Instead of the usual lush interior finishes and decor typically found in modern hospitality projects, the designers Petra Liquida have made the experience of light, volume and architectural details the visual luxuries of Casa do Conto. Translated as the ‘House of Tales’, this unique hotel in Porto, Portugal was designed with R2 Design around the concept of integrating various parts of literature from 6 different authors of the history and architecture of the city, into the suites.
While the graphics of the relief in the concrete ceilings do evoke a cultural and contemplative experience when one looks up before falling asleep, it is the architecture of the rest of the hotel that I find alluring. From the reference of wood to match the concrete walls, to the details of the central stairs, to the manipulation of light within the volumes of each space continuing into the next – the result is one of visual luxury in a minimalist aesthetic that still pays reverence to the historical context of the city.
The new project evokes, through an abstract approach, the old house adornment and its wall textures by using traditional surfaces – crossed wood patterns, corrugated steel plates and curved plywood panels – as a “mould” for the new concrete walls: at the central staircase; at the back facade; at the cubic bathrooms inside every suite; at the oval-shaped central skylight, a typical Oporto typology. As a result we get a kind of “fossilized architecture” where those modern “skins” rephrase the pre-existing ones.