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T-O 12 is a new nightclub on Stuttgart's notorious 'party mile,' Theodor Heuss-Strasse. Like the street, the club is also named after the late Theodor Heuss, a fun-loving, dashing man and the first person elected for a full term as the President of the Federal Republic of Germany. Clubbers call the joint either Theo (T O sounds just like Theo in German) or Theo Zwulf (=Theo 12 in German).
To create the three-story club, the owners hired two Stuttgart-based firms: Architecture and communications firm Ippolito Fleiz Group, and graphic designers i-d buero. The result is a sleekly mysterious, pitch-dark space with white furnishings and massive black-and-white murals. The all-black walls, ceilings and floors together with the huge mirrors and tiny light spots produce an effect that is vertigo-inducing and fun. Theo would approve. By Tuija Seipell
Opened in late fall 2007, Electric Birdcage at Haymarket in the heart of London's West End, has been receiving mixed reviews. One thing is certain, though, it IS getting a reaction from everyone who visits.
Electric Birdcage is a magnificently weird combination of Alice in Wonderland and Russian Aristocrat, dim sum parlor and late-night cocktail bar, sophisticated party venue and silly funhouse.
The owners, brothers Richard and Anthony Traviss, knew where to go for eccentric and totally extravagant interiors: to London's beloved venue designer Shaun Clarkson. His handiwork can be seen, for example, at La Pigalle, Covent Garden's Denim, Play Room, Profile, Power's Acoustic Room, The Bloomsbury Ballroom, Atlantic Bar & Grill and Jerusalem.
Electric Birdcage's surrealistic interior includes a Fibonacci-style patterned floor, tables made of tree roots, gigantic pink hands for chairs, lavish Vegas-style mirrors, imposing black stallions, two snarling black polymer panthers, a carousel bar and iron birdcage chandeliers dangling from a pink ceiling. Even the DJ operates from a birdcage.
Capacity crowd of 300, served by cute staff in retro airline get-up, can order Pan-Asian fare by head chef Somporn Khamsaenphan all day, and stay until 4 am enjoying cocktails by mixologist Chad Shields. You and seven friends can share the signature Electric Birdcage bowl filled with a mix of champagne, Absolut Raspberri peach schnapps, Cointreau, Absolut Citron, strawberry puree, gomme syrup, orange juice, fresh raspberries and blueberries. That should elicit a reaction, if nothing else will. By Tuija Seipell
For years now we've been hitting the pub with our mates - ordering pint upon pint of beer - and although many of us have a preference for a local brew or a dark malt or an amber, plenty of us have been quite happy ordering the old fallback, a green-necked Heine - and almost everywhere we go, from the smallest desert roadside watering holes to the cosmopolitan lounges and clubs, we can almost be certain Heineken will be available.
So how does a brand, which is recognised worldwide, reengage its consumers and reinvent its story? The US-based BRC Imagination Arts, one of the world's leaders in experiential marketing, has developed the New Heineken Experience - an interactive journey through the history of the brand and the brewing process. The experience is housed in the former Heineken Brewery in Amsterdam.
Visitors to the restored brewery push their senses to the extreme as they see, smell, touch and taste everything that goes into the production - brewing and bottling Heineken beer. A special effects ride allows visitors to immerse themselves into the entire process from conception to completion with interactive exhibits as well as interpretive graphics. With the New Heineken Experience, the company hopes to develop renewed, enduring and personal connections with those of us who have always loved Heineken. - Andrew J Wiener
Le Bar 228 at the grand Le Meurice hotel in Paris is often topping the city’s “Best bar” lists. The reason may be the 50-plus whiskies on the list, or the 300 or so specialty cocktails, including the “228 or the “Starcky.” Which leads us conveniently to yet another possible reason: the opulent and masculine interiors, nicely re-imagined by Philippe Starck.
Le Meurice is a palace hotel overlooking the Tuileries Garden. For two centuries, it has been one of the most elegant hotels in Europe, and one with close ties with the artistic and creative world. Starck was invited to awaken this sleeping beauty from its slumber and he did it by infusing a sexy, modern dynamic yet letting the powerful 18th century magnificence re-claim its glory days. Starck’s skilful touch is seen throughout the hotel, not just in Le Bar 228.
