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Indesign Top 5: Bar lighting design done right

Bar lighting design is no small matter – the right ideas and execution can transform the local watering hole into the latest cocktail hotspot.

  • Jackalope Hotel

  • La Buvette Drinkery

  • MODE Kitchen & Bar

  • Kittyhawk

  • Beneath Driver Lane

First impressions count. And when it comes to bar lighting design, that first impression can be the difference between casting your bespoke speakeasy in the warm welcoming hue of good times, or the cold light of day that could turn away newcomers and regulars alike. With this in mind, here are five examples of bar lighting design done right. Pull a drink and let this soak in…

Jackalope Hotel by Carr

In one of the most daring and avant-garde moves in the hotel industry to date, the Carr-designed Jackalope Hotel on Victoria’s Mornington Peninsula wine region provides an otherworldly experience rich with narrative and imagination. From head to toe, the project is guided by the theme of ‘alchemy’ – a nod to its 18th century heritage as a working vineyard.

Not only is the lighting design throughout the space a considered and bewitching experience, the centrepiece of the bar is itself an impressive light installation designed in collaboration with Fabio Ongarato Design. Visitors’ eyes are inevitably drawn to the restaurant’s ceiling, to the jewel-like piece, referencing fermentation and bubbling. This is more than eye-catching lighting; this is a design reflecting the visitor experience and history of the hotel.

La Buvette Drinkery By Enoki

La Buvette Drinkery brings a French chic style to the Adelaide drinking scene. La Buvette’s design delivers a sense of old-world Parisian charm. Oversized bulb lights and solid brass fixtures give an art deco sense of style to the space, while warm soft hues coat the Thonet stools and chairs and Yves Klein Blue splashes of the bar. The result is a space that’s immediately inviting, but quirky enough to separate itself in the impressive Adelaide vino and cocktail scene.

MODE Kitchen & Bar By Luchetti Krelle

Luchetti Krelle’s design of Sydney Four Seasons’ MODE Kitchen and Bar uses light in clever ways to offer up the old-world cosmopolitan glamour of the 1920s. MODE encompasses an intimate formal dining space as well as a more casual eating and drinking area.

A mix of soft, open lighting makes the space clearly visible and relaxed – an important fact for potentially jetlagged travellers to indulge in a cocktail. This relaxed lighting is offset by sculptural hanging pendants, that are equal parts eye-catching and warmly illuminating with a material palette of thick velvet, rippled marble, polished brass and fluted glass. Simple in design, this is bar lighting design done with careful consideration for how the space will be used.

Kittyhawk by AZBCreative

For the design team at AZBcreative, the Kittyhawk bar was a labour of love. The hidden away Sydney bar was designed with high aspirations – to reflect and channel the euphoric liberation of Paris circa 1944. This comes from not only the drink styles and authentic WW2 French paraphernalia but the speakeasy-style lighting.

From low-lit candles and brass wall fixtures to burlesque-reminiscent makeup mirror lighting in the bathrooms, no expense has been spared with the lighting of this unique Sydney bar. This is a great lesson in lighting design with specificity in mind – it’s the details that fully realise the space’s aesthetic.

Beneath Driver Lane by Studio Equator

If you step off the beaten track of Little Bourke Street in Melbourne’s CBD and walk down Driver Lane, you might spot the entrance to this bar. A velvet rope and staircase lead you underground to the blues, whisky and rum bar, Beneath Driver Lane. Channelling the deep south of the United States, the space is dark, moody and sensually lit with warm lights making it a definite winner. More than mysterious and oozing cool with candles and mood lighting though, the space takes the delta blues feeling to the extreme with the uniquely designed trumpet horn centrepiece light chandelier… hey, this doesn’t all have to be serious.

Want more bar design inspiration? Take a look at our top 5 list of bars with intoxicatingly good design.

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