The 3Twelve Design Brigade team created an upscale, tech-savvy lounge environment design for a client who gave them one design directive: shoot for the stars.
“We just attacked this project; it’s been a while since someone has laid out a challenge like this to us. We were intimidated in the beginning, but that was the fun part of it,” says 3Twelve chief creative director Eric McCauley.
The end client wished to remain anonymous throughout the design phase, but informed 3Twelve creatives that he was looking for a high-tech, European/Asian look and feel for the bar/lounge design.
Inspired by technology-heavy lounge environments that are popping up overseas, the client wanted an environment where content could be customized, with color-changing lighting that could transform the look and feel of the entire space in seconds.
“The tech look with an open and airy feel that you don’t often see in the States is what we were shooting for,” Mc Cauley says.
The 3Twelve team focused on paper LED, a thin lightweight lighting solution that’s only a quarter-inch thick so it can be embedded in the floor. The paper LED lighting was housed under glass to create an illuminate dance floor. The material was also included on the corresponding wall and ceiling to complete the immersive feel.
The environment also included programmable LED lighting, as well as projection over each booth, which allowed each to be numbered or to feature customizable projections where customers could bring in their own content to be displayed.
“They wanted it to be an evolving lounge that could look completely different day to day,” McCauley says.
Barstools were attached to a track on the floor with swivel seats, which provided a cool custom look, while maintaining order with the seating. Each booth featured a section that folded open to reveal a hidden cooler, filled with ice for bottle service or whatever is ordered at the table. Built-in iPads in each dock allowed customers to order a drink, or make requests directly from their booths.
“They wanted something unique and different, but not over the top—like you’re walking onto the set of ‘Tron’ or something like that. Just clean and simple, no privacy walls, with an elegant look and feel,” McCauley says.
The 3Twelve team had fun researching, sketching and seeking inspiration for this project, and took a unique angle on the challenge.
“We took an exhibit approach—like how we would approach an exhibit interior and apply that to a lounge. When it comes to designing an exhibit, you usually have a strict criteria. For this one, there really weren’t any guidelines. The client wanted a certain look and feel with this kind of technology and customizable content and told us to run with it,” McCauley says.
Designers considered a number of different shiny leather materials that would bounce light really well, as they didn’t want light to hit the materials and die down. The reflective nature of the materials highlights the curve of the booths.
“With an exhibit, the first idea is often the best idea, but with this we were sketching on top of sketching. Once we pulled back and simplified it, the more it came into focus and found the emotion we were looking for,” McCauley says.