Le Meurice is part of the Dorchester Collection of luxury hotels group of hotels that includes among others The Beverly Hills Hotel, Hotel Principe di Savoia in Milan, The New York Palace, 45 Park Lane in London. - Bill Tikos
We've seen hot private jets and boutique bars with a VIP edge. Could it be possible that bowling clubs are also becoming chic? We think it might be. Smelly, creaky bowling alleys and their sub-par fast food fare have a long way to go to become even retro, not to mention stylish, but there is hope. Recently, everybody’s been gushing over private bowling club All Star Lanes (pictured above) in London that apparently has managed to lure Madonna herself to its luxury and privacy.
In the Philippines, where bowling is a national sport, SM Bowling Center (pictured abobe & below) recently opened a new alley in the country’s largest mall, Mall of Asia in Manila. Formal blessing rites and introductory tournaments marked the launch of this 34-lane beauty. It is the handywork of the Melbourne Architects EAT who also designed the SM Megamall alley in Manila. Now that we are on a roll, we’d like to find more cool places to bowl. Please let us know if you know where they are. By Tuija Seipell
Tom Dixon’s career has taken him from discovering the idea for the S-bend chair while welding motorcycle parts, to being one of the hottest designers of lighting, furniture and interiors, and to occupying the chair of Creative Director at the venerable Finnish Artek.
Dixon’s latest showpiece, Tazmania Ballroom in Hong Kong, opened recently in the Central District (Lan Kwai Fong) where more than 100 bars, restaurants and entertainment venues attract people from around the world.
Tazmania’s owner is Hong Kong entertainment entrepreneur Gilbert Yeung Kei-lung. With his British boarding school and Canadian college upbringing, he wanted a British private-club atmosphere, but without the stuffiness.
He tapped Dixon’s Design Research Studio and lead designer Helene Bangsbo Andersen who employed refined James Bondish snobbery with its retro high-tech and combined it with a confident, cool club atmosphere.
The result is an exclusive and glamorous mix of a pool hall/private club/dance club/night club. Golden pool tables are magically lifted to the ceiling making room for one of Hong Kong’s largest dance floors where resident DJs keep the carefully screened guests hopping with the latest Funktion One ound system. The British street culture is emphasized with the staffers attire: they wear Doc Martens and Fred Perry.
Dixon’s own pieces decorate the opulent space including the Cone, Pipe and Copper Shade lights and the Offcut Stool.
Gilbert Yeung is also the founder of the Dragon-I bar and restaurant, Busy Suzie and Brother & Sister store and cafe. He is the son of Albert Yeung Sau-Shing, Hong Kong entertainment tycoon and chairman of the media conglomerate Emperor Entertainment Group. Tuija Seipell
Illuminated dance floors are nothing new. In the seventies they where all the rage, the problem was that dancers flared hot pants would cover the floor panels and kill the effect. Now, flares or not, the illuminated dance floor is back, this time in LED form. Using the latest in pressure sensitive LED technology, these panels are designed to interact with club goers moves as well as D.J's sets. Special plug ins can be downloaded into the D.Js computer equipment allowing an entire set to be pre programmed where the music and lights work together. The panels are not restricted to work only on dance floors and can be fitted to walls, bar tops and Lionel Ritchie's favorite place to dance, ceilings. by Bill T
Boutique beauty brand Aesop has launched another collaboration with inspiring Melbourne design firm, March Studio. After designing award winning stores in Adelaide (remember that amazing ceiling constructed from recycled bottles?), Melbourne (those product displays crafted almost entirely out of recycled cardboard), Studio March was charged with the task of designing a temporary installation doubling as a bar at Melbourne's recent State of Design Festival.
A partnership with Absolut Vodka and the British Design Council, the installation, called "After Dark" was brought to life with 1400 meters of tracing paper, forming the cocoon-like ceiling and walls. We can't wait to see what they do next. - Lisa Evans
A new week, a hot new bar: Melbourne.
Some cities put their drinking holes on bold display. All glass frontage and brazen invitation. Some don't. Melbourne is certainly in the latter camp and, so not surprisingly, its latest bar offering, New Gold Mountain - is a hole-in-the-wall affair found down a cobble-stoned laneway and somewhat reminiscent of a womb. Or the inside of I Dream of Jeannie's bottle.
