Metamorphoses Bars

Temporary cocktail bars, Queen’s House, Greenwich. 2018

As part of the Architecture Foundation’s event Metamorphoses: Classical Currents in Contemporary Culture, at the Queen’s House and Old Royal Naval College in Greenwich, for which we were co-curators, we designed and built two cocktail bars. We translated Nicholas Hawksmoor’s window aprons on nearby St Alphege’s church into structures whose monumentality turned the Queen’s House Orangery into a place for sustenance and merriment. Including decorative champagne coolers made by artist Iain Hales, the bars have a mass which is at odds with their transience and bring Jones, Wren and Hawksmoor into conversation.

Constructed from aerated concrete blocks, fibrous plaster and aluminium, the bars represent our interest in the classical language in microcosm. Local symmetries within the global, they are neither deferent to their place nor bullying. Their material and tectonic qualities are expressive and practical, but not slavish or insistent, and their mass tends to the weighty and substantial.

Iain Hales’ champagne coolers are a playful and colourful reinterpretation of a classical pedestaled bowl. Adopting forms akin to an inverted ziggurat the alternating layers of black and pale pink echo the chequerboard marble floor of the Queen’s House Orangery.

Photography © Sarah J Duncan

Sponsored by:
Traditional Building (Southern) Ltd, Blandford Forum, Dorset
Elliott Wood, Structural Engineers, London