Located in Shanghai’s former French Concession, Atelier xy was tasked with designing the interior of a bar in the heart of Shanghai. Many shops and restaurants line the hustle and bustle of the adjacent street. To enter, guests walk up the stairs through a long and dark corridor, which acts as a transition between the noisy exterior and the quiet interior. Once the reception is reached, the unique character of this place slowly reveals itself.
The design of interior and custom furniture does not seek a particular style; rather it was done so to ensure all functions and operational requirements are fully met while serving as an extension of the brand founder’s fondness for insects. The bar is divided into four spatial components: the foyer, the communal bar, the lounge and the chamber.
The communal bar is the core of the venue. Its 12-meter length consists of multiple ice and drip trays and equipment which can accommodate six to eight bartenders simultaneously. Here the tone is deliberately warm with the use of Burmese teak, leather, and copper. To celebrate the art of cocktail making, only a few selected tools on the countertop are visible to guests. The minimal design of the back wall and countertop allows for better interaction between guests and bar tenders. Carefully located light fixtures help guests immerse themselves in the art of cocktail making and accentuate elements critical of this activity.
Opposite the communal bar is the glass brick wall, which acts as a multi-functional element. 5mm black iron is used for the drawers which are embedded within and when extended, several insect species are revealed. The same drawers also act as side tables for guests to put glasses on when higher occupancy is needed.
The lounge uses a number of dark colored materials, creating its own character within this venue. This is a casual space with loose furniture that can be arranged as desired. The custom furniture allows for loose seats to be converted to side tables. A butterfly wall dominates the interior of this space with the aid of a tiny light source.
The Chamber Room acts as a laboratory for bar tenders. Entry to this space is through a heavy sliding glass brick door with floor and ceiling tracks. The heavy push required further signifies the unique character of this space. Various tools (centrifuges, rotary distillation machines, homogenizers, etc) within the cabinetry allow bartenders to hone their skills and perform their experiments in front of guests. The room also offers a projecting view of the communal bar countertop in order to provide VIP guests a glimpse of activities there.
The restroom is a dimly lit space to further express the mystery concept of the design. The centerpiece is an island counter which encourages unexpected encounters among guests. Using a few light fixtures, the intent is to express the island like an art work taking center stage in this space.