Going to the laundromat is seldom an elegant experience. But this self-service laundry designed by Stu.dere + Civiurban sews together a number of experiences into an eye-pleasing ensemble. Located in the village of Vila Meã, in Amarante, Portugal, the business welcomes patrons with a cursive-style neon sign to have a coffee in a light-filled, storefront lounge area while completing the time-consuming chore of washing and drying clothes or – beyond a metallic checkered grate – getting alterations made at the back of shop.
As with any great article of clothing, when it comes to this interior it’s the details that counts: namely the marble-topped clothes-folding counter, the plant-filled light fixture (by Tromilux) and – boldest of all – the repeated green tile motif that wraps many of the walls. The hand-finished 10-by-10-centimetre squares are by the Portuguese brand Aleluia Ceramicas. “The green-coloured ceramics were chosen as an allusion to the ceramic used in old washings, to recover the memories of those places that remind us of the social aspects that came with collecting water,” the architects explain.
This bridge between contemporary and traditional influenced the design of the 200-square-metre shop – comprised of two formerly separate stores and divided into an area for self-service and another for specialized service – from the outset. “The purpose was to create a modern and innovative environment, reflecting the evolution of a society that seeks practical solutions for the management of its day to day, while still bringing the memory of traditional community washers back.”
Striking tiles, vivid plant life and luxuriously refined details elevate this Vila Meã launderette.