Q Bar. Sydney, Australia.
"From the very beginning my interior designs were constructed around objects that were especially designed for a project. In an otherwise minimalist and restrained approach, in which the space was reduced and stripped to an open plan with its bare essentials, the objects were meant to be strong signs characterising the space. Nothing should distract the viewer’s attention from the object’s quintessence. In a more general way, these objects were meant to function as a logo, providing the venue with a corporate identity. In Q Sydney, a bar on the third floor of three merged buildings in Oxford Street, dating from the beginning of the 20th century, the interior was mainly organised around two elements, or visual hubs, which I added to the otherwise empty space. The main element of the setting was the counter, an oval when seen from above, and a 9 m long volume sculpted from lightweight concrete blocks. Its curved lines and fluid surfaces have later been associated with images of a marine world: from the keel of a ship to a polished pebble. I felt honoured, but in fact, its profile was mainly inspired by the postures clients take when hanging around and leaning on the counter top. While the refrigeration and stock were integrated in the block, I also created the possibility for clients to stand behind the bar next to the barman, knowing very well that only regulars would take advantage of this privilege. Even without the physical barrier, customers had to feel it was still there psychologically. It also created a round table effect, in which clients were not next to but facing each other. Stools – the second element – punctuated the space with a decisive note of colour. It was only after the success of Q Sydney that the owner decided to create a series of identical bars in Adelaide and Melbourne. The architectural language of Q Sydney served as an example but each kept its own individuality. While the form of the bar in Adelaide was much more rigid, the one in Melbourne went for the opposite. As a complement to the sturdy rectangular bar in Adelaide, sculpted in Y-tong blocs, the legs of three-penny-a-piece children’s chairs were heightened with tubes to create delicate bar stools. In Melbourne, the Q identity had to be added to the already existing and daring interior by the Australian designer Tom Kovak. I built a long curved bar that swung through the large open space like a giant spermatozoid, its tail ending on the dancefloor, creating a booth for the deejay. Again the clients could sit and stand on both sides of the bar. Regular clients could even leave their bottles in personalised safe-deposit boxes."