New Gold Mountain, is brought to us by a team of four locals who've worked in leading bars in Melbourne and London. They've teamed with young Australian architect Cassandra Fahey, who for those who follow such things, designed the controversial house for Australian football sensationalist Sam Newman back in 2000... the one with the two story glass frontage imbedded with Pamela Anderson's face. For this project, Fayey took the old tailor's studio on the outskirts of the city's Chinatown district and created a space that works to a distinct opium den theme. Downstairs speaks of colonial-era Shanghai, with two fireplaces decorated with the Chinese zodiac. Upstairs is the Poppy Room featuring plush pink fabrics suspended from the ceiling. And nana-esque furniture. Pretty and comforting. Just as Jeannie would like it.
And the drinks? They specialize in sours. The music? Something described as "nouvelle-vague-Joy Division revisions". Which certainly pegs the clientele into a certain age bracket. A space you might have to track down yourself, but will certainly envelope you once you're in. Sarah W
The three-dimensional wall art, “I feel good today,” is a result of creative minds coming together. The location: A popular morning coffee and lunch spot, the erste liebe bar in Hamburg (erste liebe means first love in German). The bar’s owners are the video producers at erste liebe film who work right above the bar.
The artist: Niels Bruschke of Santiago Design, who used a Viktor bike from Schindlehauer as the focal point. The partner: Bruschke was asked to do this piece by Two Wheels Good, a bike shop and promoter and creator of urban mobility concepts. Their first location is at Bismarckstrasse and the second one opened this summer at the new bike-loving 25hours Hotel HafenCity.
All of which just proves Oprah Winfrey’s point: “Here’s what my love affair with quotations has taught me: the more you focus on words that uplift you, the more you embody the ideas contained in those words.” - Tuija Seipell
Yes, we all saw Lost In Translation and thought, ‘hang on a minute, if Bill Murray can seduce Scarlett Johansson by singing ‘More Than This’ then maybe we could too!’
Let’s face it, karaoke has always been the butt of bad movies, and its reputation is currently languishing somewhere between Japanese businessmen necking methylated spirit and hen parties ‘cutting loose’.
But recently, it has started to reclaim its cult status from half-tanked brides-to-be, and become a little bit more palatable. This new karaoke bar has been quietly, or rather, loudly, winning acclaim for its alternative approach to the nation’s favourite pastime.
Rather than the dark booths of your standard karaoke club, this new private members’ sing-along has incorporated young artists to help liven up the interior. Think Manga cartoons but with a Lichtenstein edge.
Each booth has its own distinctive decor, and every surface has a graphic to reflect the spaces they fill. Which is a far cry from the matted walls and vinyl floors some bars choose. And most of all, it’s members only, so there’s no need to worry about being harassed by a woman with oversized fairy wings stuck to her back. By Matt Hussey.
Kettner’s in London’s Soho has hosted the famous since 1867 when Auguste Kettner, chef to Napoleon III, first opened the venue. Close to the theatres and other entertainment, the venue has undergone many incarnations with regular patrons from Oscar Wilde and King Edward VII to Agatha Christie and Bing Crosby each leaving their famous vibes in the space.
The four Georgian houses that form Kettner’s have now been refurbished, upgraded and reconfigured into several spaces: The Brasserie, The Pudding Bar, Champagne Bar, The Apartment and several private dining rooms and event spaces including the famed Cabinet Particulier and the grand The Salle.
The new Kettner’s with its fun, delicious and semi-sinful French undertones and furnishings was designed by London-based Ilse Crawford of Studio Ilse. Crawford’s other hospitality and retail assignments include a restaurant for Grand Hotel Stockholm, interiors for Kranzbach Spa Hotel in the Bavarian Alps and Aesop’s Mount Street shop in London. - Tuija Seipell
Everybody is going crazy about Mumbai's Blue Frog, opened earlier this year. It's a 1,000-square-meter complex that includes a club, restaurant, lounge, sound stage, recording studio and sound lab, all encased within the massive walls of an old warehouse in Mumbai's mill district. The Blue Frog Club interior may remind you of those delirious nights at the end-of-summer Exhibition with its midway games, roller coasters and dizzy-making rides. Or you may suddenly start channeling Queen Amidala, addressing the StarWarsian Senate from her floating pod. Luckily, Blue Frog does its dizzying job in a way that is totally stylish - not a tacky thing or overdone costume in sight. And everyone's table is definitely on level ground, although it does not appear so first.
