Designers Hitzig Militello Arquitectos have designed Victoria Brown Bar, Buenos Aires, responding to an industrial construction style, ‘…taking elements of the industrial revolution with certain contemporary style interventions classified as steampunk.’ The client set the challenge of balancing the industrial element with a defined elegance, and the project is situated in a disused warehouse, where only the original kitchen was retained.
Formed of both a bar space and coffee space, there had to be an overall design to suit the whole area. ‘Secret’ internal doors, covered in brick, perpetuate the excitement of having a hidden bar, and a false wall decorated with a heavy red curtain, suggests the entrance to the bar, overlooked as it is by the “paperboy” picture, typical of the 19th century.
The coffee area is at the front of the building. A blend of local elements (for example Damajuanas lighting) with the aesthetics of a New York bakery, creates a cosy atmosphere, while the brick wall is covered with vintage film posters. At night, the facade is covered by a sliding iron gate, covered in illustrations of Queen Victoria.
There are three ‘stations’ constructed by using structural welded tubes from the old ceiling of the room which originally held 12 old tanks. Pipes running along the ceiling, connecting these stations and the bar mimic those in a whiskey distillery, and also provide illumination.
Scissor doors, constructed of iron, divide the space between the bar and the living rooms. this style of door was chosen to emphasize the industrial nature of the space and keep it versatile. Pictures of Mr Brown here suggest a story that remains shrouded in mystery.
Two objects were created from antique and new parts. One, including clockwork watch gears, and the other resembling antique machinery – which both work, rather than being static objects. The brick walls in the interior were aged by a specialist scenery designer, adding to the design concept of a late nineteenth century factory.
Images © Andres Martellini