Years ago, bars were considered to be a functional space. It was a place where the men folk could go after a long, hard day at work and have a beer with their friends. These days we all work long hard hours and are all entitled few a few cheeky ones and a boogie at the end of a busy week. But bars have become so much more than your basic watering hole, they are now an escape from our lives, a place where we can get glammed up and head to.
Where we can sip our Martinis and be surrounded by beautiful spaces and beautiful people. We now want more, we want a place to entertain us, a place to lose ourselves, have fun and go a bit crazy in an environment that is different to what we’re used to seeing every day.
Bars are an area that designers really can go wild with. They can be sleek, chic, ultra modern, retro, quirky, quaint, based on a theme or a product. There really are no rules to what can be done, they take inspiration from the bar name, the clientele your aiming to attract or the previous history of the building.
There are so many bars across the globe, and new ones opening every day it’s impossible to say which are the coolest (in fact the coolest bar I ever visited was down a back street in Cambodia, and can only be described as an indoor tree house, but it disregarded so many health and safety rules and was a virtual death trap I cannot include it here). So here are a couple that have been noticed and acclaimed for their innovative design qualities in the last year.
Supper Club, this chain of bars/restaurants is like no other. With Bars in San Francisco, Amsterdam, Singapore and Istanbul it really is a global formula. Freedom is the key word at Supper club, a place where you never know what might happen. Its aim is to tickle every one of your senses and it’s the designers Concrete Architects job to do this. A night there begins in a neutral environment, a white main dining room, reclining on cushions and beds communally arranged while you dine and drink.
As the night goes on the space changes and transforms into something else, a theatre or a club with films and images being projected onto the blank canvas walls and music filling the stark space. The interiors are very sleek, sexy and modern with lots of uses of leather, and metal, and of course highly polished concrete, with sheer materials draped around, softening the look and playing with the light. Light plays a huge part in transforming the spaces and creating different atmospheres. Supper club demonstrates just how far design is moving from a place to sit and drink, to an entire experience.
Carbon Bar is the new addition to the Cumberland Hotel, and is a complete contrast to the Hotel it is situated within. Its inspiration is a mix of industrial glamour and the sultry low key style that Shoreditch is renowned for. With its use of brick, steel, rugs, mesh, table lamps and leather it still retains a minimalist feel but in a more robust way, with more substance while maintaining a sense of elegance. The ground floor contains a raised seating level surrounded by floor to ceiling chains, offering a sense of privacy, in a very ‘look but don’t touch’ way, this of course is the VIP area. It’s a hard wearing design that appeals to those who are maybe looking some something different than sleek white spaces, something more real and raw.
Bars are a place where you let yourself go, meet friends, have birthday get-together’s, or go on dates. The modern bar has to cater for all this, offering intimate privacy on one hand, and large open space for exhibitionist on another, all while being a functional bar. They achieve this with light, clever design, and via materials, in many very cool ways.