Designers Chris Lee and Kapil Gupta formerly of Chris Lee Architects and Contemporary Urban, and now of Serie (London and Mumbai) have managed to create a cohesive yet exciting space by stripping the visual cues down to a only a few very strong ones.
The equilibrium-challenging effect is achieved by the clever surround-millwork that uses a circle as its main form. The mahogany-paneled millwork circles each round table, forming circular booths or pods in somewhat varying shapes at various levels, guaranteeing great sightlines for all. Not wanting to compete with the lighting or other embellishments of the stage acts, the interior is dark except for the top surface of the booths.
The glowing back-lit resin surfaces tie the seating area together even when a stage show is on, and make it a bit easier to gain one's bearings in the otherwise dark space. Like seating in a Roman amphitheatre, the pods circle and rise from a stage area that can also double as standing room or dance floor in a club set-up. Acts from India and from around the world are starting to make Blue Frog Mumbai's hottest club. By Tuija Seipell
Standing out in Abu Dhabi takes more than clever gimmicks. Among the opulence of luxury hotels, lavish restaurants and all other forms of pampering and spectacular entertainment – including Ferrari World and a few breathtaking golf clubs – being merely great is nowhere near enough.
The legendary Cipriani Group is one of the brave enterprises that has recently entered the competition for the attentions of the demanding super-elite clientele.
The night club’s location is one such feature. Allure overlooks the water and extravagant super yachts of the Yacht Club. It is also connected by a bridge to magnificent five-star The Yas Hotel. But the most amazing part of the nightclub is the view. What you see from its balcony is a real Formula One™ race track.
Designed by Orbit Design Studio (Bangkok, London and Singapore), Allure is divided into The Main room adorned with gold leaf and bronze cladding, and The Terrace that overlooks the race track.
Orbit has also designed the Sound Phuket night club we’ve featured, the Bed Supperclub in Bangkok, and many other luxury bars, clubs and restaurants designers throughout Asia, the Middle East and Europe. - Tuija Seipell
Photography by Owen Raggett.
L’Arc Paris, Restaurant-Bar & Club, has been open for four months and at least the Club has already become the place where you go if you want to be with the chic, the famous and the beautiful. Mostly, you go there to be seen.
Last month, one of the must-see occasions at the Club was the Chloé Van Paris’s Fashion Burlesque Ball, a masquerade where the dress code, according to the Club’s Facebook page. Party - Club Party was “13 cm heels, nylon, glamorous stockings, retro, pine-up, dandy, sexy, smart and glamorous.”
At the Restaurant, chef Antony Germani (of L’Atelier Joël Robuchon) presides over menus of seasonal everything-made-from-scratch delicacies.
L’Arc occupies the former premises of l’Etoile Nightclub at 12 rue de Presbourg, with views of Arc de Triomphe but it was completely redesigned by Cannes-based Prospect Design.
Prospect was established in 1996 by Samy Chams (and expanded into Dubai in 2005) whose night-club design work includes VIP Room in St Tropez, Baili in Cannes, and Maddox and Movida in London. - Tuija Seipell
Are you always hunting around vintage stores trying to find that perfect precious signature piece, delicately rummaging through shelves of long forgotten items imagining having the skill and craft to turn that amazing door into a signature coffee table, or an old barbers jar into a unique centrepiece vase? This is what designer Lee Broom was thinking for his newest product 'the Decanterlights', which launch next week as part of his latest bar design for Coquine in London's west, and lucky for him - he does have the skill and the craft to create such beautiful and original pieces.
The Decanterlights are truly one of a kind, each made from lead crystal decanters that have been hand sourced from antique markets and vintage shops by Broom and his team. Hung together in clusters at Coquine to create a warm glow amongst the eclectic surroundings, the Decanterlights have already created such a stir that Broom has decided to build on the concept to develop a collection that will soon be available to purchase in either clear crystal or with a contemporary polished gold finish.
Coquine will also feature signature pieces from Broom’s recent and highly sought after Heritage Boy collection, including some that have not yet been seen by the public.
