The idea is to create a bar that celebrates the essence of drinking: the people, the bottles and their stories.

When one asks what makes the best memory in a bar, the answers surround 3 inter-related ingredients: the companionship, the ambience and definitely the drinks.  While we rely on our client on the third element, we aim to create a cosy atmosphere where strangers become friends, friends become soulmates, and soulmates become lovers.

We think of the many scenarios while we shape the spaces of different intimacy: whisky connoisseurs exchange notes with the bartender and his neighbours at the feature bar, strangers’ eyes meet and start chit-chat on either sides of the wooden wall; friends share secrets on the mezzanine; loner enjoys her solitude yet flaunts herself along the catwalk bar. While the elevated floor design subtly marks the various areas, the blur between the public and the private brings out the playful and voyeuristic minds. Every visit to LAB should be a uniquely social experiment.

The bottled cabinet greets everyone at the entrance. It sets the mood of the bar and creates a foyer to prevent the street traffic from distracting a tantalizing conversation. Entering the open area, the backdrop of illuminated whisky bottles on the right makes a stunning impression. The wooden bar doubles its charm in the mirror on the far end, while strategically faces the big exterior window, attracting the passers-by from a distance. The wooden wall flanking the sunken area serves multi functions on three respective sides. It provides extra seating in the front, then turns into a bar table along the corridor and finally settles as a spatial divider at the back.

Climbing up the stairs, one would reach more intimate settings with an eclectic fireplace and gallery cabinets. The bottled wall previously encountered at the foyer pleasantly surprises as a double-height feature. This illuminated backdrop collects all the hearsays, secrets, and poems in the bottles and displays them as a record of good times.


  • Location: Jing An District, Shanghai
  • Client: Lab Whisky & Cocktail Bar
  • Gross Area: 160 sqm
  • Project start: August, 2012
  • Project completion: December, 2012
  • Photos by A-Kai Photo Studio.