The request for what was to become the Suspended Matter Box had everything to be straightforward. MMV Arquitectos were to do a remodeling and amplification project of a restaurant. It looked like a simple thing to do, but in short time two aspects came to surface that would rapidly change their thoughts. One was the fact that they had to work upon an existing, contemporary project in the first stage of its construction, and the other one, related to the location. Felgueiras rural milieu (Oporto, Portugal) is typified by a mixture of traditional old housing amongst agricultural fields and small backyards. So, it became a challenge that would require a very well thought-off alteration, a sensitive landscape integration, and a general concept approach that would provide meaning to it all.
The client’s main intention was for his business to turn a well-known space for relevant events in site and surroundings. Having this important principle in mind, the architects reinforced its outstanding position in the terrain giving even more expression to the rectangular original volumes. This basic assumption alone was very positive, for it brought more flow to the creative process. Light entries, footbridges and exterior arrangements managed to maintain the geometrical purism and contrasting personality, but did it in dialogue with natural matter.
However, the main charismatic element, to which MMV refers to as landscape-ceiling, lies in the main events area. All the space creation is based upon a suspended element made of flexible metallic knit. This thin transparent net represents the wind, its fluxes and intensities, bringing dynamics to a very wide, dull ceiling. It became the ex-libris for being so artistic and unique, but at the same time, neutral enough to serve all purposes.
The accesses by corridors and stairs are somewhat extensive as well, so MMV opted to give it balance through rhythm and alignment, either horizontally or vertically, using construction solutions or coatings, sometimes only ending outside in the exterior gardens.
The new space has everything to play an outstanding role to all it will host in the future, without losing its boldness and timelessness.
In many ways matter was this assignment’s main inspiration and the landscape ceiling (or suspended matter) that very same specific result.
Design and info © MMV Arquitectos
Images © Ricardo Oliveira Alves