Based in London, 33 year old Broom has already achieved such acclaim and success that his designs are sold around the world and have been featured in publications including Wallpaper*, Sunday Times Style and The New York Times. Original, contemporary and style conscious, Broom has created the design for over 35 venues across London and the UK and has won numerous awards including Time Out's Bar of the Year for Lost Society. - Brendan McKnight
It is not easy to impress in Paris. To create a restaurant, bar, hotel or retail establishment that stands out, surprises the locals and the jetsetting international visitors, and creates positive buzz that lasts more than a night, is a serious challenge.
The collective talents and star power of the team behind Le Restaurant Matignon are significant enough to suggest that a new, permanent player may have arrived on the scene.
Opened two months ago, at 3 Avenue Matignon, just a few steps off Champs‐Elysées, Matignon promotes itself as “restaurant and playground” but in plain terms it is a restaurant, bar and lounge that has already hosted several lavish private parties for high-end brands and media.
Matignon was founded by Paris-born international promoter and artistic director Cyril Péret (Paglinghi) and Gilbert Costes, one of the Parisian Costes hospitality triumvirate (brothers Jean-Louis and Gilbert and Gilbert’s son, Thierry) that seems to have its hands in half the new restaurant and cafe concepts in Paris.
Péret has entertained and cooperated with celebrities throughout his career in Miami and Paris, while the Costes brothers are no strangers either to working with celebrities and top-level designers and architects.
To create the physical environment, Costes and Péret retained the formidable and prolific French architect and designer Jacques Garcia, whose rich and luxurious signature touch can be witnessed in hotels and restaurants around the globe. Garcia’s work includes Hôtel Métropole in Monte Carlo, the Spice Market restaurant in New York, Hôtel Costes in Paris and dozens of others around the world owned by sultans and sheiks, royalty and even Garcia himself (Château du Champ-de-Bataille).
Several years ago, Garcia was quoted as saying that 50 million people ate at his restaurants and five million people slept at his hotels. These numbers have only grown since.
At Matignon, Garcia has created a luxurious mix of eclectic and opulent, subdued and bold, elegant and funky. Matignon has no online presence at this time, so the only way to get to know it is to go in person. Tuija Seipell
Matignon is located at 3, Avenue Matignon 75008 Paris, telephone : 01 42 89 64 72.
Juliet Supperclub opened late last year in the West Chelsea area of New York. The elegant, opulent, sexy and thoroughly shimmery establishment owes its looks to Bluarch Architecture + Interiors, whose ability to make the blue, hard surfaces look luminous and richly textured is astonishing.
Juliet is an impressive coming-together of big names that keep popping-up in the restaurant and nightclub scene. It is the 15th-or-so restaurant of celebrity chef Todd English. English’s influence is evident in the Mediterranean menu and overall attention to food, something that often ends up overpowered by glittery and glamorous nightclub surroundings.
Juliet is one of three restaurant/nightclubs in which nightclub tycoon Jon Bakshi (Jon B.) is currently a partner. His other two are the Greenhouses he operates with Barry Mullineaux in New York and Hallandale Beach, Florida. Mullineaux, in turn, is currently also partner in Via dei Mille in New York with Giuseppe Tuosto and Marcello Villani.
Greenhouse New York was also designed by Bluarch as are several other prominent nightclubs, stores, hotels and residences in New York and around the world. Tuija Seipell
A tiny cocktail lounge, Yucca, has opened on the third floor of Mansion 26F in Sinan Mansions, Shanghai.
The building is the headquarters of Yucca’s creator, Australian-Greek chef and restaurateur David Laris, and it also houses three of his other restaurants: Funky Chicken, Fat Olive and 12 Chairs.
Yucca’s interior design is by Shanghai-based Lime 388, a design and communications agency founded by the Paris-educated Thomas Dariel and Benoit Arfeuillere.
Yucca’s crazy, modern Mexican feel conjures up thoughts of Salvador Dali, Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo. There are the religious undertones, tall candelabra, catholic crosses, elaborate floor mosaics. There are shocking colors, paisley arm chairs, iron gates and a big slab of marble as the main bar. It all looks a bit much, even without patrons. And the multitude of rum and tequila cocktails will only heighten the somewhat mad vibe. Undoubtedly the creators’ intention. - Tuija Seipell
Club MUSÉE is Madrid’s fresh take on what night clubs could be — a combination art gallery and night club, but both with a sharp, trendy edge.
Designed by creative director and designer Parolio of Madrid’s Parolio & Euphoria Lab the space provides a strong back-drop for powerful art.
