Surrounded by Manhattan's most prestigious shops and galleries, Portantina is only twelve feet wide yet asserts a monumental presence on the street. The stone facade, which conceals a canvas shade and security system, frames the shop and its Venetian wares, seemingly pushing the ornate clutter of its neighbors aside to provide entrance.
The plan, which was inspired by the palaces of Venice and their passages from the street to shimmering waters, is distorted to create the illusion of a space much longer and larger than its actual dimensions. Space along the sides provides display and storage areas, as well as depth for such theatrical devices as stairs leading nowhere that suggest another level.
The materials are real, but used in surprising ways. Doorframes are silk, the wainscoting stone, the mannequins leather, moiré, silver leaf and burlap. Craft and mystery blend to suggest hidden delights and invite discovery.