As far as nightlife goes, in Porto, Portugal, it is all happening downtown. A local company, Baixa (baixa is Portuguese for downtown), has recently added another downtown nightclub to its roster that already includes the Baixa bar.
The new nightclub, Instalação (installation), was designed by José Carlos Cruz Arquitecto, the same team responsible for the design of Baixa bar as well as the Farmacia Lordelo we have featured earlier.
The space for Instalação, opened in March, was in essence a long, narrow corridor with two dividing structural arches that support the building itself.
From this 250 square-meter (2,690 sq.ft.) space the designers created a golden wire tunnel where the main materials are concrete, brass and polished aluminum.
Inspired by various works of Olafur Eliasson,the team created a glowing, floating lighting program that helps expand the space visually and draws the attention to reflections and illumination, away from the narrow framework of the room.
Andy Warhol’s Factory inspired some of the ideas for the smaller VIP room, and Anish Kapoor’s ideas gave suggestions for the beautifully textured concrete ceiling – our favourite part of the entire project.
Apart from the Tom Dixon lighting fixture above the concrete bar counter, all furnishings and fixtures were design by José Carlos Cruz Arquitecto. - Tuija Seipell.
Photos by Fernando Guerra FG+SG.
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
On first glance, The Passenger restaurant, recently opened in the trendy Malasaña neighborhood’s Triball area in Madrid, Spain, appears like any retro dining establishment with heavy-handed use of leather, brass and dark wood. Yet there is a distinct undertone of a train, of a fine passenger train of a bygone era.
The bulky and clubby arm chairs, the iron table legs, the big windows all refer to a time when heads of state and industrialists, often travelling with their wives and servants, occupied entire train cars and dined in the most lavishly appointed dining cars rivalling the best-known fine establishments of the time.
But the real fun aspect of the 150-seat The Passenger -- coffee bar by day, rock bar by night -- is the illusion of movement. The three “windows” in the main seating area are actually video screens onto which a constant, synchronized stream of video is programmed so that it flows from window to window, creating a feeling of looking out the window of a moving train.
The stylized train view, evoking an alternate state of being in the middle of busy Madrid, was created by Spanish video artist Franger. The images of both urban scenes and natural landscapes were recorded from actual trains around the world.
The restaurant’s designers at Parolio took their inspiration from the long-and-narrow space and then continued with the train travel concept throughout. Consistent with the classic rock music played at night, the main hall of the restaurant is decorated with images of the greatest stars of classic rock pictured in trains and railway stations.
The Passenger’s owners are young Spanish actors Rodrigo Taramona and Jimmy Castro with entrepreneurs Miguel Peman and Carlos Carrillo. - Tuija Seipell
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.
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
Bowling alleys are right up there with curling rinks on the list of the most unlikely milieus for anything chic. Yet, at The Spare Room, on the mezzanine level of the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel, both bowling and the bowling oxfords custom-designed for the newly opened lounge by George Esquivel are now decidedly in.
Celebrities and notables are seen nightly at the venue, created by nightlife wizards Med Abrous and Marc Rose and cocktail king Aidan Demarest.
The design, by the Los Angeles-based design firm Studio Collective, combines vintage, custom-tailored and new to conjure up an atmosphere of by-gone affluence.
There is the gaming parlor vibe, with its two vintage bowling lanes and custom-made sets of dominoes. And there is the speakeasy cocktail lounge scene with its lavish use of velvet, dark leather, polished dark wood, bronze, cast-iron and hardwood floors. Together, they form The Spare Room that oozes civilized illegality and pays homage to the real goings-on at the storied hotel in the 1920s. 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
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
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
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 sound 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