Revamping an old building in Porto: the Armazém Luxury Housing
The celebrated Portuguese custard tart “pastel de nata” is served in Porto - a UNESCO World Heritage site facing the Atlantic - in traditional cafés set in colourfully tiled houses. In the historical centre, a former warehouse for stones and steel was converted into a boutique hotel - Armazém Luxury Housing - in 2016. The successful transformation was designed by the owner, Fernanda Gramaxo, and architect Luís Sobral from Porto. The duo attached particular importance to preserving the building’s industrial charm while placing it in the context of modern living. The link between the old and new is already reflected in the name: “Armazém,” which means warehouse in Portuguese, while “Housing” refers to its transformation into a guesthouse.
The six-storey Armazém Luxury Housing building is constructed around a small courtyard. The structure’s raw concrete walls provide a cool contrast to its warm wooden furniture accents. Adding to this sleek contrast is the bathroom, which features the Cape Cod collection by Philippe Starck.
Positioned in the centre of the room, the Cape Cod bathtub is a unique eye-catcher. Made of DuraSolid - a case mineral material that permits flowing forms without joints or seams - the tub has a soft, velvet matt surface which is pleasant to the touch.
Gramaxo and Sobral designed the bedroom and bath to function as a singular living space. In addition to the tubs, the suites feature rectangular Cape Cod washbasins. Made of the proprietary material DuraCeram, the washbasins are highlighted by thin, refined “walls,” which measure just 5 mm. The linear Architec toilets perfectly complete the selection of Duravit bathroom furnishings- and ideal match for the hotel concept.
“One of the greatest challenges in designing a hotel is to give the building a personality that surprises the visitor,” says Luís Sobral. This was one of the reasons why the architect accepted the commission to refurbish the 23 x 85 m industrial structure, while the proprietor, Fernanda Gramaxo, was responsible for the interior design. Gramaxo opted for simple, customised furniture and colourful carpets from India and Turkey “to preserve the historical character and create something magical,” she explained. When the sun shines on the small courtyard, you can see exactly what she means.