place of ritual, and a public space, in passing.” The idea is that the Museum “can be something from day to day and not just an object of desire”. Overlooking the Douro River, it is also the place where it will be possible to drink a history with more than 250 years.
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