Hidden in the alley of downtown Shanghai, Whisper bar using a sculptural gesture to create a comprehensive space accommodating whisky, coffee, tasting and event functions. Digitects involved the project not only as of the designer but also one of the bar owners. The change in its role helps to integrate design and business strategy closely in the initial stage and implement the design details thoroughly within the tight budget as well.
▲入口视角 Entrance View
The space is simply divided into two parts: the ground floor and the basement, intended for two different groups of customers. The open bar on the ground floor shows a young, artistic atmosphere, on the contrary, the speakeasy club on the basement level is more private and serious. Leading by a hidden door, go through a dark and ceremonial staircase, the ground floor is extending together with the changes in the customers’ senses and emotions.
▲隐藏门后的楼梯 The staircase behind the hidden door
▲首层平面图 Ground Floor Plan
▲地下室平面图 Basement Floor Plan
Inspired by Dadaism, the organic and restrained growth of the original structure looks absurd, feels like “doesn’t belong to here”. Its abrupt profile rises the dramatic sense of the space and emerges a unique drinking atmosphere. The enclosed geometry and the transparent aluminium curtain create privacy and intimacy while seating there.
▲座位区 Seating Area
▲吧台区 Bar Area
The first thing that shows up after enter the door is the whisky showcase which made of reflective glass and steel frame. Suspended whisky bottles with colour lights project a repetitive and dramatic visual effect. The glass in the whisky showcase is customized, which not only ensure the brightness from the entrance but also minimise the influence to the seating area. The transparent acrylic tubes at the bar are lighted up from the top part, the same colour scheme intensify the relaxing atmosphere of drinking.
▲入口酒展示柜 Whisky showcase at the entrance
When arriving the basement, the first place is the waiting room. Functionally, it is the core of the basement, connecting two VIP rooms, toilet and storage. The movable whisky showcase and the round table provide an ideal space for tasting and selection, as well as the private conversations. Like the ground floor, one side of the wall uses mirror to add the complexity to the space.
▲等待区 Waiting Area
The large VIP room is separated into three parts by red velvet curtains. The flexibility makes sure the space can be combined when necessary. At the same time, the wall remained the original appearance after the demolition, showing an image of rough unpolished basement. One-metre-high red leather wainscot adds the softness visually and physically. The decoration of the coloured glass and the sculpture enhances the ritual sense of the basement, creating a mysterious exclusive club experience.
▲可调节的包厢空间 The flexible space
▲首层细节 GF Details
▲剖面A Section A
▲剖面B Section B
Design Firm: Digitects Architecture
Design Team: Ding Yangyang, Gu Tao
Location: South Shanxi Road, Shanghai, China
Built Area: 120 m²
Completion: Aug 2020
Photographer: Ed Dai