A Sandeira is a small café located on the ground floor of one of the oldest buildings in Rua dos Caldeireiros, which had been closed up for more than a decade. It is around 40m2 and is entered through double glass doors, with rear windows looking onto a small patio belonging to a neighbouring building, which cannot be accessed.
The structure and traditional building techniques are apparent. The intervention makes use of old materials from other buildings in the city of Porto, which were no longer needed. In doing so, the aim was to avoid the dichotomy of ‘new versus old’ commonly employed in interior design and restoration. The use of time-worn doors gives a ‘ruined’ feel to the space, operating as a channel of communication with the surrounding area which remains very rundown. The floor is made from granite paving stones which literally extend the street into the interior, emphasising public enjoyment of the room. The tables, counter and balcony were designed to fit in with the rest of the objects which shape the café. The low lighting and natural appearance of the materials creates an intimate ambiance. In the kitchen, contemporary materials and techniques were used in order to meet legal quality standards. The toilet is ‘stripped down’, punctuated by a number of recycled elements, such as the old window of the building converted into a mirror and mosaics in coloured patterns. Here, visitors are invited to leave messages in full view on the cement walls, turning them into participants in the configuration of the room.