Bar & Leisure Focus : Back to the future

While we do not yet have hoverboards and flying cars, there’s always time for a little bit of imagination. Science fiction meets design fact in this collection of space age venues

Edited By Toby Maxwell

THE SUCCESS OF predictions from classic sci-fi films may have been sadly disappointing so far (although at least we are not fighting an alien invasion – yet), but there’s still something both exciting and surprisingly nostalgic about a ‘space age’ design theme.

It certainly can’t be done in a half-hearted way – if it’s not full-on Forbidden Planet or Star Trek chic, then forget it, there’s no room here for subtlety. But done with panache, it can be a world of fun – which is just what drinkers and diners love.

Image Credit : SFAPImage Credit : SFAP

Perhaps all that shiny silver evokes fond memories (or folk memories at least) of the optimism of the 1950s, when the Skylon stood proud at the Festival of Britain, nuclear power was going to give us all free energy and the space race was about to open up the universe for exploration.

Or perhaps that’s overthinking it, and we just love the movies… Either way, if you’re feeling disappointed that you don’t have a robot to make your dinner tonight, nor a replicator to transform atoms into your favourite gin and tonic, then cheer yourself up with this collection of space age bars.

Image Credit : SFAPImage Credit : SFAP

GRND CNTRL Shanghai, China

IS IT A SCENE from Tron, or The Lawnmower Man? No, it’s the stunning GRND CNTRL nightclub in Shanghai, China, created by PIG Design and winner of the Asia Night Club category in the 2022 Restaurant & Bar Design Awards. The 1,700 sq m space was designed to be a modern yet retro party space, with futuristic lighting effects.

Image Credit : SFAPImage Credit : SFAP

Design and bespoke furniture
: PIG Design
Client: Cody Victor
Lighting: Yaan

MO Khobar, Saudi Arabia

Image Credit : MasquespacioImage Credit : Masquespacio

BARBARELLA and Buck Rogers would feel right at home in this incredible new coffee bar and bakery in the city of Khobar, Saudi Arabia. The design for Mo, by Valenciabased studio Masquespacio, was inspired by water and ice and has just won the Best Restaurant category in the Kyoto Design Awards as well as the best Middle East and Africa restaurant award at the 2022 Restaurant & Bar Design Awards. Highlights of the 400 sq m venue include a waterfall-like structure above the counter, frosted pipe-like lamps and a mirrored ceiling.

Masquespacio’s design aim for this bakery/ espresso bar in Khobar, Saudi Arabia was to get away from traditional designs in favour of embracing more futuristic aesthetics. Image Credit : MasquespacioMasquespacio’s design aim for this bakery/ espresso bar in Khobar, Saudi Arabia was to get away from traditional designs in favour of embracing more futuristic aesthetics. Image Credit : Masquespacio

Design and bespoke furniture
Client Rightgrain

Tan90° Shenzhen, China

Image Credit: Ouyang YunImage Credit: Ouyang Yun

FROM FARSCAPE to Babylon 5, living spaceships have long been a sci-fi favourite, and there are shades of that feeling in the white neuron-like interior structure of Tan90°, a cafe and whiskey bar in the Shenzhen OCT-Loft Creative Culture Park in China that opened earlier this year. AD Architecture was tasked with putting together a unique design for the 200 sq m space, creating a space age look that’s full of surprises. Chief designer Xie Peihe explains: ‘The sense of fluidity of the space creates a dialogue with people and forms a dynamic scene. The form of the space is full of imagination: it can be a cave, a space capsule, or a neuron... It can flexibly switch between the leisure of a café during the day and the excitement of a whiskey bar at night.’ The curvaceous white structure is made from glass fibre-reinforced gypsum.

Image Credit: Ouyang YunImage Credit: Ouyang Yun

Design AD Architecture
Client: Shenzhen Yiqie Catering Management
Lighting: Hesper

This Earth 1.0 Jakarta, Indonesia

Image Credit: Jo ChristianImage Credit: Jo Christian

THE PHYSICAL representation of DNA, the double helix, is science, rather than science fiction, but adds a futuristic look to This Earth 1.0, a compact 71 sq m dessert shop in the Kelapa Gading Mall in Jakarta, designed by Indonesian architectural and interior design studio Seniman Ruang. In fact, the tower at the centre of the room, which allows customers to climb up a spiral staircase and perch in raised seats to eat their desserts, is an interpretation of a swallow bird’s nest made from the solidified saliva of the Southeast Asian swallow – the highly prized signature ingredient of the company’s dishes.

Langan’s London

Image Credit: Langan’sImage Credit: Langan’s

ALL THOSE red buttons would make a Klingon Bird of Prey captain very happy, but Upstairs at Langan’s serves more appetising drinks than Bloodwine and Raktajino. Completely refurbished with new interiors by London-based designer Peter Mikic, the private members club in Mayfair now boasts a rich, red textured bar as part of an overall design that won its creator the best standalone bar in Europe category in the 2022 Restaurant & Bar Design Awards.

Peter Mikic
Client Langan’s
Furniture Studio Arricale

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