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Buckley Gray has created a vibrant bar on Bristol's harbourside that injects colour, light and movement into an industrial shell using different stand-alone design 'installations' to create impact within the space.

The building's existing fit-out was stripped out, exposing steel beams, concrete floor and galvanised steel ductwork to give a raw, industrial feel. A floor-to-soffit height of some 4m was created, providing a contrasting backdrop against which the installations could sit within the space.

The bar, called Bar Room Bar - has about 400m 2of licensed space. In order to create maximum impact for the project's budget, the architect's approach was not to attempt a complete re-fit of the entire space, but to focus on three types of main design installation.

Three 'seating pods' create intimate, raised seating areas for drinking. The intention was also for the pods to define the space around them. Each pod has illuminated edges that face out towards the harbour and can be seen from the opposite side of the water. Constructed from beech plywood, the pods are clad in vibrant pink, purple and orange rubber.

As a second intervention, floating above the main bar and restaurant areas are three inflatable 'clouds' that hover beneath the exposed ductwork. Cold cathode lighting tubes inside the clouds are set to give the illusion of light moving across them.

The new back wall is the third design feature, clad in black glass panels which are perforated with slots for the DJ booth, serving hatch and bar. The wall is designed to reflect back into the main space the light and movement created by the pods, floating clouds and partygoers.

As well as these, an extensive outdoor drinking area has been created, reached through glass sliding doors. Lighting in the two entrance lobbies is a cool blue to contrast with the warmth of the interior lighting scheme.

More club-like than pub-like, Buckley Gray's theatrical treatment defines the bar's place in the Bristol scene.


CLIENT Spirit Group

ARCHITECT Buckley Gray

STRUCTURAL ENGINEER Clark Smith Partnership

LIGHTING DESIGNER Kate Wilkins Lighting Designer

QUANTITY SURVEYOR The Robin O'Brien Partnership


SUBCONTRACTORS AND SUPPLIERS Air conditioning/pizza oven/bar equipment IAC Refrigeration & Air Conditioning; inflatables Inflate; black wall to bar and servery, black-backed glass panels HM Shopfitting; Mondopave floor to bar Altro; floors to pods Dalsouple; oak parquet floor to restaurant area Bauwerk Parkett (UK)

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