Chinese practice o&o studio has recently designed the interior of Mooncraft Bar, which is located in the loft space of a former factory on the banks of the Yangtze River in southern Shanghai. The task of the bureau was not only to design the space and facades of the bar but also to develop its branding. o&o studio took as its basis the image of the full moon over the Yangtze River and came up with a bar logo in the form of a ball half immersed in a glass. Rounded and round shapes became the leitmotif in the interior of Mooncraft.
The space is zoned according to three key functions and features – hand-crafted beer bar, whiskey bar, and the robotic bartender. Considering the existing structural columns and sheer walls, o&o studio designed a U-shaped bar counter to associate the spatial relationship between the two bars. The U-shaped counter also “absorb” the existing sheer wall and by the making use of it, a hidden air-conditioned beer storage is formed. In-between the two bar counters found the robotic bartender which falls under most eye sights of the customers from both bar areas.
The beer and whiskey bars face the Cool Docks central plaza and the South Bund respectively. With restrictions on customizing the façade that faces the South Bund, o&o studio focuses on the side facing the central plaza, which is also Mooncraft’s main entrance. The concept of the façade is a dockside warehouse inspired weathering steel portals that plugged into the two façade openings which offer much-needed depth to the slim brick wall. This gives Mooncraft a unique outfit among the other units, and at the same time creating better use of space at the beer bar. The portals come as an inverted U-shape that form the main entrance, and an upstand U-shape with operable window and balcony that connects the inside and outside space.
Through the main entrance is the hand-crafted beer bar, with a smaller floor area than the whiskey bar. o&o studio makes use of a black mirror wall to enlarge the space. As the name Mooncraft suggests, whereas the design concept is “Moments”, a circular mirror with a slender valley fold hangs on the mirror wall that creates a “mirror within mirror” effect imitating the floating moon on the Shanghai Bund’s sky. The circular mirror certainly talks to everyone and every little context, generating ever-changing and unexpected reflections.
At the backside of the bar counter, a champagne gold s.s. steel portal framed an orderly line of beer taps. Towards the end at the mirror wall, o&o studio also incorporated a half of the Chinese word “Cool”, making use of the mirror to complete its entirety, escalating the joy at Mooncraft.
The rarely seen robotic bartender sits at the centre that allows interaction with customers from both bars as well as more directly at this interchanging point. Extending from the beer bar, the whiskey bar occupies the entire raised platform area. The level change perfectly allows a typical sitting height for this bar and restaurant area. The whiskey bar endures the “Moments of Moon” concept, where o&o designed a circular bar shelf that acts as a rising moon.
Around the restaurant area in front of the whiskey bar, there are a couple of feature seats for couples that face the windows overlooking the South Bund. On the other two sides of the restaurant are the kitchen and toilets, and a solid wall on the opposite side. Originally this wall has two door openings that lead to the Cool Dock entrance. After the renovation, the landlord decided to fill up the openings. o&o take this as an advantage to provide sofa seats for casual drinking. Up above them is a feature ceiling with mirror finish s.s. plates to amplify the “Moments of Moon” idea, almost forging an inverted reflection of a rainy day.
One might feel that Moooncraft is a little monochromatic. It is indeed not the case. o&o has made use of blue back painted glass at several designated planes which generate unexpected reflections, thus absorbed by the collective internal surfaces diffusing an essence of blue in Mooncraft.