Step through the palatial doors of Vila Foz Hotel & Spa, opening this March in Porto, and you’ll come face to face with two distinct aesthetics.The first is the romanticism of 19th-century Portuguese architecture, with elegant decorative touches and noble materials, and the second is “ninimalism,” the trademark interior style of renowned Portuguese artist and designer Nini Andrade Silva, featuring simple, organic forms in a contemporary context.
The combination is both irreverent and rooted in its location, artisanal and daring, emulating the roiling Atlantic Ocean in undulating shapes and a palette of tourmaline greens and earthy browns.
Vila Foz occupies a painstakingly restored 19th-century building, as well as a newer building in which simple lines provide the perfect counterpart to the historic structure’s gold-corniced elegance. The full force of Silva’s creative vision is in the 68 rooms and suites—unexpectedly modern spaces brought to life by subtle contrasts of materials and textures such as wood and fiberglass, mirror and bronze, and light and shadow.
Silva, the creative force behind Design Hotels members in Bogota and the Azores, as well as the Teatro in Porto, attributes her prolific creative energy at least in part to her beloved place of origin. “I was born in Madeira,” said Silva. “It gave me a lot of freedom, because around an island you just have the sea. You can dream and fly … you have no walls.”