Excerpt: SALONE DEL SALON adopted “sticks” as the medium of spatial narratives, and worked to create a distinctive bar & restaurant space with a unique ambience for The.H, located in Shanxi Province, China.
[Text as submitted by the Architect] The.H is located in Xi’an, an ancient city with a long history and profound cultural context. It inherits the classic charm of the past, and meanwhile incorporates futuristic, avant-garde elements. Inspired by beer-brewing culture, SALONE DEL SALON adopted “sticks” as the medium of spatial narratives, and worked to create a distinctive bar & restaurant space with a unique ambience.
1.ZAO – Handmade craftsmanship
The Chinese word “造”, spelt “ZAO”, refers to “handmade craftsmanship” and is the core of the client’s values. The brand focuses on creating fully handcrafted products, rather than process semi-finished products sold on the market. The project well inherits and interprets the spirit of craftsmanship, and integrates it into the spatial design, by drawing inspiration from the client’s previous technical background in a brewery and the chef’s years of working experience in Britain.
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The character “ZAO” (in Chinese spelling) can be seen everywhere. Guests can catch it at a casual glance, no need to look for it. It can be found on the reddish copper wall highlighted by light beams, or above the entrance emitting white light. In addition, there is a huge catchy letter “Z” at the center of the space, as well as a large number of “ZAO” characters illuminated by red light.
The spatial layout seems to be in disorder, but actually it is subtly arranged in a symmetrical yet staggered manner. Reasonable and smooth service circulation routes not only ensure the spatial order, but also improve guests’ multi-sensory experiences. The design solutions and elaborate spatial organization show ingenuity both at macro and micro levels.
2.”Stick” & craft beer
It is said that without craft beers, people may know little about beers; likewise, without Belgian craft beers, people may not know the upper limits of best beers. Belgian monasteries are home to world-class craft beers, and the source of inspiration for the project design.
The monks sell beers to the secular world, and the profits are used for monastic daily expenses and go to charity. The project extracts the spirit of craft beer brewing and translates it into the concept “stick”, which reveals the features and culture typical to craft beers.
Copper elements outline atmospheric expressions unique to beers. Complemented by lighting, the vertical red “sticks” become a visual highlight, producing a unique vibe.
No matter how “stick” is presented, visually or consciously, it carries a rich culture and links the past and future.
3.Fusion of retro and innovative elements
Inspired by Dior Fall 2021 Show, retro-style materials including green terrazzo, mosaic tile and thick brown leather popular in the 1960s are brought into the space, forming a classic spatial scene awash with the trace of the past. The specular and brushed stainless steel gives the space a dynamic rhythm and a futuristic touch.
The dark green terrazzo floorings portray a tranquil lake, delicately setting the free and elegant tone for the space and adding a highlight element.
The brown blocks, which show a unique texture, endow the space with tension, balance with different color shades, and create coherent visual effects.
The creases on the surface of the silver-hued sphere evoke a sense of time passing. Silently suspended under white lighting, the art installation features avant-garde color and planet-like shape, generating a “meditative” ambience with a futuristic feeling.
The metaphor of “stick” establishes a dialogue between retro and futuristic styles. The start and end of it symbolize the past and future respectively, running through the overall spatial narratives. With retro and innovative elements mixed, the project creates an interactive spiritual destination featuring a two-way timeline, which recalls the past memories and takes guests to an unknown exploration. It subtly responds to the romantic sentence presented on the wall — “When the panic spreads all over the world, there is still beer and me”.