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Coloratus Bar, by Soong Lab+, is the first part completed of a larger project—a courtyard-style hot spring resort hotel outside the North Fifth Ring Road of Beijing. The architecture, interior design and landscaping of the hospitality space have been designed by Soong Lab+, a Chinese architectural firm.
The Coloratus Bar, on the second floor of the hotel room zone, can be accessed through a staircase leading up to the bar that connects to the main corridor of the hotel rooms. The corridor further connects to the hot spring area. This strategic location allows it to be flexible in its use, allowing the bar to open up to outside visitors at specified times while catering to hotel guests in the future.
The staircase design leading up to the bar veils the experience lying beyond its profile, that of the space eventually being revealed. The utopian theme of the bar design is set with sleek futuristic lines of steel balustrade and the natural wooden texture of the flight. Pendant lamps, suspended at varying heights, illuminate the staircase area. The copper red ceiling flows out of the bar to above the staircase, visually leading the visitor to the entrance. Metal tubes lend a limited view to the space inside, evoking curiosity and engaging the minds of visitors.
Soong Lab+ expresses their affinity towards the colour red for the project with cultural and historical contexts. “Red is one of the earliest colours recognised and used by humans. Layers of red sediment on the rock are from time immemorial; cave men sprinkled dark red hematite powder at the sacrificial ceremony; Stone Age ancestors painted pottery with red paint to celebrate light. The Liangzhou red flower in ancient Chinese books explains the romantic nature of red,” shares Jan Stuart, the Melvin R. Seiden Curator of Chinese Art at the Freer and Sackler. He also points out how "for centuries, red has been China's colour of power, celebration, fertility, prosperity, and repelling evil. It has been chosen for the robes of high officials, traditional wedding dresses, babies' clothing, envelopes for gifts of money, and the walls surrounding the Forbidden City to keep its occupants safe.”
Soong Lab+ chose the colour for the project theme, setting the mood to evoke a sense of ‘primitive vitality.’ The bold use of colour gives the space a distinct identity and offers an immersive experience. It also intends to express intensity and wild energy, becoming a place that not only inhabits the physical bodies but also engages the visitors emotionally. It is intended to help shed the cloak of formality and allow people to be expressive. The studio mentions that by taking the colour red, they hope to “stimulate the wild energy of the place from the inside out through the abstract emotion concept, and guide visitors to explore the correlation between the space, emotion expression and themselves.”
The original site for the bar had ample height along with high windows but lacked width and resembled a narrow passage. Creating a luxurious experience in this unconventional place proved to be a challenge which director Wang Songtao needed to solve. A play of spaces was designed by creating multiple floors and balancing the scale of volumes. The cavity on the second floor, through which spherical lights descend into the first floor, builds a perception of vertical continuity and eliminates the isolation of the two levels. The natural light pouring down from the windows of the second floor keeps the quality of the space dynamic, continuously altering the experience of the space ever so slightly. The advantage of using the monochrome theme with the colour red causes the space to look relatively larger, enhancing the luxury of the space.
At the far end of the first floor, the staircase hall takes the user to the second floor. A screen of metal tubes adds an element of safety while acting as a portal to the next level. This 'portal' leads the visitor from the compact first floor into the more spacious second floor with abundant natural light. The first floor is primarily for visitors spending less time, while the second floor is for visitors who would stay longer. The colonnade in the central space divides the space into smaller fragments, creating smaller intimate spaces for visitors. The clean lines and forms create an interplay of light and shadow, while spherical lighting fixtures and linear accent lights add to the futuristic appeal of the bar.
The industrial appeal and the homogeneity of the space make it a novel experience, with repeating colours and patterns reinforcing its identity. Only the furnishings of the leisure room on the second floor slightly deviates from the rest of the space but maintains its appeal and experiential quality. The warmth of the red colour and the vibrance it brings would add to the drinking experience of the visitors, making it more pleasurable.
Name: Coloratus Bar
Location: Beijing, China
Area: 400 sqm
Year of completion: 2022
Architect: Wang Songtao
Construction Firm: Jiangsu Feiyi Construction Engineering Co., LTD
Soft Furnishing: AtelierTing
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