At Club MUSÉE black glass and mirrors, bright-colored sculptural furniture and a three-meter-wide LED video screen create a visual challenge for the artists’ work that ranges from paintings to video art and other installations.
The work of upcoming photography and illustration talent is currently on display from photographer Robert Bartholot from Berlin, Paco Peregrín from Madrid and illustrator Glenn Hilario from New York.
The visual feast is supported by music mixed by Madrid’s hottest DJs who offer electronic, pop and house music.
Parolio’s strong sense of drama, theater and color work well at Club MUSÉE, and is evident in many of his other projects, including Pacha Madrid night club and Le Marquis restaurant and lounge. - Bill Tikos
Brazilian architect Fred Mafra, no novice to night club design, was given the unusual opportunity to redesign his earlier work, the night club Josefine/Roxy.
Since 2007, the club has been a strong player in Savassi, the night life area of Belo Horizonte, the capital of and largest city in the state of Minas Gerais in southeastern Brazil.
The 955m² space has two dance floors, three bars, plus four VIP areas that can be combined into one larger VIP space. In addition, it has two lounges and smoking areas with a retractable roof.
With his new design, Mafra went to town with the hexagon and triangle forms.. By using them in the honeycombed ceilings and black-and-white floors, by including padded-vinyl seating and walls, and by lighting the space with creative LED, he's created an angularly sinful madhouse effect that is destined to help guests forget the outside world.
Roxy Clubis open on Wednesdays and Fridays when the DJs play techno and e-music to a straight crowd. Josefine Club is open on Thursdays and Saturdays when the DJs play tribal and pop music to gay/hipster crowd.
The 12-year-old Clube Disco night club in São Paulo was reborn this fall. It now carries its past proudly yet offers a completely upgraded experience.
Brazilian architect Guto Requena worked with architect Mauricio Arruda on this project. We like the retro custom-designed furniture that gives a nod to the 1970s Brazilian style and mixes nicely with the black-leather, exposed-pipes underground disco feel. And we like the tunnel that was re-envisioned by Brazilian artist Kleber Matheus.
The lighting of the dance floor consists of 250 linear meters of metallic rails with LED tape that run as a frame along the perimeter of the space. This allows for an endless variety of lighting programs and color mixes to create and accentuate different effects based on the music. The entire system is controlled by the MADRIX software. - Tuija Seipell
A rear of a small inner city Melbourne pub has been transformed from a tiny add-on back extension into a voyeuristic playground by Techné Architects. The clever rethinking of the space has effectively turned the 130m2 back area of The Prahran Hotel into 300m2 over three levels.
The star of the design is a series of 17 ½ concrete waterpipes. These concrete culverts dominate the striking street façade.
For architect Justin Northrop, the pipes add a lot more than drama to the hotel’s exterior. “Inside you are climbing over the pipes, sitting in them, or on them at various levels. They have a lasting impact on the space.”
Guests can sit in booths inside the pipes. “We were looking for a sense of drama and theatricality,” says Northrop.
Booths can be seen from the street, and throughout the interior of the hotel. Each booth, that seats up to 12, features leather upholstered banquettes and is lined with recycled spotted gum slats and acoustic absorption mats. “The voyeuristic nature of these pubs is very important, the way the space is connected visually,” says Northrop.
The project is the fifth pub collaboration between Techné and hotel group Sand Hill Road (SHR has pubs around Melbourne and moonlight as successful film producers). Pub Group’s Matt Mullins was not trying to create a gastro pub. “I want it to be accessible, for locals, for neighbours,” he says. At the same time, the close collaboration with Techné in the past meant Mullins was more than open to left-field design ideas. The main bar features salvaged pipes, concrete cast lamps and plantings by Ayus Botanical.
Guests can choose between three levels; the ground floor mixes polychromatic textured tiles and spotted gum floorboards, with a light-filled courtyard and street views. The courtyard features a striking nine-metre trapezoidal concrete wall, that has a corrugated effect and porthole motifs.
The natural materials and soft upholstery take the edge of the concrete, steel and glass used in the interior. (Even the banisters are covered in leather for a luxe, surprise element.)
The 12-seat VIP area sits atop a giant water pipe, feeling suspended over the space. A key criteria of the design was to ensure that patrons always have a vantage point from wherever they are in the space. “It’s great for voyeurs,” says Mullins. An exception to the open-plan approach is a sunken seating area, known as ‘the lair’, below stairs for patrons who want to stay under wraps.
