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In Porto, Estudio Além clads Sportino’s Store 3P in blocks of local cork

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In Porto, Estudio Além clads Sportino’s Store 3P in blocks of local cork

(Oleh Kardash)

Cork is a familiar material surrounding us in various forms: bottle stoppers for wine, bulletin boards with to-do lists, and the support on the soles of our shoes. Whatever the case may be, cork is a versatile material originating from the bark of cork oak trees where Portugal reigns as the world’s largest exporter. Keeping this in mind, Spanish firm Estudio Além wanted to tie the design of Sportino’s new Store 3P in Porto, Portugal, with the local material. As the studio described via a project description, “The cork used in the store has been extracted from [cork oaks], respecting the cultural and territorial roots and integrating the local identity to preserve the historical heritage.”

As visitors enter the 3,315-square-foot (308-square-meter) shoe and clothing store, they are immediately immersed in a rich, dark brown cork envelope. The design team took this impermeable material and completely encased Store 3P’s interior through self-supporting cork blocks, creating a minimalistic background and allowing Sportino’s footwear to pop. “The constructive composition of the store is based on the stacking of expanded cork blocks, thus reducing the architecture of the store to a minimum,” the firm continued. “A system is created where matter becomes structure, support and space, and the logic of the materials solves the configuration of the store.”

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