En Vain Baijiu Bar & Restaurant
Baijiu Bar & Restaurant
In vain, for pairing baijiu with foods, Chinese with western influences.
In vain, for we are merely having fun excavating and reinventing Chinese wine culture.
In vain, for we are but a part of this process, one of many, not first nor last.
UNIQUE PROPERTIES / PROJECT DESCRIPTION:
Our job is to design a Chinese Baijiu Bar for the young and fashionable.
Chinese baijiu (白酒), a strong distilled spirit, is perceived to be for an older demographic, dated, boring and old fashioned. This is an exciting opportunity to reinvent the category, in terms of how chinese cultural elements can be interpreted in a fresh manner, yet respectful of its historical context.
The name En Vain, French for ‘in vain’, is a direct reference to this playful attitude of how to interpret culture.
OPERATION / FLOW / INTERACTION:
The overall experience is a layered one. At first glance a bar, with chinese elements, housed in an industrial language, with contemporary detailing. On closer inspection, disruptive play of traditional elements, modern execution of traditional tropes, a recurring graphic motif that is western yet chinese in different forms from the logo, to coasters, to wallpaper, screens, and paintings hung on the wall.
PROJECT DURATION AND LOCATION:
Project started in October 2014 Beijing and finished in July 2015 Beijing
FITS BEST INTO CATEGORY:
Interior Space and Exhibition Design
PRODUCTION / REALIZATION TECHNOLOGY:
All aspects of the interior space was designed by us.
From the branding, graphic motif which is then used in the screens, wallpaper and cushions, the interior design, lighting, ceiling installation. The furniture was also custom made, with chinese jointing details esp in the bar tables. The paintings were rendered using 3D software and printed on calligraphic paper and oil painting canvas. Soft furnishing designed include signage, cushions, coasters, namecards, postcards.
In the disruptive use of traditional elements, we used windows found in traditional chinese houses to form the key ceiling installation. We hung tables upside down to house downlights. We created what could possibly be the first 3D rendered calligraphic paintings, inspired by the 3 fragrances of Baijiu.The screen in the foyer was laser cut from steel using the graphic motif in the branding designed.
SPECIFICATIONS / TECHNICAL PROPERTIES:
300 sqm over two floors
envain, baijiu bar, modern chinese, UDP, united design practice, 白搭, 白搭酒坊, envain 白搭, En Vain, modern chinese design, new chinese,
Baijiu Bar is essentially a new space typology. A Chinese product in essence, Western in experiential retail expression. Any experiment of this nature, especially in Beijing the political and cultural capital of China, needs to be respectful of traditional culture, yet reinterpreted in a meaningful manner to attract a consumer base obsessed with the cutting edge and trendy. That said, we decided to be light-hearted in this play of culture and design. We are part of this process, of defining what is Modern Chinese. We seek not to imitate the past, we respect deeply the underlying spirit, but the design expression is new and unencumbered.
The biggest challenge was integrating these different design styles into a cohesive whole. Contemporary yet referencing traditional cultural elements, in expression both Chinese and Western in the use of patterning and iconography. Interior wise, using the current industrial language and color palette of wood, greys and neutrals, accented with bright contrasting colors found in Chinese traditions like opera costumes.
TEAM MEMBERS (4) :
Tang Junhao, Jacopo Saleri, Gao Yang and Anfia Lin
Photographed by Shawn Koh (Feng Studios)