Exterior and Interior Design. KingBAR, a bar – restaurant and party venue, Havana, Cuba, 2014.
In a courtyard (patio), in Vedado (Havana), there was once an old garage. When we transformed the space, the courtyard became an outdoor restaurant, also with a barbecue-grill. The garage became a bar / event room, with a dance floor, also including the kitchen for the restaurant. All was designed according to re-functionalization strategies.
The new functions are aligned with the traditional characteristics of Cuban courtyards. Some elements – such as sculptures, fountains, and garden furniture – are re-interpreted for new purposes.
Above: Alejandro Rosales Trinchet together with sculpturer Oscar L. González Rodríguez, who made the sculptures.
The picture also shows a symmetric mural-fountain. The sculpted concrete torsos are all single pieces that that can be rearranged to show various combinations, representing different sexualities: woman-woman, man-man, woman-man.
The main idea is that the whole space should be open and visually united. Glass walls separating the indoor bar from the patio / outdoor restaurant contribute to the impression of a transparent continuous space. Functionally, the glass walls keep the bar isolated from noise and make it possible to regulate the temperature. Additionally, exposed steel beams, as well as the mostly red floor, with gray elements, visually link the exterior and the interior.
Although I designed the space based on the idea that it should be united, I made the atmosphere more interesting by creating an aesthetic contrast between the exterior and the interior. The exterior is warm and welcoming, defined by warm colors, wooden material, plants, and trees. The interior is rough and cold, defined by concrete metal, and a cold blue light.
The entire space is inspired by neo-plasticism. The combination of red, white, black, and gray in the picture below illustrates this well. In contrast, the sculptures and plants add an organic touch to the KingBAR.
In the patio, a variety of functionalistic furniture are made of concrete, metal, and wood. The chair “KaBe” was created especially for the KingBAR and is the main outdoor furniture. Inside the bar, a mix of different furniture allow people to rest after dancing.
While the previous pictures show the result, the picture above shows my initial proposal for how to transform the garage and patio to KingBAR.
In Cuba, initiatives are controlled by the government. However, at the time when KingBAR was designed and produced, the government, as it sometimes does, made some non-governmental initiatives possible. This moment in time allowed for me to design KingBar as a non-governmental vibrant venue in Havana’s night life.
All materials and furniture were provided by Cuban producers.
(Above: a project picture)
Assistant designer: Eddy M. Corado Atencio.