Located on the blooming nightlife district of Oporto’s downtown, RUA occupies the ground floor of an old building facing a narrow yet busy street. The vaccant space matched in many ways the traditional construction of Oporto old city center: narrow lots with high openings and ceilings, the extensive use of granite stone and local painted ceramic tiles (“azulejo”) on the façades, the appropriation of small and cozy patios. The relation towards the street was quite efective and dominant, as it could be enhanced towards the existing patio.
The premises were set quite clearly: to allow an informal use of the space and to focus on the traditional elements that are present on the portuguese public spaces. So, the concept was built around the inversion of the notion of inner space, by mitigating the spatial limits and by inflating all surfaces and equipments with references to some materials and forms that can be easily recognizable on the urban landscape. All the private facilities were designed and placed in order to become invisible to the customer, while focusing on the public space experience.
Instinctevely we emphasized on the nature of the pavement and the counter, wich would be the key elements of the space and should have proeminence to the sights. The pavement is a mosaic of granite stones set on a plain and neutral composition. The counter is made of iron bars wich are related to the bollards that can be found on the nearby streets, and prefabricated concrete slabs related to the existing urban benches. On the other hand, the wall facing the counter is covered in mirror and bright alluminium sheets and the ceiling is made of white acoustic foam, attempting to anull the spatial constrictments and expand our perception of the room.
At the back of the counter, the wall is painted with an hyper-realistic graffiti made by a local artist. The existing staircase that is place in the middle of the room was an obvious barrier, so we found it easier and proper to anull it by mingle it with the complexity of the graffiti scene. The furniture is thought to be light-weighted and easy to displace, attending not only to the overall concept and to a switch-over of use as well.Location: Porto, Portugal Architecture team: proj3ct and pluggo (co-authorship) Type: commercial Client: Apogeu da Ribalta, lda.
Gross area: 146 sqm.
Photography / rendering: rxg3d
Status: under construction