At its core, design “is about conviviality” says Northrop. “It’s providing people with opportunities to interact in non-standard ways, a whole variety of seating and gathering.” To make sure there is space for serious partying, one long table on the ground floor can be dismantled to make way for an impromptu dance floor. Northrop made sure the redesign featured a serious DJ deck. “Afterall pubs are not meant to be places of calm and reflection,” he says. Indeed. - Emily Ross
New York restaurateurs, Eric Marx and Lisle Richards, known for the Wayfarer at The Quin, have taken on a massive project and turned a Meatpacking District haunt into party central.
The pair opened the elegant Monarch Room earlier this year and just recently, right below it, the Gilded Lily bar. The location of the Monarch and the Gilded Lily is 408 West 15th Street, the former home of the 70s and 80s gay party spot, Crisco Disco. The building has stood empty for three decades while the District around it has been transformed.
To create the interior for Gilded Lily, Marx and Richards worked with New York-based Roman and Williams (of Highline Hotel, Ace, Standard and numerous high-profile restaurants and residences).
They gutted the entire building right down to the support joists and then recreated from these bare bones a special blend of rough industrial brutalism and slightly sinful glamour.
Dancers on the sunken dance floor can now enjoy raw cement surfaces, golden leather seating and a new take on the disco ball: an enormous chandelier of long spikes that is synchronized to the deejay’s music beats.
Apparently the name Gilded Lily comes from the idiom of “gilding the lily” that means covering something with a thin layer of gold and/or unnecessarily enhancing something already beautiful. In Gilded Lily both are true. The already handsome raw space has been embellished by a thin touch of gold. But not completely unnecessarily as it all seems to belong perfectly and echo the past of the District and the building itself. - Tuija Seipell
Hong Kong’s already vibrant and versatile bar scene keeps receiving additions that would be right at home in any large global hub. In the Central business district, chock-full of banks, the design-aware and quality-conscious financial wizards now have yet another bar/club where they can spend all those gazillions.
The whiskey bar foxglove, at the Printing House on Duddell Street, is the second bar opened by the Ming Fat House owner team of Jonathan Bui (a Canadian), Eric Lam (an American) and Shakib Pasha (from Hong Kong.)
To provide an environment worthy of their demanding prospective patrons, they invited local architect Nelson Chow Chi-Wai, principal and founder of NC Design & Architecture, to iterate the story of a wealthy adventurer, Frank Minza who, as the owners coyly say, may or may not be a fictional character. To thicken the plot they add that he was the illegitimate son of a somewhat luckless entrepreneur from Hong Kong’s colonial days.
So there is a touch of high-end shadiness and secrecy in foxglove that really is a lovely hybrid: A masculine combo of an ocean liner, airplane, gentlemen’s club and speakeasy.
The entrance isn’t just a plain old door, in fact there is no bar entrance visible. Instead, you walk into an umbrella shop where exquisite specimens of luxury brollies are displayed in custom-design glass cabinets. Find the right silver handle, touch it, and a secret door opens to the ‘air plane’ that seats 80. A marble-topped cocktail bar connects to the dining section.
A VIP room seats 32 guests and resembles a first-class dining car of a luxury train and the VVIP room brings you to an intimate gentleman’s library where time seems to have stopped and money is still made of paper.
The owner’s first Hong Kong bar, Mrs. Pound, opened a year ago in Sheung Wan. It tested the secret speakeasy entrance concept by offering a Chinese stamp shop as the entry environment. In that case, the story tells that Mrs.
Pound was a burlesque dancer who fell in love with a Chinese stamp shop owner. In an interview, Jonathan Bui was quoted as saying that the hidden entrance and secrecy work especially well in Hong Kong because “it is so different from the typical in-your-face shopfronts.” - Tuija Seipell.
Photography: Dennis Lo Designs
With his IO Studio, established in 2007, Czech architect Luka Krížek has created several notable hospitality projects.
His beer bar at Brandýs nad Labem (near Prague) for Radegast is the first of a potential chain of bars for the famous brand. Radegast is owned by Plzeňský Prazdroj best known by its German name Pilsner Urquell.
We were immediately attracted to the Old-is-New-Again vibe of the former lock factory. We love well-restored, re-purposed buildings with both an old and new tale to tell.
