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Published by Sugar & Cream, Monday 25 September 2023

Images and text courtesy of Space Copenhagen

A Respectfully Renovated Series of Buildings Set in Historic Largo de São Domingos

Space Copenhagen, the Danish design studio, has just completed the interiors for a new hotel in Porto, Portugal. Located on the historic Largo de São Domingos, the 18-room hotel, restaurant and bar occupy five interconnected 15th, 16th and 19th Century Buildings that Space Copenhagen has carefully stripped back and restored to reveal, and maintain, many of its original features. The Largo is an exciting new hotel concept that playfully subverts the standard notions of luxury hospitality and is the brainchild of Annassurra, a Copenhagen based travel and hospitality group.

The collection of historical buildings was first lovingly restored by architect Frederico Valsassina and are situated in a prime position with views across the Douro River, which runs through the city of Porto. One of the key objectives of the renovation, which has steadily been taking place over the last three years, has been the conservation of hundreds of years of history and preserving the crafts and traditions embedded within the architecture of the building.

The Largo’s interiors have been conceived by Space Copenhagen to inspire connection; between guests, hosts, the Portuguese community and the space itself. Through thoughtful elements of craft, materiality, texture and art, The Largo plays at the intersection of tradition and modernity; attention to detail and authenticity. Peter Bundgaard Rützou and Signe Bindslev Henriksen, founders of Space Copenhagen have conceived the interiors of The Largo to be soft, slightly nostalgic yet timeless, refined, historically detailed and overall orchestrated by a modern design perspective with an overarching sense of slow design and travel. Materials have been locally sourced for their qualities of subdued, warm, intimate, tactile, and natural. As such stone, wood, brass and soft fabrics feature repeatedly throughout.

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The suites at The Largo are all generously proportioned with thoughtfully considered layouts that consequently encourage a longer stay at a slower pace. All rooms mimic the intimacy of an apartment living room and private quarters. The beds are the centerpiece of the room and are framed by a renaissance feature of elaborate headboards reinterpreted in a modern way to pay respect to its origin. Ceilings bear the same level of diluted ornamentation bringing the historic context of the buildings into a new and repurposed setting. Paying homage to local craft and tradition each element has been carefully and exclusively designed for The Largo and executed by Portuguese artisans. The millwork, stone and metalwork throughout were carefully created by local artisans, as well as tiling sourced from local tile manufacturers. The wooden flooring, granite portal, entry passage and plastered walls in subdued color tones further enhance the slow and warm pace, with the ornate ceilings preserved with the historical buildings original design.

The bathrooms feature large tile stone flooring and bathtubs carved as a singular piece in local Portuguese stone. Each room includes a lounge and table settings that facilitate the experience of luxury in room dining. The penthouses and townhouses have their own kitchens, and all suites have extensive pantry storage and wine fridges to welcome a longer stay.

The lounge at The Largo has a secluded feel and this is where guests are greeted at ground floor level. Located towards the back of the building, there is an opportunity to interact and engage, dwell or listen to an intimate performance or talk. Guests can also enjoy the outside courtyard, which is impressively suspended between the building and rock, at 5 stories deep.

Adjoining The Largo are sister projects Cozinha das Flores and Flôr, a restaurant and a bar, both also under the direction of Nuno Mendes. The restaurant, Cozinha das Flores, celebrates the food, culture, wines, techniques and ingredients of Porto and the surrounding region. The adjacent twelve-seat bar, Flôr, has fast become a cornerstone of the local neighbourhood.

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