Café Moskau, within which the Avenue Club is located, was built in early 1960s Berlin as a paean to the avant-garde architecture in East Germany at the time, and as a symbol of a new era, dedicated to the peoples of the then Soviet Union. Following the reunification of Germany, the venue was used to host parties, but is now a listed building, and Studio Karhard have redesigned and refurbished the basement bar and club.
The brief was to install permanent club facilities in the little-used bar area, with a new capacity of 800 people. Whilst an extensive technical infrastructure was already in place, the interior, with an area of some 3200 square feet, was bare and almost completely empty, requiring an entirely new spatial structure.
Studio Karhard moved the main entrance to the club, creating a space for cloakroom facilities, and installed a large bar and sliding metal screen to divide the room. The club entrance is accessed via the building’s listed foyer and staircase, illuminated by a lighting feature consisting of 150 wall lamps. This leads into another foyer, where the walls are lined with wooden strips, and the metal and leather furniture is designed in tones of orange and red.
In the main room, guests first encounter massive bar style seats, constructed with prefabricated concrete sections and solid brass plates, and upholstered in top-quality orange leather. Each ‘bar bench’ can seat three people.
The dance floor is edged with decorative wall designs, made of interlaced strips of stainless steel and brass, and is lit from above with specially designed light fittings, incorporating a mesh design, and which also have reflecting and semi-reflecting elements to give a perception of more space. The dance floor size can also be adjusted by the use of a moveable metal screen, fitted with the latest LED technology.
The petrol blue colour of the leather upholstery in the chill-out area next to the dance floor reflects its name, the Blue Lounge, and there are pigeonhole-style shelves for customers’ personal belongings. This area also adjoins a small bar with a terrazzo-patterned counter. Avenue also comprises a smoking lounge, which is decorated with subtly-lit, metallic-mesh-covered columns designed to create a mystical mood, and a second, smaller room has been equipped with mobile bar fittings with the front sections made of braided seat-belt material, along with an illuminated ceiling made up of metal plates with perforated brass inserts.
Wall surfaces were inspired by the honeycomb-like structure of Cafe Moskau’s original concrete façade, and reinterpreted it in various new ways, such as in the indented and relief wood-carvings. Materials that are typical for the building and its era have also been used. Examples include the stainless steel wall linings and the sculpture by Fritz Kühn in the building’s inner courtyard.
Design and concept: studio karhard®
Construction and technical implementation: Roomdivision
Light object for the bar: Unikat Berlin
Images © Stefan Wolf Lucks