Krížek added a nice unexpected layer of tradition by using the patterns and colours of the Cibulák porcelain also known as Zwiebelmuster or Blue Onion pattern manufactured by Meissen porcelain since the 18th century.
The rounded shape of the onion repeats nicely in the tables, chairs, lamps, vaulted ceiling and even the exposed AC pipes. - Tuija Seipell
Photography is by Alexander Dobrovodský.
For as long as architecture and music have coexisted they have been far more dependent on each other than one may have initially realized. There is an equidistance between how architecture has shaped the evolution of music and how music has done the same for architecture.
It’s the notion of harmony within spaces, that essential idea that the engrained harmony and vibrancy that flows through a space then goes on to give that overall place a particular identity and then in the reverse order.
As early as the 1400’s architects would use music to define structure for the most beautiful of building types.
Renaissance architect Leon Battista Alberti described it in this way;
“We shall therefore borrow all our Rules for Finishing our Proportions, from the Musicians, who are the greatest Masters of this Sort of Numbers, and from those Things wherein Nature shows herself most excellent and compleat.”
On the flipside to this, time has seen music progressively adapting to fit the containers in which it is being exhibited in, hence the birth of electronic music and stadium rock.
So how does this all relate to a somewhat hidden nightclub tucked away within a laneway in Melbourne’s CBD? The answer to that is it’s a further continuation of this evolutionary partnership between the worlds of music and design.
It’s ‘Bond’, a place built upon bold spaces, bold design and bold harmonies which evoke a sense of confidence, as if you’ve ordered a martini shaken not stirred and are playing it effortlessly cool.
The sleek lines and curvature in the design mimic the music which pulsates from wall to wall and overtime as the music has evolved so has the place, into a sophisticated sub-ground lair with just the right amount of retro edge.
Most impressively Bond holds a particular contextual importance as it is attached to an inner-city carpark facility, notoriously known as the big ugly villain with metal teeth within any city. Yet this carpark has now become the beautiful woman sitting at the bar with a hidden mystery.
Bond’s interior layout combines the fluidity, openness and vibrancy of an amphitheater with intimate corners, enclosed booths, and numerous private settings, brought to life by state of the art lighting and sound and custom made furnishings.
This kind of execution doesn’t come about cheap nor does it occur without the work of a design team which appreciates the harmonies and spaces within a place.
Fady Hachem of Melbourne-based design and architectural studio ‘Hachem’ first encountered Bond as 21-year-old graduate from RMIT, where he managed to do what any other student would struggle to and convince the then owners to let him develop the interior concepts, bold brand development and manage their sites $2m overhaul.
As does music and architecture go in circles drawing from the old to create new so has Bond. Hachem many years later was re-commissioned to do a $5m refurbishment creating an interior layout that is so far removed from anything you’ve seen in Melbourne, evoking a feeling of escapism and luxury. Ironically it does feel like you’re on the movie set for the latest James Bond film.
By creating a multi-functional space, Bond is now capable of catering to a wider variety of clientele. The bar promotes a New York styled bottle service and punters can enjoy a $50,000 exclusive experience that comes with helicopter rides, a personal chauffeur, masseuse, private waitresses to Cuban cigars and a range of drinks such as a personalised 15L bottle of Veuve Clicquot Yellow Label and Bond edition Bollinger. Very Bond indeed!
Bond is more than a nightclub or a bar, its architectural elegance meets ultimate nightlife experience and has set the tone for future design within its field in Australia. To experience the harmonies, spaces and place visit Bond at 16-24 Bond St, Melbourne. - David Mousa
Off-hand, one might not think of an ancient Bulgarian town at the foot of the Pirin Mountains as the location of a night club whose design was inspired by the Disney science fiction movie TRON:Legacy.
Yet the Flash Club in Bansko fits right in with the smart set of this European ski resort that is also known for its jazz and pop music scene.
Sofia, Bulgaria-based Studio Mode with chief designer and founder Svetoslav Todorov at the helm created an eerie pulsating and swirling atmosphere through the use of reflecting surfaces and massive circular forms.
State-of-the art sound and lighting schemes complete the illusion of an otherworldly experience .
VIP podiums link up with the bar through beams of light while the reflections off the surfaces amplify the space and produce an impression of infinity.